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Marriage Protection Amendment

Location: Washington, DC

MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2006)


Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 918 is a closed rule. It provides 1 hour and 30 minutes of debate in the House equally divided and controlled by the majority leader and the minority leader or their designees. This resolution waives all points of order against consideration of the joint resolution, it provides one motion to recommit, and it provides that during consideration of the joint resolution, notwithstanding the operation of the previous question, the Chair may postpone further consideration of the joint resolution to a time designated by the Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 918 and the underlying joint resolution, H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Act.

First, I would like to thank Representative MARILYN MUSGRAVE, the author and lead sponsor of this constitutional amendment, for her steadfast commitment to the preservation of traditional marriage.

As the manager of this rule and an original cosponsor of the underlying joint resolution, I am very pleased the House will have an opportunity today to consider and debate this very important amendment to our Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, the proceeding debate, both on the rule and the underlying resolution, either can be divisive and disrespectful, or it can be respectful and productive. This amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with exclusion, but it has everything to do with protecting the traditional and historical definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Contrary to what the opponents of this resolution might say today, this amendment will simply preserve the

traditional definition of marriage as it has existed for millennia.

I anticipate there will be those on the other side who will say this amendment was concocted for political purposes. To the contrary, Mr. Speaker. This amendment is in response to a few activist judges who are trying to throw out the definition of marriage, along with over 200 years of American judicial precedent.

These judges, and these judges alone, made this matter an issue, and they did so without one vote cast in either a legislature or at the ballot box. These activist judges substituted legal precedent and the will of the American people with their own personal desires and political beliefs. Their decision to scrap the traditional definition of marriage has forced us, forced us, to now consider enshrining the definition of marriage into our Constitution.

Mr. Speaker, like most of my colleagues, I would prefer to not have to address this issue in this manner. But, unfortunately, I know my constituents and a strong majority of the American people want us to defend the traditional definition of marriage. A poll by the New York Times, not exactly a bastion of right-wing conservatism, they found that 59 percent, I repeat, 59 percent, of Americans favor an amendment to the Constitution stating that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

I also, sadly, realize this amendment will probably not have the necessary two-thirds majority to pass and opponents will cite this as a reason to not even consider the underlying resolution. We heard it in a couple of the 1-minute speeches from the other side just a few moments ago. Well, this vote will serve as an opportunity for each and every Member of this body to go on record in support or in opposition to protecting the traditional definition of marriage. And after this vote each of us will be judged accordingly by our constituents, and I can say with a clear conscience and without hesitation that I will support this rule, I will support the underlying resolution for the sake of the sacred institution of traditional marriage and for the sake of our precious children.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to encourage my colleagues to support the rule and this underlying resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

In response to a couple of things that my good friend said, Mr. Speaker, nowadays lots of people are claiming that marriage is a discriminatory institution. Same-sex couples say marriage discriminates against them. Believe it or not, single people are now complaining that marriage discriminates also against them. After all, say the singles, why should the State give special benefits to married parents but not to us?

It gets worse. Even polygamists and believers in group marriage, who call themselves polyamorists, are saying that marriage discriminates against them.

Now, if the support society gives the men and women who have the potential to create children is going to be called discrimination, pretty soon there is not going to be such a thing as a marriage at all. When one group can call marriage discrimination, then any group can make the same claim.

And, also, Mr. Speaker, there was a comment about a couple loving each

other. But this is not a civil rights issue. Love, of course, is a great thing. But in my humble opinion, marriage is not just any kind of love. It is a love that can bear children, and it is a love that involves both a mom and a dad. Two men might be a good father. But neither one is a mom. The ideal for children is the love of both a mom and a dad. No same-sex couple can provide that. The ideal for marriage is about bringing together moms and dads so children have a mother and a father to learn from.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentlewoman from North Carolina, Representative VIRGINIA FOXX.


Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I have no other speakers on my side. While I am going to reserve the balance of my time for closing, I want to respond and give myself as much time as I might consume to the gentleman from Massachusetts, for whom, and whose intellect, I have a deep respect. I think he knows that.

Let me just say that Americans are a good and tolerant people. The people of this country believe in equality and freedom, and we respect the rights of individuals to conduct their personal lives as they see fit.

Reasonable people can differ in their views on homosexuality or its causes, consequences, and moral significance. Personally, I think it is a good thing that American citizens who happen to be gay are accorded more tolerance and respect today than was the case 50 years ago.

But I honestly believe that the issue facing us today is not the issue of homosexuality. Most fundamentally, the issue we face today is marriage, the meaning of marriage as an institution and how best to support it. I favor the Federal Marriage Amendment because I want to support the institutution of marriage and keep it strong.

This issue is not, in my humble opinion, about homosexuality.


Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the remaining time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise again in support of this rule and in full support of and recognition of the importance of this underlying amendment to our Constitution.

I appreciate each and every one of my colleagues who spoke during the debate on this rule. I fully recognize that many of us will have to simply, yet respectfully, as I said, disagree.

However, Mr. Speaker, I know that I stand today with the citizens of Georgia's 11th Congressional District, as well as the vast majority of Georgia and the Nation's citizens who continue to be outraged by the ability of a few judges to overturn our legal precedent and our traditional family values.

In 2004, the people of Georgia affirmed with a vote of 76 percent to 24 percent that marriage is an institution between one man and one woman, and I proudly count myself among that 76 percent.

I want to close this debate by reminding my colleagues that we have an opportunity today to stem the tide of this judicial activism and to restore the ability of the American people to establish policies that affect them and their lives through their elected Representatives.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues, please support this rule, and upon the conclusion of general debate, I ask my colleagues to affirm legal and historical precedent and defend our traditions about supporting the underlying amendment to restore the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time and I move the previous question on the resolution.

The previous question was ordered.

The resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.


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