Eagle Forum

Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
Oct. 14, 2003


President George W. Bush issued a proclamation designating October 12 through October 18 as Marriage Protection Week.

The proclamation states, "Marriage is a sacred institution, and its protection is essential to the continued strength of our society. Marriage Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage . . ."

Marriage Threatened by Courts and Legislatures 
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed in 1996, permits each state to refuse to recognize homosexual marriages issued in another state. DOMA also defines marriage for purposes of federal law as the union between one man and one woman. Thirty-seven states have passed state DOMAs to protect traditional marriage.

Despite the strength of DOMA, the institution of marriage is still in jeopardy from courts and legislatures.

  • In 1999, the Vermont supreme court ordered the state legislature to grant all the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The Vermont legislature responded in 2000 by creating comprehensive "civil unions," which other states have so far refused to recognize.

  • On the eve of the California recall, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation that awards the rights and benefits of marriage to registered "domestic partners." After he was recalled, Davis signed another bill requiring companies doing business with the state to provide the same benefits to domestic partners as they provide to married couples. These laws ignored a state DOMA that California voters adopted in 2000.

  • The Massachusetts supreme court will soon announce its decision in the Goodrich case, which may result in same-sex marriage or civil unions in that state. Similar cases are pending in New Jersey, Indiana and Arizona. Homosexuals are even crossing the border to obtain Canadian marriage licenses with the intent of seeking recognition in the United States.

  • When the U.S. Supreme Court decided Lawrence v. Texas in June, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the majority's reasoning for striking down the Texas sodomy law "leaves on pretty shaky ground state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples."

The attacks on traditional marriage are escalating. Congress must act. During Marriage Protection Week (Oct. 12-18), call, write, or e-mail your U.S. Representative and Senators.

  1. Tell them to co-sponsor a constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage.

  2. Tell them to co-sponsor legislation limiting jurisdiction of the federal courts, as granted in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Rep. John Hostettler is expected to introduce a bill this week that protects DOMA from federal judicial activism by limiting the court's jurisdiction in cases questioning traditional marriage.
Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Further Reading: Marriage Must Be Protected From The Judges

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