SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT (THE MUSGRAVE AMENDMENT)
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
H.J. Res. 56
MAY 13, 2004
Serial No. 90
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Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
JOHN R. CARTER, Texas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTOM FEENEY, Florida
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on the Constitution
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio, Chairman
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTEVE KING, Iowa
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
TOM FEENEY, Florida
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
PAUL B. TAYLOR, Chief Counsel
E. STEWART JEFFRIES, Counsel
HILARY FUNK, Counsel
MINDY BARRY, Full Committee Counsel
DAVID LACHMANN, Minority Professional Staff Member
C O N T E N T S
MAY 13, 2004
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Honorable Steve Chabot, a Representative in Congress From the State of Ohio, and Chairman, Subcommittee on the Constitution
The Honorable Jerrold Nadler, a Representative in Congress From the State of New York, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution
The Honorable Marilyn Musgrave, a Representative in Congress From the State of Colorado
Judge Robert Bork, McLean, VA
The Honorable Barney Frank, a Representative in Congress From the State of Massachusetts
Mr. Jay Sekulow, The American Center for Law and Justice, Inc.
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Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
National Review article by Stanley Kurtz, witness at April 22, 2004, ''Legal Threats to Traditional Marriage: Implications for Public Policy,'' Constitution Subcommittee Hearing. Article submitted by Chairman Steve Chabot
CBO and GAO reports submitted by the Honorable Spencer Bachus, a Representative in Congress From the State of Alabama
April 22, 2004 testimony by Stanley Kurtz submitted by the Honorable Tom Feeney, a Representative in Congress From the State of Florida
Prepared Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr., a Representative in Congress From the State of Michigan
Letter submitted by The American Center for Law and Justice, Inc. to Chairman Cabot
Response to Additonal Questions by Representative Musgrave
Additional Questions Submitted to Judge Bork
Response to Additional Questions by Judge Bork
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additional Questions submitted to Representative Frank
Response to Additional Questions by Representative Frank
Second set of Additional Questions submitted to Representative Frank
Response to second set of Additional Questions by Representative Frank
Additional Questions submitted to Mr. Sekulow
Response to Additional Questions by Mr. Sekulow
Additional Materials submitted by Stanley Kurtz
Additional Letter and Materials submitted by Mr. Sekulow
Submission by Stanley Kurtz in response to Representative Frank's answers to additional questions
Article Submitted by the Honorable Tammy Baldwin, a Representative in Congress From the State of Wisconsin
FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT (THE MUSGRAVE AMENDMENT)
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2004
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House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Constitution,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 11 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steve Chabot (Chair of the Subcommittee) Presiding.
Mr. CHABOT. The Committee will come to order. This is the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
On May 21, 2003, Representative Marilyn Musgrave introduced a constitutional amendment, H.J. Res. 56, stating:
''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.''
The intent behind the amendment is to allow the States and Congress to enact civil unions but to reserve ''marriage'' as a legal concept applicable only to the union of man and a women.
To make that clear, Representative Musgrave announced in March that she supported deleting from the amendment the phrase ''nor State or Federal law,'' such that the revised amendment would be, and I will quote that as well:
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''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the Constitution of any State shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.''
The intent of the rewording of the amendment is to make clear that State legislatures and Congress could, by statute, create same-sex civil unions, if they so chose.
At the House Constitution Subcommittee's previous oversight hearing on ''Legal Threats to Traditional Marriage: Implications For Public Policy,'' we received testimony providing evidence for the following propositions:
Several judicial decisions over the past year threaten to undermine the age-old consensus of civilization that marriage is uniquely between a man and a woman.
That would be the first.
The second, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that ''marriage'' in that State must include same-sex ''marriages.'' While the Massachusetts legislature has passed a constitutional amendment barring same-sex ''marriage'', the earliest that amendment could go into effect is in the year 2006. Before that time, Massachusetts will be forced by the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to issue same-sex ''marriage'' licenses beginning on Monday, May 17.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, we received testimony that it is, quote, ''increasingly clear'' that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the intent of which is to prevent one State from having to recognize a same-sex marriage license granted in another State, will be held unconstitutional under the legal rationales articulated by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, namely that the three reasons the State of Massachusetts gave for giving preferred status to heterosexual marriagepromoting procreation, encouraging the raising of children in two-parent biological families, and conserving limited State resourceshave ''no rational basis.''
I might note that, although it says ''increasingly clear'', there was testimony to the contrary as well, that it might well be held constitutional.
Next, consequently, all States and the Federal Government will be required by courts to define ''marriage'' to include same-sex ''marriages.''
Fifth, we also received testimony that the effects of a court-imposed definition of ''marriage'' that includes same-sex ''marriages will be felt throughout Federal law.''
Six, finally, we received testimony that recent data from the Netherlands shows that legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States and thereby decoupling marriage from parenthood may contribute significantly to an increase in the out-of-wedlock birth rate for heterosexual couples, to the detriment of children.
Article IV, section 4, of the Constitution states that, ''the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.'' This means a form of government under rules passed by the duly elected representatives of the people, not by judges who are not charged with reflecting the people's will.
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James Madison, in Federalist Paper number 39, wrote:
''What, then, are the distinctive characters of the republican form of government? It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise, a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.''
Today, 44 States, so far, have enacted laws that provide that marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. These 44 States constitute 88 percent of the Stateswell more than the 75 percent required to approve a constitutional amendmentand they include 86 percent of the U.S. Population. This hearing will explore whether H.J. Res. 56 should be passed by Congress and sent to the States for ratification to help guarantee a republican form of government by preserving marriage policy as enacted by the people's duly elected representatives in the States.
I now recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, the Ranking Member of this Committee, for the purpose of making an opening statement.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you.
Before I read the opening statement that I prepared, I must comment on the rather extraordinary words of the Chairman. I hope the Chairman did not mean when he talked about guaranteeing a republican form of government that he believes that the Federal Government should start second-guessing the States as to what authority the States choose to grant to their court system in interpreting their own constitutions. Rather than guaranteeing a republican form of government, that would be about the most egregious form of States' rights violations that I could think of.
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Mr. Chairman, today, the House Constitution Subcommittee is scheduled to hold its third in a series of five hearings on the subject of same-sex marriage. Evidently, this critical threat to our Nation's future requires the most extensive analysis of anything the Committee on the Judiciary has done in this Congress. By comparison, the proposed constitutional amendments dealing with the preservation of our democracy in the event of a catastrophic annihilation of the Congress by a terrorist attack have received no hearings whatsoever.
We will be making time after today's hearing to vote on a very important bill that would declare the oak tree as the national tree of the United States. So we deal with the time of this Committee.
What is the crisis? Could it be that the Republic cannot withstand the possibility that loving families could avail themselves of the protection of law even if they have the audacity to love someone of the same gender? Will the Nation be destroyed if the children of those families receive the same protections in law as the children of other families, or must we also punish little children because their parents are lesbian or gay?
I have trouble deciding what is worse, self-proclaimed defenders of marriage mobilizing to prevent people from getting married, or the hysterical assertion that, as we were told at our last hearing, that heterosexuals will no longer want to marry if lesbians and gays can also marry. So here is the Congress of the United States. Million of Americans cannot take their children to the doctor, millions of Americans are out of work, patriotic young Americans are being killed in Iraq, while it is clear that the President has not a clue as to what he is doing there, and the most important thing on the agenda is this anti-marriage amendment.
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If equal protection of the laws has any meaning, it must be that all people, all families must be treated fairly and equally. That should include lesbian and gay families, whether or not anyone approves of them.
Most importantly for all Americans, it means that we must not become the first generation in our Nation's history to amend the Constitution to take away, rather than to enhance, liberty. It would indeed be another shameful legacy for this Congress.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
The Chair would ask that any other Members who would like to make opening statements would submit them for the record so we can get right to the panel, if that is acceptable to the Members. We appreciate it.
I would ask unanimous consent that the Member from Wisconsin, Ms. Baldwin, be permitted to ask questions as any other Member of the Committee would be. She is not a Member of this Committee but is a Member of the full Committee on the Judiciary.
So, without objection, so ordered.
I will now introduce the panel.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We begin with our first witness, who is Representative Marilyn Musgrave. Mrs. Musgrave represents Colorado's Fourth District, and she is the lead House sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Serving her first term, Representative Musgrave sits on the House Agriculture, Small Business and Education and Workforce Committees.
Representative Musgrave was elected and served 4 years ago as a State representative during which time she was elected the Senate Republican Caucus Chairman. She also has taught school in eastern Colorado.
We welcome you here this morning, Marilyn.
Our second witness is Robert H. Bork. Judge Bork is a leading author and educator and former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Judge Bork has been the Alexander M. Bickel Professor at Public Law at Yale Law School, a partner at the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis, and the author of several books, including The Tempting of America and The Political Seduction of the Law.
Judge Bork was nominated by President Reagan to serve as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court, but his confirmation was denied by the United States Senate. Judge Bork is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute.
We welcome you here, Judge Bork.
Our third witness is Representative Barney Frank, who represents the Massachusetts Fourth District. He is the Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee, and he is also a Member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security. Previously, he was a Massachusetts State Representative and an assistant to the Mayor of Boston; and we always welcome you here, Barney.
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Our fourth and final witness is Jay Alan Sekulow, Chief Counsel for The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm and educational organization. An accomplished and respected judicial advocate, Mr. Sekulow has presented oral arguments before the Supreme Court in numerous cases in defense of constitutional freedoms.
Founded in 1990, The American Center for Law and Justice specializes in constitutional law. The ACLJ under Mr. Sekulow's direction is involved in public interest and public policy issues that threaten people of faith and the American family.
The National Law Journal has twice named Mr. Sekulow one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States.
We welcome all four of the witnesses here this morning.
We will begin with Mrs. Musgrave; and, as I am sure most of you are aware, we have the 5-minute rule which will be in effect. When the yellow light comes on, you have a minute to wrap up. We will give you a little leeway. But when the red light comes on, as all the witnesses know, we would appreciate it if you will wrap up your testimony by then.
Mrs. Musgrave, you are recognized.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MARILYN MUSGRAVE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO
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Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member Nadler, and other distinguished Members of the Judiciary Committee, thank you very much for allowing me to come before you today.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I bring before you House Joint Resolution 56, the FMA, or Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposal to amend the Constitution of the United States of America.
I assure you that I do not lightly propose to amend the Constitution, because I am persuaded that simple prudence dictates the Constitution should be amended only as a last resort. Indeed, I wish devoutly that the FMA were unnecessary and that we did not have to be here today to discuss it. I wish I could tell the American people that they have a choice about whether their Constitution will be amended.
Unfortunately, leaving the Constitution unaltered is not an option that is open to us. Let me say that again.
For better or ill, as we sit here today, the Constitution of the United States of America is on the verge of being amended; and the only choice we have in the matter is whether it will be amended de jure through the Democratic process for proposing and ratifying amendments set forth in article V of the Constitution itself or de facto by court ruling.
The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This very foundational document of our Nation assumes that our rights exist between within the context of God's created order. The self-evident differences and complementary design of men and women are part of that created order. We are created as male and female, and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife and the two shall become one in the mystical, spiritual, and physical union we call marriage.
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The self-evident biological fact that men and women are designed to complement one another is the reason that for the entire history of mankind, in all societies, at all times and in all places marriage has been a relationship between persons of the opposite sex. In a very real sense, it is impossible for a man to ''marry'' a man or a woman to ''marry'' a woman, and the very meaning of the word ''marriage'' necessarily contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman.
For nearly 228 years every State in the Union has followed this millennia-old tradition. Not once in the history of this Nation have the peoplespeaking through their elected representatives or otherwisepassed a single law altering this in the slightest way.
If this is the case, why is the FMA necessary? Sadly, the answer to that question lies in the fact that certain judges do not seem to care about the text and structure of the Constitution or the unbroken history and traditions of our Nation. Instead, they seek to use their power to interpret the Constitution as a means of advancing a social revolution unsought and unwanted by the American people.
I have introduced the FMA to stop this judicial activism and preserve the right of self-determination for the American people with respect to the vitally important laws governing marriage, the most important and basic of all of our social institutions.
The FMA is a measured and a moderate response to the serious problem I outlined above. The proposed amendment is only 51 words long and states:
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''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.''
The first sentence is designed to ensure that no governmental entitywhether in the legislative, executive or judicial branchat any level of governmentFederal, State or localshall have the power to alter the definition of marriage so that it is other than a union of one man and one woman.
The second sentence is designed to prevent any court from construing, one, the Federal Constitution, two, a State constitution, or, three, Federal or State statutory or common law of general applicability, to require any legislative body or executive agency to enactor recognize under the Full Faith and Credit Clauseso-called civil unions or domestic partnership laws or any law that would confer a subset of the benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage on unmarried persons.
Opponents of the FMA have attacked it as an attempt to constitutionalize discrimination against homosexuals and make them permanent second-class citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gays are not excluded from the benefits of marriage by others. They are excluded by their own choices. Marriage is and for the entire history of mankind has always been a relationship between persons of the opposite sex, and the primary function of marriage has always been to provide a legal context for procreation and child rearing by fathers and mothers. Even the dictionary tells us that the very meaning of the word marriage necessarily contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Ms. Musgrave.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Musgrave follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MARILYN MUSGRAVE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO
Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member Nadler, and other distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee, thank you for the privilege to come before you today.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I bring before you House Joint Resolution 56 (the ''FMA''), a proposal to amend the Constitution of the United States of America.
I assure you that I do not lightly propose to amend the Constitution, because I am persuaded that simple prudence dictates the Constitution should be amended only as a last resort. Indeed, I wish devoutly that the FMA were unnecessary and that we did not have to be here today to discuss it. I wish I could tell the American people they have a choice about whether their Constitution will be amended.
Unfortunately, leaving the Constitution unaltered is not an option that is open to us. Let me say that again. For better or ill, as we sit here today, the Constitution of the United States of America is on the verge of being amended, and the only choice we have in the matter is whether it will be amended de jure through the democratic process for proposing and ratifying amendments set forth in Article V of the Constitution itself, or de facto by court ruling.
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The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The very foundational document of our nation assumes that our rights exist within the context of God's created order. The self-evident differences and complementary design of men and women are part of that created order. We were created as male and female, and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife, and the two shall become one in the mystical spiritual and physical union we call ''marriage.''
The self-evident biological fact that men and women are designed to complement one another is the reason that for the entire history of mankind, in all societies, at all times, and in all places marriage has been a relationship between persons of the opposite sex. In a very real sense it is impossible for a man to ''marry'' a man or a woman to ''marry'' a woman, and the very meaning of the word ''marriage'' necessarily contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman.
For nearly 228 years every state in the union has followed this millennia-old tradition. Not once in the history of this nation have the peoplespeaking through their elected representatives or otherwisepassed a single law altering this in the slightest way.
If this is the case, why is the FMA necessary? Sadly, the answer to that question lies in the fact that certain judges do not seem to care about the text and structure of the Constitution or the unbroken history and traditions of our nation. Instead, they seek to use their power to interpret the Constitution as a means of advancing a social revolution unsought and unwanted by the American people.
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I have introduced the FMA to stop this judicial activism and preserve the right of self-determination for the American people with respect to the vitally important laws governing marriage, the most important and basic of all our social institutions.
THE TEXT AND PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT
The FMA is a measured and moderate response to the serious problem I outlined above. The proposed amendment is only 51 words long and states:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
The first sentence is designed to ensure that no governmental entity (whether in the legislative, executive or judicial branch) at any level of government (federal, state or local) shall have power to alter the definition of marriage so that it is other than a union of one man and one woman.
The second sentence is designed to prevent any court from construing (1) the federal Constitution, (2) a state constitution, or (3) federal or state statutory or common law of general applicability, to require any legislative body or executive agency to enact (or recognize under the Full Faith and Credit Clause) so-called civil union or domestic partnership laws or any law that would confer a subset of the benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage on unmarried persons.
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Over the past few months some have misinterpreted the FMA, especially the words ''nor state or federal law,'' and have argued that the text is more than a limitation on judicial activism and would constrain even legislatures from enacting civil union laws. Let me be very clear about this point. It is not now, nor has it ever been, my intention to impose any sort of constraint on legislatures with respect to passing civil union laws.
While I personally oppose such laws and would vote against any such proposal were I in the Colorado legislature, by no means am I seeking to establish this position in the Constitution. The FMA would establish a general rule against same-sex marriage while leaving the matter of civil unions, domestic partnerships and other nonmarital arrangements to the state legislatures to decide as they will. This has always been my intent, and I will support any amendment to the FMA necessary to make that intent clear.
In this regard, Senator Allard has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 30, the text of which is very similar to House Joint Resolution 56. For the record, I fully support the clarifying changes Senator Allard has made in that bill.
THE FMA DOES NOT NATIONALIZE MARRIAGE LAW
Some have questioned the FMA on the grounds that it will nationalize marriage law. Mr. Chairman, no one is a stronger supporter of the principles of federalism than I, and if I thought for a single moment the FMA would operate to nationalize marriage law I would not be here today.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Historically, the law of marriage has been a matter of state law, and the federal government has had little or no role in the area. For example, laws providing for the legal requirements for civil marriage; who has capacity to marry; types of marriages that are prohibited; and whether common law marriages are valid are all matters of state law. The FMA does not alter this state of affairs in any way except in the very narrow area of defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Indeed, far from depriving state legislatures of power the FMA is intended to empower legislatures against the advances of activist courts.
With respect to the limited area of marriage law that would be nationalized by the FMA (i.e., defining marriage as between a man and a woman), the nationalization of marriage law is precisely what the activists pressing for same-sex marriage are on the edge of achieving. In other words, this area of marriage law is about to be nationalized whether the FMA is ratified or not.
The activists expect that in the next few years same-sex marriage will be decreed by the Supreme Court, and recent Supreme Court rulings seem to make that expectation a reasonable one. As Justice Scalia explained in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas:
[T]he Court says that the present case ''does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.'' . . . Do not believe it. More illuminating than this bald, unreasoned disclaimer is the progression of thought displayed by an earlier passage in the Court's opinion, which notes the constitutional protections afforded to ''personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education,'' and then declares that ''[p]ersons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do'' . . . Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ''no legitimate state interest'' for purposes of proscribing that conduct . . . what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[?]
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Only five months later the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court answered Justice Scalia's poignant question. In Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, relying on the Lawrence ruling, the Massachusetts court decreed by judicial fiat that beginning next weekon Monday, May 17 to be exactfor the first time in the history of this nation a state will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Goodridge was a 4 to 3 decision. The swing of a single vote among the seven members of the Massachusetts high court has resulted in a radical redefinition of marriage in Massachusetts that is wholly unsupported by the text, history or structure of that state's constitution or by the history and traditions of its people. Judicial hubris of this kind cannot be allowed to stand.
In addition, it is now clear that same-sex couples will travel to any state that allows them to marry or enter civil unions, and will then demand that their home states give ''full faith and credit'' to the judgment that recognizes their status. Many of the same-sex couples contracting civil unions in Vermont, for instance, do not live in Vermont, and just this week the media reported that a lesbian couple who entered into a Vermont civil union have filed for a divorce not in Vermont but in New York. The couple is seeking to have the New York courts recognize the Vermont civil union under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
An additional declared strategy of the activists is to attack the constitutionality of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, overwhelmingly adopted by Congress in 1996, and such challenges have already begun.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One way or another, therefore, the principles of federalism are bound to be compromised with respect to the recognition of same-sex unions. The only choice we have in the matter is whether the millennia-old tradition of defining marriage as a legally-recognized relationship between male and female will be compromised as well.
PRESERVING TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE IS NOT DISCRIMINATION
Opponents of the FMA have attacked it as an attempt to constitutionalize discrimination against homosexuals and make them permanent second class citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Gays are not excluded from the benefits of marriage by others. They are excluded by their own choices. Marriage is and for the entire history of mankind has always been a relationship between persons of the opposite sex, and the primary function of marriage has always been to provide a legal context for procreation and child rearing by fathers and mothers. Even the dictionary tells us that the very meaning of the word ''marriage'' necessarily contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman. It is not discrimination for the state to recognize this fundamental biological reality.
A falcon might say he looks a lot like an eagle and can do many of the same things as an eagle and therefore it is discrimination to refuse to call him an eagle. But a falcon is not an eagle, and passing an ''antidiscrimination'' law requiring that henceforth all falcons shall be called eagles does not magically turn falcons into eagles. In the same way, calling a same-sex union a ''marriage'' does not mean that it is a marriage in any meaningful sense of that word.
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We can understand homosexuals' yearning for public approval of their sexual choices. But same-sex marriage is not marriage. At most it is a pretending to be something like the relationship between husband and wife that is marriage. The reality is not changed, however, if the state collaborates in the pretense and calls it marriage. Conversely, refusing to call a same-sex union something that it is not and can never be is not discrimination.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
Finally, Mr. Chairman, polling date supports the common sense conclusion that the American people do not support any radical redefinition of marriage. In a CBS News/New York Times poll of 1,206 adults, conducted over March 1014 59% of those polled reported that they favor an amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow marriage only between a man and a woman. Only 35% of those polled were opposed to the amendment and 6% did not know. The poll had a margin of error of 3%.
Mr. Chairman, I respect the Supreme Court and the role it plays in our constitutional republic. But there is a Latin phrase that captures perfectly the dilemma we find ourselves in when the court imposes its policy choices on the nation under the guise of interpreting the Constitution.
quis custodiet ipsos custodes
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The phrase means, ''Who guards the guardians?''
Can there be any doubt that in Lawrence the court overstepped its bounds? And I fear that, as Justice Scalia warned and the Goodridge ruling confirms, it may soon overstep its bounds by a much wider margin. Speaking of another case in which the Supreme Court overstepped its boundsthe court's infamous Dred Scott rulingPresident Lincoln said:
The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court . . . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.
President Lincoln was not willing to resign the government of the nation into the hands of the Supreme Court on the issue of slavery. And while he did not live to see his work finally accomplished, the Dred Scott decision was finally reversed when the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were ratified in the wake of the civil war.
In our constitutional republic the answer to the question ''Who guards the guardians?'' is ''we the people'' do.
That is why I have introduced the FMA.
The Supreme Court is poised to take away from the people their right to declare how they will be governed with respect to the issue of same-sex unions. The purpose of the FMA is to give the people a voice, to allow them to tell the guardians of their liberties that they have erred.
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Latin pronunciation guide:
quis custodiet ipsos custodes
KWis KUSTodiet IPsos KustoDEES
Mr. CHABOT. Before we go to Judge Bork, if I could make one point that I wanted to mention. We have a markup after this hearing for Members, if they could stay around, on H.R. 568 and 1775.
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, point of information, is that the oak tree bill?
Mr. CHABOT. One of them is.
Mr. NADLER. Yes, thank you.
Mr. Chairman, further points of informationseriously this time.
Mr. CHABOT. That was not serious?
Mr. NADLER. Not really.
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Mr. Chairman, I am a little confused after Mrs. Musgrave's statement. I had thought that in the text of the resolution before us the words ''nor State or Federal law'' had been removed, and yet your testimony seems to indicate that those words are still there. Which is the case in the proposal?
Mr. CHABOT. If the gentlewoman would like to respond, although we are really not in the question part, but just as a point of order.
Mr. NADLER. As a point of information, does your proposal still have those words or have you removed those words?
Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Senator Allard made those changes in the Senate. It has not officially been changed here, but I am amenable to changes that make the intent very clear.
Mr. NADLER. But as of now it is still there. Thank you.
Mr. CHABOT. Judge Bork, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF JUDGE ROBERT BORK, McLEAN, VA
Judge BORK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to be here at the invitation of the Subcommittee to discuss the wording of this Federal Marriage Amendment.
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Mr. CHABOT. Would you pull the mike closer, Judge? Thank you.
Judge BORK. I think it is wise to say that of all the contested terrain in the culture war we are now engaged in, the subject of the homosexual rights is the most awkward to discuss. Because almost all of us know homosexuals who are decent, intelligent, compassionate people; and we have no desire to wound them. Yet this subject has been thrust upon us by the courts, and yet we unfortunately have to discuss it.
It is a problem created by the courts, and the objection is that part of the case for the Federal Marriage Amendment is to restore the branch of government which should be predominant in these matters, the legislature, to decide what the relationship should be, and to stop the process of courts ordering things that are nowhere to be found in any constitution.
The other problem is the substance of what the courts have done. Because I think, as you said, Mr. Chairman, there is evidence coming now from the Netherlands and there has been evidence from Sweden that the institution of gay marriage, same-sex marriage leads to
In the first place, very few homosexuals apply for marriage licenses, because I do not think that is the point. Most of the point is gaining cultural approbation. They want an official statement that their life style is as normal as any other. But what does happen is a decline in the marriage rate among heterosexuals which among itself is problematical. But, in addition to that, that is followed by the dissolution of families so that you wind up increasingly with a lot of children being raised in one-parent families, which isas all we know, leads to social pathologies we do not care to see.
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Now we have had three State courts hold that homosexual marriage is required. One of them offered the alternative of civil unions. I think most court watchers believe that within, say, two to three years the Supreme Court of the United States will hold that there is a Federal constitutional right to homosexual marriage; and that will come up either directly through the Federal courts as a challenge or it will come up when some State asserts the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent full faith and credit being given to a marriage they contracted in Massachusetts being imported into Texas. For that reason, this prospect of a Nationwide rule in favor of same-sex marriage is right now before us, and it is imminent.
There is some argument that we ought to leave the matter to the States. This matter will not be left to the States by the courts. We will have a Nationwide rule either allowing same-sex marriage or, because of this amendment, disallowing same-sex marriage.
Since I had something to do with the drafting of the version of the House amendment proposal, I think I am free to say that I am now not entirely happy with what we did. The first sentence is quite clear. The second sentence, however, which was intended to say that a court should not require civil unions as a matter of constitutional law, only legislatures could do that, some people said, well, the second sentence could be read to say that the legislatures could not do it either.
Now we are prepared to argue that point, but it is not a point worth arguing because we have no intention of trying to prevent any democratically enacted form of civil unions. So for that reason I agree with Congressman Musgrave that the Senate version is the one that should now be made, that the House version should be made congruent with the Senate version so that it is quite clear that marriage is between a man and a woman and that civil unions are up to the various legislatures in what they may decide. Thus, Vermont, which now has a civil union legislation enacted under coercion of the courts, would be free either to retain or to repeal that legislation.
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The Senate language makes absolutely clear that was intended in the House version from the beginning; and I recommend that that version, the Senate version, be adopted by the House.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Judge Bork.
[The prepared statement of Judge Bork follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT H. BORK
I am pleased to be here at the invitation of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution to discuss the wording of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment embodied in House Joint Resolution 56.
Of all the contested terrain in the culture war, the subject of homosexual rights is the most awkward to discuss. Almost all of us know homosexuals who are decent, intelligent and compassionate people, and we have no inclination to wound them.
Yet ''gay rights'' have come to the fore and we must have a discussion, free of ad hominem accusations, about whether homosexual acts and relationships are to be regarded as on a par with the marital relationship of a man and a woman. The immediate problem is the homosexual activists' drive for same-sex marriage.
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By no means all homosexuals want the right to marry, and in Sweden, where they have that right, very few exercise it. It seems clear that the drive for same-sex marriage is primarily about a constitutional ruling as the ultimate expression of moral approbation of homosexual behavior. The tactic of the activists is to seek judicial rulings because it is clear that a majority of the American public and their elected representatives do not want same-sex marriages. Judges, however, have pushed and continued to push our culture in ever more permissive directions and do not hesitate to strike down laws that for all of our history, for well over two centuries, have been regarded as legitimate defenses of the moral order. Homosexuals have already won significant victories in the courts and they see as the last obstacle to the complete normalization of homosexual behavior the ages-old understanding that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
The activists won in Hawaii under the state constitution, but were then defeated by the Hawaiian electorates' amendment of that constitution to overturn the decision. The activists largely won in Vermont where the court, again acting in the name of the state constitution, told the legislature it must provide either a right to homosexual marriage or a right to civil unions. The Vermont constitution takes years to amend and so the legislature chose civil unions. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, however, gave the activists what they wanted, an unambiguous right to homosexual marriage in a state where amending the constitution is an arduous process that can not be completed in time to meet the court's deadline.
Many court watchers believe that within one to three years the Supreme Court will hold either that there is a federal constitutional right to homosexual marriage or that all states are required to accept Massachusetts marriages as valid within their own borders. Either way there will be a nationwide rule. The matter will not be left to individual states to decide.
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For that reason, Representative Marilyn Musgrave put forward a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Since I had something to do with the drafting of that proposal, I think I may be allowed to say that it was in some respects deficient. The amendment as introduced said:
''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.''
The first sentence clearly means that no branch of any government in the United Statesexecutive, legislative, or judicial and whether the government is federal, state or localmay alter the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Moreover, no court or other branch of any such government may recognize a same-sex marriage contracted in another country. The purpose of this sentence is thus clearly to preserve the institution of marriage as it has been understood for millennia and as it has formed the basis for our society.
The second sentence, however, is directed to activists courts. They are not to construe language in constitutions or legislation to require the recognition of civil unions, unless, of course, legislatures make a deliberative choice to authorize such unions. The question of civil unions is thus left to democratic determination.
Objections to this second sentence have convinced me that it is poorly drafted and causes needless controversy. Critics say that, read literally, the sentence would forbid courts to implement legislatively-enacted civil unions. That was not the intent. It was hoped that this objection could be avoided by making the intention of the sentence clear in the debates that would surround the amendment in Congress and, if sent to the states, in the ratification debates. It was thought, moreover, that the word ''construed'' would indicate that the sentence was intended merely to restrain activists courts from requiring civil unions against the desires of the legislature involved.
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There is no point in debating this matter when altering the language of the second sentence can make the point clear. For that reason, I recommend the version of the second sentence contained in Senate Joint Resolution 30: ''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'' There is no doubt whatever, that this sentence leaves legislatures free to provide for civil unions if they wish. Thus, Vermont, which now has civil union legislation enacted under the coercion of its supreme court, would be free either to retain or repeal that legislation. The Senate language makes absolutely clear what was intended in the House version of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Mr. CHABOT. The Honorable Barney Frank is recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BARNEY FRANK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
Mr. FRANK. Mr. Chairman and Members, I appreciate the way that Judge Bork began by saying he did not wish to give offense. So I want to reciprocate and, given the title to one of his books which was not mentioned, I am fighting my natural tendency to slouch. I am going to try to sit up very straight.
The amendment has been wildly underdescribed, although the gentlewoman from Colorado did accurately describe it at one point. This is not an amendment to prevent judges from making this decision. It is not an amendment to prevent the Full Faith and Credit Clause from going into effect. We may have a referendum in Massachusetts. We will have one if our legislature wants to have one.
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So if the democratically elected legislature of Massachusetts decides under our constitution to put an amendment on the ballot by a simple majority of next year's legislature and if the voters of Massachusetts allow same-sex marriage to stand, this constitutional amendment knocks it out. So let us not talk about this as a way to stop the judges from doing something or to stop the Full Faith and Credit Clause or the U.S. Supreme Court. If that is what proponents want to do, I do not agree with it, but they know how to do it.
Indeed, as Judge Bork pointed out, this amendment differentiates. It says nobody, no legislature, no referendum, no combination of democratic procedures in a State, can enact same-sex marriage, even if we were to confine that to that State.
He then says, let us have a second section, reword it to say courts cannot require civil unions, legislatures can. In other words, they know how to differentiate.
So let us be clear. This is a conscious decision not to prevent judges from deciding and not to interfere with that, to amend the effect of Full Faith and Credit, but to prevent any State by democratic procedures from going forward with this.
Now why do people say that? I think there are two groups of people who oppose same-sex marriage. There is a group that, frankly, does not like those of us who are gay and lesbian individually and, not liking us individually, they are geometrically more unhappy at the notion of a couple of us hanging out.
I will pass up on the question of our physical capability that the gentlewoman from Colorado raised.
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There is a broader group, however, I believe, which represents the most important group numerically. Those are people who are not themselves in any way inclined to make the lives of gay and lesbian people less than others. They do not dislike us. They are prepared to work with us. They are prepared to share their lives with us in a lot of ways. But people whom they respect, religious leaders, political leaders and others, have told them that if same-sex marriage is allowed this will be very disarranging to society.
Now I have been working on anti-discrimination measures for more than 30 years as a legislator. Every time we deal with discrimination based on race or gender or religion, which is a choice by the way, purely a choice, or disability or age or sexual orientation, we hear predictions that chaos will ensue. The world will be greatly disarranged. None of those are ever true.
We had in Massachusetts a bill passed to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation 15 years ago. It has been very well enforced by Republican governors ever since. It has not caused any problem.
I believe we are now hearing, and I think the critical element here, are peoplenot those who are opposed to us in principle getting married, not people who believe that marriage should always be between people of opposite sexand I was impressed that the gentlewoman of Colorado did not repeat the formula that marriage has always been between one man and one woman, because, clearly, it has not. It has often been between one man and at least one woman. Figures such as Joshua or Abraham in the Bible, for instance, are in that situation.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the question then is, what will happen if we allow a Statenow let us take this amendment at its fullest. Suppose the State of Massachusetts votes in a referendum that it is okay for men and men or women and women to get married. Well, let us lay our predictions out. Let me make my predictions.
One, there will be no polygamy. Two, the divorce rate will not go up compared to what it has been. Three, children will not be abused. Four, there will not be an erosion of family stability in any particular minority community.
Now we have heard references to a prediction that somehow this is going to lead heterosexuals to stop getting married. Indeed, if it has any effectand this may be already happeningit may put some pressure on heterosexuals to get married, not that I want to dictate to their lives any more than I want them to dictate to mine. But there are now in various institutions in the private sector and in some governments domestic partnership benefits, and some people have extended the domestic partnership benefits to people of the opposite sex as well as the same sex.
I think it is very plausible to say that once people of the same sex can get married, they have to do that, and they do not have the option of domestic partnership benefits. Some have already begun to say that. So the result of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts will be a diminution of opposite-sex domestic partnerships. So some heterosexuals will decide that they are going to have to get married.
I do not think most people make those calculations based on economics. But I really do think it is important for the Committeelet us lay out our predictions. I have laid out mine. I guess what people seem to sometimes forget is same-sex marriage will be entirely optional, even in Massachusetts, and it will have an effect on those people who choose to get married, and it will have no effect on people who choose not to.
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Civil unions were referenced. I will close with this.
We had this debate a few years ago in Vermont. Vermont was one of the courts to which Judge Bork alluded, and they ordered something, and they got civil unions. Virtually all of the arguments about the socially disorganizing effects of marriage were made about civil unions in Vermont 4 years ago. Today, civil unions in Vermont are boring to all the people who are not in them and, given human nature, to a few of the people who are, but they have had no negative social impacts whatsoever.
So let us lay out our predictions. Massachusetts will go ahead and have marriage. A year from now, I hope you will convene this hearing again and we can see whose predictions are right.
I say no polygamy. There will not be a Full Faith and Credit Clause. The Supreme Court of the United States will not require this. There will not be an increase in the divorce rate. There will be thousands of thousands of people married in Massachusetts. Most of them will live happily ever after, some of them will not, and that will be it.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Frank follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BARNEY FRANK, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
During my years in elected office, I have been involved in a number of debates involving measures that deal with discrimination. I have supported legislation to prohibit inappropriately unequal treatment of individuals based on their race, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, their age and whether or not they are disabled. In every case, opponents of the legislation have made predictions that social chaos will ensue. In no case of which I am aware have these predictions turned out to be accurate. That is, in every case of which I am aware, enactment of legislation prohibiting unfair treatment of people based on various personal characteristics has had some beneficial effects for those in the category being protected against mistreatment, and no negative effects on society at large.
Unfortunately, while the predictions of social chaos are often widely discussed in legislative bodies, the media, and elsewhere before enactments, they are rarely examined afterwards. This is unfortunate, because were we to make a regular practice of going back to these debates after various anti-discriminatory laws were enacted to check on the validity of the predictions made by their opponents, we would see a very clear pattern: vivid forecasts of social upheaval, moral decay, interference with the legitimate rights of the majority of people to go about their business, the destruction of important social institutions, and other negative effects; then, after adoption of the cause of all this worry , none of the above.
This has been particularly clear in the area of legislation dealing with discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification. In Massachusetts, the legislature passed and the Governor signed a law in 1989 banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and employment. It was passed under Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis and it has been administered by a series of Republican Governors since, all of whom have supported the continuation of the law, and in none of whose administrations have any negative consequence resulted.
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Similarly, in Vermont, in the years leading up to the adoption of civil unions, the state was riven by controversy, with opponents of civil unions predicting that the implementation of the policy in the state would have terribly negative consequences on the institution of marriage, and morality in general. Indeed, the election of Vermont in 2000 was dominated by this.
Since that time, this has become essentially a non-issue in Vermont. Indeed, my impression is that if someone not interested in a civil union with someone not of his or her own sex were to move from another state to Vermont today, and that individual was not a student of recent history nor particularly interested in the ins and outs of domestic law, he or she would probably go for a long time without knowing that there was such a thing as civil unions, unless he or she met a couple involved in one. And then it would be a matter of perhaps some interest, but of no impact on that individual's life.
I believe we would do public policy debates in this country a service by beginning now a new procedure: let's have both sides in this current debate make very explicit in these days just before Massachusetts begins actually performing same-sex marriage our predictions of what the consequences will be.
Mine are very simple: several thousand people in Massachusetts of the same sex will marry each other. They will then live married lives very similar to the married lives of other people. Most, we hope, will be happy. Some will not be. The effects of either sort of marriage will be primarily on those engaged in the marriage, with some impact on those of their friends and relatives who choose to associate with them. There will be no serious effort to extend the right to marry to people interested in polygamy, because while some differences are hard to maintain, the difference between two people and three people is a fairly clear-cut one. There will be no diminution whatsoever, in the number of heterosexual marriages that happen, everything else being equal. That is, the ratio of heterosexual marriages among eligible people in Massachusetts to those that take place elsewhere in the country will not be altered by this. Indeed, since some private employers have announced that they will no longer honor domestic partnership benefits between people who are unmarried, now that everyone in the Commonwealth will have the right to get married, there may in fact an incentive for some people to enter into heterosexual marriages, who have not previously done so, because they might otherwise lose some benefits. But I think this will be at most an incidental effect.
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There will be no negative impact whatsoever of this on marriage within any particular community in Massachusetts, including racial and ethnic minorities. Nor will there be any increased incidence in the number of people who discover that they are gay, lesbian or bisexual, and there will be no negative effect whatsoever on the raising of children.
In this context, the most important thing to note about same-sex marriage is one that debates seem to me sometimes to overlook: it is optional. This means that it will have an impact almost exclusively on those who decide to take advantage of the option. It will not affect the behavior of gay and lesbian people who decide not pursue this option, and it will clearly have no effect whatsoever on heterosexual people who are completely uninterested in marrying people of their own sex. I urge the Committee in its questioning to ask those who are opponents to be equally explicit about their predictions, and I further urge the Committee one year from now to come back and have a hearing in which the various predictions that those of us make about this can be scrutinized in the light of experience.
Mr. CHABOT. Our final witness this morning will be Mr. Sekulow.
STATEMENT OF JAY SEKULOW, THE AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE, INC.
Mr. SEKULOW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Nadler and Members of the Judiciary Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to participate in a hearing that I think is important.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Like marriage itself, amending the Constitution is not something to be entered into lightly.
In calling for a constitutional amendment here to uphold marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the proposal reflects the reality that a rush of push-the-envelope activist judges, four unelected appointed-for-life judges in Massachusetts have initiated a process that has, in reality, completely thwarted the legislative deliberative process; and that is because those four justices in the majority in the Goodrich case demanded that the State legislature redraft the laws concerning marriage and insert the phrase that marriage shall be defined now as one spouse to the exclusion of all others.
This was a mandate. The entire legislative deliberative process in Massachusetts was thwarted through this because, in reality, it is now an after-the-fact response, as Congressman Frank alluded to, regarding the constitutional amendment.
There will also beand this is one of those rare occasions, I believe, where there is the convergence of legal confusion, a thwarting of the legislative process, and ultimately litigation that will probably ensue rather quickly in all 50 States.
With reference to where this is going to go in the predictions, I will give one prediction. I will not be as bold as Congressman Frank in predicting this, but I will give you this prediction. That by this time next year litigation will be ensued in most of the States challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. In fact, today in Florida a Federal lawsuit was filed challenging DOMA, despite the fact that no State yet has legally issued a marriage license. I think the inevitable and the resulting conflict in the courts is going to be quite significant on the Defense of Marriage Act.
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We saw that, emboldened by the four judges' decision in Massachusetts, the bare majority, that officials in San Francisco issued thousands of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though that was intentionally contrary to California's Defense of Marriage Act which was passed by an overwhelming majority just a few years ago.
By the way, California also passed as a legislative enactment, protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but they also have a prohibition on same-sex marriage.
Public officials in States like Oregon, of course, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico have also attempted similar legal experiments, despite legislation to the contrary. In fact, I think it is fair to say that the Mayor in San Francisco literally took the law into his own hands, because there was not yet a determination by any court with regard to the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. The only legislation that was in place specifically prohibited that activity. Yet he issued licenses. That currently, of course, is now before the California Supreme Court.
The effect of these decisions and the intent of the litigation strategy behind them is unmistakable, and that is to establish same-sex marriage as a civil right, not through the legislative process but rather, through the courts. Because, in reality, the legislative process thus far has not been responsive to the claims made and the positions advocated by the legal strategy of the same-sex advocates.
To reach the outcome that was desired, it took a majority in this particular case in Massachusetts, of four judges to change the law in Massachusetts. And, as I said, the prediction that I will make is that by this time next year there will be litigation in a host of States, probably a majority of the States. Because individuals in Massachusetts that are duly authorized residents of Massachusetts that will seek a marriage license, obtain that marriage license, they may get transferred in their jobs, they may decide to move under their own volition, they are going to want recognition under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.
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I will tell you that my prediction on that, and I will limit these to just a few, will be that the Supreme Court of the United StatesI personally would not want to rest the institution of marriage on the United States Supreme Court at this point.
We think that this resolution as modified by the Senate's versionI think the modifications are important to clarify exactly what is at issueshould be put into effect. We have heard from, in just a few weeks, over 230,000 of our members from around the country.(see footnote 1) There are two concerns, and I think these are the two fundamental concerns in this issue.
That is, number one, the deliberative process has been completely eviscerated by the decision of the four judges in Massachusetts; and, number two, the very institution of marriage as it has traditionally been understood, at least in the United States since colonial times, is also subject to significant change and redirection.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Sekulow.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sekulow follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JAY ALAN SEKULOW
Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member Nadler, and members of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, thank you for extending the invitation to appear before the Subcommittee to testify in support of House Joint Resolution 56, the ''Federal Marriage Amendment'' (The Musgrave Amendment).
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I respectfully request that the entirety of my personal statement be made a part of the record of today's hearing.
Like marriage itself, amending the Constitution is not something to be entered into lightly.
In calling for a constitutional amendment to uphold marriage as a union between a man and a woman, H.J. Res. 56 reflects the reality that a rush of push-the-envelope activism by some state courts and local officials has left no other option available to resolve the debate over the unique nature, purpose and legal status of marriage. There is no doubt that how the issue is settled will shape the future of our society and the course of constitutional government in the United States.
Beginning with a trial court in Hawaii in 1993, followed by the Alaska Superior Court in 1998, and a Vermont Supreme Court ruling in 1999, state courts have determined that marriage as it has always been in this country, from Colonial times to the present, discriminates based on gender preference. Then, in November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared that traditional marriage upholds persistent prejudices and that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.
Emboldened by such activism, San Francisco officials issued thousands of ''marriage licenses'' to same-sex couples, even though intentionally contrary to California's Defense of Marriage Act, passed by an overwhelming majority just a few years ago. Public officials in other states, like Oregon, New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico, have also attempted similar legal experiments, all under the claim that limiting traditional marriage to one man and one woman is discriminatory, and unconstitutional.
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The effect of these decisions, and the intent of the litigation strategy behind them, is unmistakable: to establish same-sex marriage as a civil right, a right that the federal government would be constitutionally obligated to secure nationwide. Advocates of same-sex marriage demand, and will accept, nothing less. To reach this outcome, activist judges have simply ignored the custom and experience of recorded Western history, flouting the laws of our country, and condescending to every major religious tradition in the world. The startling holding by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, a legal preference for traditional marriage is ''irrational,'' chillingly illustrates the need to resolve this matter now.
The shock of these startling attempts to change marriage by judicial edict is all the more troubling because they skirt the democratic process. This shreds the rule of law, excludes the people from this fundamental debate and decision, and emboldens local officials to determine for themselves which laws they will and will not enforce.
This is why H.J. Res. 56 is so essential. Its passage will allow, once and for all, the states to decide through the democratic process whether marriage will remain the union of one man and one woman. No other process will accomplish this imperative.
Social science, and human experience over hundreds of years, tells us that marriage is best for the family, and especially for children. Children are hurt when either the father or the mother is absent. Given its purpose and function in society, there can be no doubt marriage is sui generis and our most vital institution. The question must therefore be settled: is the marriage of one man and one woman, and the hope of children it provides, the cornerstone of our welfare, of our liberties and of our responsibilities as a free people; and if so, it must be protected?
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I look forward to this discussion, and to any questions Members of the Subcommittee may have.
I. OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
For many years now, lawyers for same-sex marriage proponents have been trying to extend the institution of marriage to embrace same-sex relationships. Having been unsuccessful in swaying the public opinion in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage through the legislative process, proponents have turned to the courts.
A. Litigation in the states
The same-sex marriage legal situation began in earnest in 1993 in the State of Hawaii. In that year, the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin(see footnote 2) that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples ''may violate the Hawaii Constitution's ban on sex discrimination.''(see footnote 3) The Court found that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples constituted sex-based discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Hawaii Constitution.(see footnote 4) In light of this conclusion, the Court remanded the case to the circuit court with the following, ominous instructions:
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOn remand, in accordance with the ''strict scrutiny'' standard, the burden will rest on [the State] to overcome the presumption that HRS §5721 is unconstitutional by demonstrating that it furthers compelling state interests and is narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgments of constitutional rights.(see footnote 5)
When a Court requires a statute to pass ''strict scrutiny,'' the law in question has little chance of surviving.
In 1996, the Hawaii Circuit Court ruled that the state did not have a compelling reason to restrict marriage only to couples of the opposite sex, and held that the same-sex couples ''should therefore be allowed to marry.''(see footnote 6) The case went back to the Hawaii Supreme Court, but before it could issue an order requiring the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the people of Hawaii approved a constitutional amendment ''restricting marriage to men and women only.''(see footnote 7) The amendment passed by an overwhelming seventy percent vote in favor with only thirty percent opposed.
In 1994, a gay couple in Alaska filed for a marriage license.(see footnote 8) Their request was denied. The couple brought a lawsuit, asking that Alaska's Marriage Code be found unconstitutional because it restricted marriage to heterosexual couples.(see footnote 9) In 1998, an Alaska Superior Court judge acquiesced, ruling that ''marriage, i.e., the recognition of one's choice of a life partner, is a fundamental right. The state must therefore have a compelling interest that supports its decision to refuse to recognize the exercise of this fundamental right by those who choose same-sex partners rather than opposite-sex partners.''(see footnote 10) Similar to the situation in Hawaii, the Alaska Court system forced the state to support its marriage laws under the difficult-to-satisfy strict scrutiny standard.
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During the pendency of the couple's lawsuit, concerned Alaskans were working to get a constitutional amendment regarding marriage on the ballot.(see footnote 11) In November 1998, Measure 2 appeared on ballots in Alaska.(see footnote 12) This measure provided, ''Each marriage contract in this State may be entered into only by one man and one woman.''(see footnote 13) Alaskans overwhelmingly approved this measure, 68% for to 32% against.(see footnote 14) The passage of this amendment made the same-sex couple's request for a marriage license moot, and their case was dismissed.(see footnote 15) As in Hawaii, but for the passage of this constitutional amendment, same-sex marriage would likely be a reality in Alaska today.
In 1999 the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Vermont(see footnote 16) that the State was ''constitutionally required to extend to same-sex couples the common benefits and protections that flow from marriage under Vermont law.''(see footnote 17) The Court instructed the Vermont legislature that it must adopt one of two alternatives to fulfill this requirement: 1) issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, or 2) enact a domestic partnership or similar system that provides homosexual couples with all the rights and privileges married couples enjoy.(see footnote 18) In 2000, the Vermont legislature passed a law that created ''civil unions'' for same-sex couples.(see footnote 19) This law gives ''these couples all the rights and benefits of marriage under Vermont law but not marriage licenses.''(see footnote 20) In Vermont, then, the same-sex marriage movement is just one step away from realizing their ultimate goal.
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4. New Jersey
In June 2002, seven homosexual couples filed a lawsuit, captioned Lewis et. al. v. Harris et. al., requesting the recognition of same-sex marriage in New Jersey.(see footnote 21) Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of these couples. A state judge ruled against the plaintiffs in November 2003.(see footnote 22) The case is currently on appeal. Lambda Legal expects this case to ultimately be decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court.(see footnote 23)
More recently, the City of Asbury Park, N.J., following the lead of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.(see footnote 24) The city commenced this practice on March 8, 2004. New Jersey's Attorney General ''said he would seek an injunction to halt the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state.''(see footnote 25) The American Center for Law and Justice filed a state court action against the City of Asbury Park concerning the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.
In contravention of a California initiative passed just a few years ago by an overwhelming majority of California voters that limited marriage to heterosexual couples, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom directed city officials to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.(see footnote 26) San Francisco started issuing licenses on February 12, 2004, and has currently issued more than 4,000 licenses.(see footnote 27) On March 12, 2004, the California Supreme Court ''ordered an immediate halt . . . to same-sex weddings in San Francisco.''(see footnote 28) The Court will not address whether the state law limiting marriage to heterosexuals is unconstitutional, but instead will decide the narrower issue of whether ''Newsom can ignore the state law if he considers it unconstitutional.''(see footnote 29) Several lawsuits have been filed in California challenging the constitutionality of California's Defense of Marriage Act.(see footnote 30)
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On March 8, 2004, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in a Washington state court on behalf of six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry.(see footnote 31) Jamie Pedersen, Co-Chair of Lambda Legal's Board of Directors, said of the lawsuit, ''As long as gay couples cannot marry, they are not treated equally under the law. This case seeks full marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washingtonnothing more and nothing less.''(see footnote 32) Complicating the same-sex marriage issue in Washington, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels recently announced that ''the city would begin recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,'' despite Washington's Defense of Marriage Act that limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.(see footnote 33)
Two County Boards in Oregon, Benton and Multnomah, voted to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples in March 2004.(see footnote 34) Benton County has ceased issuing licenses to any couples, gay or straight, in response to Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers's threat to sue the County and his promise to accelerate a constitutional challenge to Multnomah's decision to issue licenses to gay couples.(see footnote 35) Multnomah County has not stopped issuing licenses, and currently has granted licenses to over 2,400 same-sex couples.(see footnote 36) In a legal memorandum written to Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, General Myers predicted that the Oregon Supreme Court would likely ''conclude that withholding from same-sex couples the legal rights, benefits and obligations that . . . are automatically granted to married couples of the opposite sex violates'' Oregon's constitutional provision guaranteeing equal protection of the laws.(see footnote 37)
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8. New York
In New York three issues are in play. First, mayors of three New York towns have taken actions favorable to the recognition of same-sex marriages. On February 27, 2004, the mayor of New Paltz, New York, Jason West, started marrying same-sex couples without issuing them licenses.(see footnote 38) West's renegade conduct ceased when the local district attorney charged him with 19 criminal counts.(see footnote 39) On February 28, 2004, John Shields, mayor of Nyack, promised to ''lead a group of same-sex couples to the clerk's office to apply for marriage licences.''(see footnote 40) And on March 2, 2004, the mayor of Ithaca, Carolyn Peterson, said the city ''will accept applications [for same-sex marriage licenses] and forward them to the state's health department for individual determinations.''(see footnote 41)
Second, on March 3, 2004, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer issued an opinion on the state of same-sex marriages in New York. The opinion instructed state officials that New York law prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.(see footnote 42) The General's opinion also stated, however, that same-sex marriages entered into outside the State ''should be recognized in New York.''(see footnote 43)
Third, on March 5, 2004, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in New York, as it has in several other states, seeking the recognition of same-sex marriage. Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal, said, ''This is the whole enchilada. We seek, and intend to win, full marriage for lesbian and gay couples across New York.''(see footnote 44)
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9. New Mexico
On February 20, 2004, Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.(see footnote 45) Dunlap issued 66 licenses before a judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the further issuance of licenses to same-sex couples.(see footnote 46) The status of same-sex marriage in New Mexico is now, as elsewhere, in the hands of the courts.
10. Other States with Pending Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuits
Individuals in several other states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of denying same-sex couples the right to marry. In Alabama, two male prison inmates have sued for the right to marry each other.(see footnote 47) In Florida, a homosexual couple has filed a lawsuit in Broward County challenging the state's marriage laws.(see footnote 48) In Nebraska, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.(see footnote 49) The same situations exist in Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina.(see footnote 50)
The key state in the same-sex marriage controversy right now, of course, is Massachusetts. In Goodridge v. Department of Pubic Health,(see footnote 51) the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the State ''may [not] deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.''(see footnote 52) The Court stated that the State has failed to ''identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.''(see footnote 53) The Court has ordered that same-sex marriage licenses begin to be issued starting May 17, 2004.(see footnote 54) As it currently stands, for the first time in our nation's history, same-sex couples will be able to legally marry in just a few short days.
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B. At the federal levelthe Defense of Marriage Act
In 1996, the Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the Defense of Marriage Act.(see footnote 55) The enactment of DOMA was a welcome moment in the longer-term struggle to support the ongoing stability of society's bedrock unit: the family. At the time of its consideration and adoption, DOMA was a measured response to an orchestrated plan to change the law of the fifty States on the question of marriage without the democratic support of the People of the States. That revolution would have occurred had persons joined in licensed, same-sex marriages from a single jurisdiction, Hawaii, began traveling to other jurisdictions and then demanding legal recognition of their relationships, or of judgments reflecting legitimacy on their same-sex unions. The plotted intention was to force States to bend their will and abdicate their important public policy interests by weight of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.
Exercising its clear authority under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, Congress defined precisely the respect that sister States were bound to give to ''judgments'' of sister States that two persons of the same sex were married. In crafting DOMA, Congress showed its profound respect for the cooperative federalism that is the hallmark of our Republic. In that instance, recognizing the indisputably primary role of the States in defining the estate of marriage, and providing for its creation, maintenance, and dissolution, Congress deferred to the judgment of each State the question of whether any union other than that between one man and one woman could be accorded legal status as a marriage under state law. At the same time, the Congress properly took account of federal dimensions of marital relationships (under, for example, the Internal Revenue Code).
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As far as DOMA goes, it is justified as an exercise of clear Congressional authority under the Constitution, and is substantially relied upon by the States.(see footnote 56) Of course, that DOMA suffices for these purposes does not mean that the work of the Congress in this area is complete. This is especially so in the wake of Goodridge and the penchant of many courts to replace the democratic process with judicial fiat.
II. THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT
The United States Constitution provides for its own amendment as needed to meet the needs of the Nation over time. Article V provides the process for amending the Constitution. It states:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
United States Const. Art. V.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Article V proposes two means for initiating the amendment process and two means for ratifying propounded amendments. The first means is essentially federal in nature and origin and occurs ''whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary,'' such that the Congress ''shall propose Amendments to this Constitution. . . .'' The second means is the product of the States, when, ''on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States,'' Congress calls ''a Convention for proposing Amendments. . . .''(see footnote 57)
Whichever of the two means initiates the amendment process, an amendment propounded to the States becomes valid when ratified. Article V provides that an amendment is ''valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution,'' in either of two cases: first, when a propounded amendment is 'ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States;'' or, second, when a propounded amendment is ratified by ''Conventions in three fourths'' of the several States. Pursuant to Article V, Congress holds the power to choose between the two alternative means of ratification.(see footnote 58)
House Joint Resolution 56 proposes an amendment to the United States Constitution:
The provisions of House Joint Resolution 56 fall within two broad categories: substantive and procedural. These are treated in turn below.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCA. The Substantive Provisions of the Proposed Amendment
The Federal Marriage Amendment proposed by H.J. Res. 56 accomplishes two tasks.
First, if ratified, the FMA authoritatively defines the term ''marriage'' for purposes of federal and state law throughout the United States.
Second, if ratified, the FMA expressly bars any construction of constitutions or laws, whether federal or state, in a way that requires either that marital status be conferred on those who are unmarried or that the legal incidents of marriage be conferred on such unmarried couples or groups. Great hue and cry can be anticipated from opponents of the amendment. Despite that, the FMA does not, in fact, work a surprising, unpredictable, or sudden change in the status of law in the United States. Rather, the FMA serves to resolve the uncertainties that have been artificially interjected into what would otherwise be fairly described as an entirely and clearly settled question of law.
1. The FMA Uniformly Confirms the Established, Long-standing and Broadly Accepted Definition of Marriage
On this point, the FMA is definitive and clear:
''Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.''
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Not two men. Not two women. Not a man and two or more women. Not a woman and two or more men. Not a commune. This ineffable nature of marriage as a union between a man and a woman was long established before it was noted by William Blackstone:
By statute 32 Hen. VIII. c. 38. it is declared, that all persons may lawfully marry, but such as are prohibited by God's law; and that all marriages contracted by lawful persons in the face of the church, and consummate with bodily knowledge, and fruit of children, shall be indissoluble.
Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 1, Ch. 15 (emphasis added).
Within a century of its birth, our nation tested the meaning of that common law tradition, found that it served the common good, and made it the principle by which marriage would be governed in Territories of the United States. The effect of that determination was the ban on polygamous marriage, a ban that had particular impact in the Utah Territory, where the Mormon Church had settled.
The leading case considering the constitutionality of the federal ban on polygamy was Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878). Chief Justice Waite wrote the opinion for the Court in Reynolds, affirming a criminal conviction for polygamy, over a claim that the prohibition violated the right to free exercise of religion. After disposing of the free exercise defense, the Court addressed the underlying interest in monogamous marriage sought to be preserved by the statute in question in Reynolds:
[I]t is impossible to believe that the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom was intended to prohibit legislation [limiting marriage to one man and one woman] in respect to this most important feature of social life. Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law. Upon it society may be said to be built, and out of its fruits spring social relations and social obligations and duties, with which government is necessarily required to deal. In fact, according as monogamous or polygamous marriages are allowed, do we find the principles on which the government of the people, to a greater or less extent, rests. Professor Lieber says, polygamy leads to the patriarchal principle, and which, when applied to large communities, fetters the people in stationary despotism, while that principle cannot long exist in connection with monogamy. Chancellor Kent observes that this remark is equally striking and profound. . . . An exceptional colony of polygamists under an exceptional leadership may sometimes exist for a time without appearing to disturb the social condition of the people who surround it; but there cannot be a doubt that, unless restricted by some form of constitution, it is within the legitimate scope of the power of every civil government to determine whether polygamy or monogamy shall be the law of social life under its dominion.
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98 U.S. at 16566.
None of the several States has ever, by constitutional provision or by legislative enactment, altered the estate of marriage so to admit to it any relationship other than that of one man and one woman. No objection to the contrary of this fact can be made. Marriage as sanctioned by the States has ever been only that which the FMA now makes express and indefeasible.
2. The FMA Finally Resolves and Places Beyond Judicial Adventure the Uniformly Established, Long-standing and Broadly Accepted Definition of Marriage
Abraham Lincoln famously questioned, if one called a dog's tail a leg, how many legs the dog would have? Veterinary mathematicians could be counted on to reply, ''why, five, of course.'' And that sought after response would draw the laugh of the great man, along with his rebuff that, no matter what you called a tail, it was never going to be a leg.(see footnote 59) And, no matter what you call the union of any grouping of persons other than one man and one woman, it will never be a marriage. Nonetheless, judges in a number of States have been busy counting five legged dogs and creating judicial mandates for marital constellations no less bizarre.
For centuries of American legal history and a millennium of common law, marriage has been only one thing: the union of one man and one woman. Call three men and a baby a marriage, if you must, but Lincoln would as surely chuckle as if you had counted five legs on his hound. Nonetheless, the ongoing struggle of our States to preserve to themselves the power to define the institution of marriage is suffering blow after blow from judges that have never counted fewer than five legs on Lincoln's dog. We have indicated above some of the instances of the judicial re-arrangement of marriage.
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Plainly, it is within the power of the States to put any question, any issue, beyond the reach of special interest groups and judges that have usurped the power of the people and the role of the legislature. There is no constitutional offense committed against the sovereignty of the States when, for their mutual aid and care, the States compact together in the manner proposed by the FMA. The donation of a small portion of sovereignty, over the definition of marriage and the judicially compelled disposition of its benefits, if it occurs, will be by the vote of the States. The voluntary act of free and independent States is the crown of liberty not the source of injury.
3. The FMA Leaves to the States the Power to Decide What Shall Be the Legal Incidents of Marriage, Only Preventing Constructions of Constitutions and Laws, whether Federal or State, in a Manner that Requires That Marital Status or the Legal Incidents of Marital Status Be Conferred on Unmarried Couples or Groups.
The FMA ultimately defines marriage for purposes of law in the United States. It does not stop there. Rather, the FMA addresses the root of the present dispute over the nature of marriage and the right to adjust the definition of marriage to fit relational groupings other than those of one man and one woman. That root, as we explained above, is in the judicial perturbations arising from disputes over allegations that limiting legal marriage to the union of one man and one woman violates either a fundamental right or a duty under the Constitution of government actors not to discriminate. The FMA responds to those perturbations by placing beyond the reach of those whose duties include construction of federal and state laws and constitutions the ability to use their positions to effect a construction of law that would require the expansion of marriage to groupings other than the union of one man and one woman, or the allocation of the legal incidents of marriage to such other groupings.
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Here we consider the provision of the FMA regarding the legal incidents of marriage. These, we think, are determined by the law of the jurisdictions to which a marital union is subject. For example, a married couple is entitled, under federal law, to file their federal income tax returns and pay any liabilities thereon under the unique formulation of ''married filing jointly.'' To no other grouping of individuals is such a special categorization allowed. Thus, under federal law, an incident of marriage is the right to file tax returns using that categorization.
Similarly, States may provide such a legal incident to marriage in their system of income or other taxation. In addition, States may create special capacities of relation between such married couples and property. A good example of this latter approach is the property holding category of ''tenancy by the entireties.'' While others than a married couple may hold property as tenants in common, ''tenancy by the entireties'' grants to each spouse the right to survivorship, meaning that upon the death of the other, the surviving spouse takes title to the property as though it was always in their name alone.
Still other legal incidents of marriage have existed and may yet be created.
One such incident arises in the judicial setting. That legal incident is the spousal privilege protecting marital communications from compelled disclosure. The grant of the privilege serves what the Supreme Court has recognized to be an important governmental interest in preserving marital harmony.(see footnote 60)
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The application of the spousal testimony rule well illustrates the sovereignty retained by the States in this regard. Many States follow the federal approach as explained in the Trammell decision. Others choose to formulate the spousal privileges in other ways. Kansas, for example, has rejected Trammel and allows a defendant spouse to assert the testimonial privilege even against a willing spouse.(see footnote 61) Under the FMA, States would be free to refine and reconsider such privileges. All that the FMA does in this regard is to prevent the States from being compelled to enlarge the spousal testimonial privilege so that it becomes akin to the ''lovers privilege,'' the ''really good friends for a long time privilege,'' or the ''we want it because we want it'' privilege.
One long-standing privilege relates to the legal presumption regarding offspring or issue of the marriage.(see footnote 62) Although this presumption may be changing with the times and with changes in society, the States have had the power in law to craft such a presumption and to give legal effect to it.
Still other legal incidents of marriage may be defined, discovered or recognized. We do not pretend to exhaust the definitional exercise of identifying those incidents. Whatever they may be in any given State of the Union, those legal incidents are given a kind of insulation by the FMA. The FMA leaves to the States the power to decide what legal incidents belong to marriage. At the same time, the FMA bars judges, mayors, town clerks, and others from using the guise of statutory construction as the means to extend outside of the marital union the availability of any such incidents as may be recognized by State law.
B. The Federal Marriage Amendment Properly Recognizes Opposite Sex Marriage as the Key to Stable and Healthy Societies
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Europe's experience with same-sex marriage is instructive to us on why we must clearly define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and accept nothing less. In The Fall of France: What Gay Marriage Does to Marriage,(see footnote 63) David Frum commented on the relevance of France's experience to the same-sex marriage debate in the United States:
The argument over gay marriage is only incidentally and secondarily an argument over gays. What it is first and fundamentally is an argument over marriage. . . . [G]ay marriage will turn out in practice to mean the creation of an alternative form of legal coupling that will be available to homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. Gay marriage, as the French are vividly demonstrating, does not extend marital rights; it abolishes marriage and puts a new, flimsier institution in its place. Proponents of gay marriage freely borrow analogies from the civil-rights movement. But we are not talking here about throwing open the country club to people of all races; we are talking about bulldozing the country club and building something entirely different in its place.(see footnote 64)
Social commentator Maggie Gallagher concurs. ''A look at Europe,'' she says, demonstrates that ''if marriage and children'' become ''just one of many lifestyle choices, people stop getting married and they stop having children in numbers large enough to replace the population.''(see footnote 65) Indeed, ''[t]he U.N. is now issuing urgent warnings about European depopulation.''(see footnote 66) Thus the legal recognition of any relationship on the same level as traditional marriage will wreak irreversible harm on American society, as it has on European society.
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Marriage has taken a serious hit in our culture in the last 40 years. Its weakening has led to ''a gigantic expansion of state power and a vast increase in social disorder and human suffering.''(see footnote 67) As Gallagher observes,
The results of the marriage retreat are not merely personal or religious. When men and women fail to form stable marriages, the first result is a vast expansion of government attempts to cope with the terrible social needs that result. There is scarcely a dollar that state and federal government spends on social programs that is not driven in large part by family fragmentation: crime, poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, mental and physical health problems. Even Medicare spending is inflated, as elderly singles spend more of their years in nursing homes.(see footnote 68)
Same-sex marriage will not simply undermine traditional marriage, it will transform our society and the nature and reach of government. That transformation will lead to more, not less, government growth and social chaos. The Federal Marriage Amendment will insure such a profound and elemental change does not occur without the opportunity of the people and society to exercise the democratic model and vote through their elected state houses.
It is not surprising that virtually ever society has expressed, by statutes, laws, and regulations, a strong preference for marriage. At a minimum, the larger society has depended on the conjoining of men and women in fruitful unions to secure society's continued existence. Traditional marriages, in which one man and one woman create a lasting community, transmit the values and contributions of the past to establish the promise of the future.
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Nor do the benefits of traditional marriage flow only from the couple to the society made stable by the creation of enduring marriages. The valued role of marriage in increasing the level of health, happiness and wealth of spouses, compared to unmarried partners, is established.(see footnote 69) And the known research indicates that the offspring of traditional marital relations also trend toward greater health and more developed social skills.(see footnote 70)
In contrast, sexual identicality, not difference, is the hallmark of same-sex relationships. Thus, to admit that same-sex relationships can be valid marriages requires a concession that sexual distinctions are meaningless. That conclusion is not sensible or empirically supported. Consider, for example, the principal difference between married couples that would procreate and same-sex couples seeking to do likewise. Children can never be conceived as the fruit of a union between couples of the same sex, perforce requiring the intervention of a third person, the donating participant with the same-sex couple. If the identity of this donor is secret, then it is guaranteed that the child of such same-sex unions will be deprived of an intimate relationship with their biological parent. If the donor is included into the relationship, the transmogrified same-sex union is changed again into a tri-unity. While the math of these problems may be easy to follow, claims that raising children as the children of a homosexual union appear to be based entirely on a game of ''hide the ball'' that serves to leave no doubt that such placements are consistent with the best interests of the child, even though, in fact, every major study reaching that conclusion is impeached by flawed constructions and conclusions.(see footnote 71)
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Traditional marriage makes such significant contributions to society that it is simply a sound policy judgment to prefer such marriages over lesser relationships in kind (such as co-habitation) or entirely different in character (same-sex relationships). The unique nature of marriage justifies the endorsement of marriage and the omission of endorsements for same-sex marriage.
For all of these reasons, Congress should pass H.J. Res. 56, and allow the states the opportunity to resolve the matter through the democratic process of a Constitutional amendment.
Mr. CHABOT. We have now reached the point where Members of the Committee will have five minutes each to ask questions. I yield myself five minutes at this time to ask questions.
First of all, the thing that brings us here today, obviously, is the fact that many of us believein fact, the overwhelming majority, I believe, in this country believes that marriage has always been a cornerstone of our society. It is an institution that is important, obviously, for raising children; and it has always been recognized as a man and a woman.
If we are going to change something that has been as essential to our society as the institution of marriage is, it ought to be done by the will of the people; and that is expressed through their elected representatives either here in Congress, at the Federal level, or in the State legislatures at the State level.
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Many are concerned that, even though we passed DOMA back in '97 by an overwhelming vote here in the House and by something like 85 to 14 in the Senate, that DOMA may well be at risk because of Full Faith and Credit which is the Constitution; and, of course, the Constitution trumps a statute any time.
So dealing with DOMA itself, Mr. Sekulow, I would like to start with you, if I could, and you have already commented on this somewhat. Could you comment on what you believe relative to DOMA and the likelihood of it withstanding a constitutional challenge ultimately?
Mr. SEKULOW. I think that DOMA, in light of Lawrence v. Texas, will be difficult to maintain its constitutionality. Because in readingand I think what Justice Scalia said in his dissent is correct. The Lawrence decision is a significant shift in the way the law has developed with regard to, in that particular case, the practice of sodomy. It overturned specifically Bowers.
I think we have to realize there will be some courts that will find DOMA constitutional. There will be others that find that it is not. Ultimately, that means it goes to the Supreme Court of the United States. If that case was this year or next, depending on the makeup of the court, I would suspectand I am pretty confident of thisthat in light of Lawrence v. Texas and some other decisions of the court recently, that it would be probable that that statute would be struck as unconstitutional, violating Full Faith and Credit.
Mr. CHABOT. Barney.
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Mr. FRANK. First, I know you are not supposed to say I told you so. You are supposed to pretend you do not like to. But I find it is one of the few pleasures that improves with age. So I will say I voted against DOMA in '96, not '97not coincidentally, it was a presidential election yearand I am interested to see that those who voted for it now have retroactively decided it was unconstitutional. But I voted against it because I think it is constitutionally irrelevant.
I think when the Supreme Court comesas to the first section, when the Supreme Court comes to dealing with whether or not Full Faith and Credit applies, I do not think that is a subject into which they will invite congressional input in any serious way. I believe the Court will decide this on its own.
Let us make this prediction: I believe the Supreme Court will not find that Full Faith and Credit coveredthat has not been the case. We have the case of Loving in Virginia in which is the Supreme Court knocked down racial laws. If in fact Full Faith and Credit fully applied, there would not have been a need for that case, because whites and blacks married in another State could have gone to Virginia and be covered. I think the history has been that, by and large, States have been allowed to set their own policies.
We have this interesting phenomenon where people are now predicting something which, if it were to come up, they would then yell against it and try to stop it. So I do not think Full Faith and Credit will be found.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
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Judge Bork, would you like to weigh in.
Judge BORK. Yes. I think, contrary to what has just been said, unless the Court steps back because it feels that public outrage will break out on a decision that homosexual marriage is a constitutional right, unless the Court shies away for that reason, I think DOMA is absolutely a dead letter constitutionally, not because it would be under the original Constitution but because it is under the way this Court is behaving. I suspect the vote against DOMA would be six to three. I do not see any prospect of sustaining it.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
Marilyn, have you had a chance to consider this?
Mrs. MUSGRAVE. I was going to say that even in a State like Nebraska that has passed DOMA by 70 percent constitutional amendment in the State of Nebraska, the Attorney General there does not expect that to stand. I believe that this is an evolving process, and since 1996 we see all of the challenges in various ways to DOMA, and I believe it is very likely that Federal DOMA will not stand.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you.
My next question I was going to get into civil unions and its relationship here, but my time has just run out, but I am sure other Members will probably get into that area.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to thank the witnesses, and I yield now to the gentleman from New York. Mr. Nadler is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you. I have a number of questions, so I hope the answers will be brief. The questions will be brief and to the point.
Judge Bork, when was the last time the Constitution of the United States was amended to sustain an existing law on the assumption that the Supreme Court might decide that existing law was unconstitutional?
Judge BORK. Offhand, I do not recall.
Mr. NADLER. So, in other words, we have never done that.
Judge BORK. I did not say that. I said, offhand, I do not recall.
Mr. NADLER. I have been unable to find anybody who can answer that question in the affirmative.
What you are really proposing is that we shouldthat the Supreme Court will declare something unconstitutional and amend the constitution in advance of that.
Judge BORK. We know that that is happening. We know that is coming.
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Mr. NADLER. We know the question is coming. We do not know how the Court is going to rule. We can make assumptions on that.
Let me ask you a different question, Judge Bork. Should unelected judges ever have the power to overrule a legislative enactment on constitutional grounds or should we dispense with Marbury v. Madison?
Judge BORK. No, Mr. Nadler.
Mr. NADLER. That is the question you raised,
Judge BORK. I know. I was thinking that that was a very odd way to put it. Nobody wants to dispense with Marbury v. Madison, and of course judges will have the power to override legislation that is unconstitutional. The problem arises when judges begin to depart from the Constitution and make up their own idea of the Constitution, and that is precisely what has been happening in this area. That is what happened in Lawrence v. Texas.
Mr. NADLER. Let me ask you the next question.
There are a number of rights recognized by the Supreme Court that are not explicitly in the Constitution, for example, the right to marry, the right of parents to control the upbringing of their children. Do you think the Court was wrong to discover these rights or was it acting extraconstitutionally, as you are saying the Court is doing in other cases?
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Judge BORK. I think it was extraconstitutional. There are a lot of activist court decisions back in theprior to 1937 that I, as a political matter, like. As a judicial matter, they were none of the business of the courts; and the court should not have done it.
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Sekulow, let me ask you the same question. The rights the Supreme Court discovered in the Constitutionthe right to marry, the right of parents to control the upbringing of their childrendo you think this is the Supreme Court inventing constitutional rights that do not exist in the Constitution?
Mr. SEKULOW. The Court has consistently through its history adopted, through its liberty interests that it has asserted, most recently in the last 40 or 50 years, and they have discovered rights, some of which you might agree with, some of which you might not. The difficulty, of course, specifically in the Massachusetts situation was there the Court did not just hold the statute was unconstitutional as was the case in Vermont, but, rather, in Massachusetts the Court not only held the statute unconstitutional, but told the legislature this is the only way you can fix it and did not provide for even the alternative, as was available in Vermont, of a civil union. So the Court there really overstepped its bounds not just in determining something unconstitutional but, rather, employing the remedy, specifically drafting legislation.
Mr. NADLER. So you would, by the same logic, say that the remedies ordered by the courts in the progeny cases after Brown v. Board of Education were also wrong.
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Mr. SEKULOW. No, the Court in Brown v. Board of Educationthe subsequent cases held that decisions of the lower courts had to be consistent with the individual decision of thein that particular case, the Federal court.
Mr. NADLER. But the lower courts and the Supreme Court upheld very specific remedies when legislatures and town governments and city governments refused to remedy the situation.
Mr. SEKULOW. Congressman Nadler, what the Supreme Court did in Brown v. Board of Education and its progeny was have the lower courts issue opinions and orders consistent with the Supreme Court opinion. They did not draft the individual order.
Mr. NADLER. The lower courts drafted the specific orders.
Mr. SEKULOW. That is right. Those were orders to enforce a judicially recognized situation. In Massachusetts, the
Mr. NADLER. I fail to see the difference.
Mr. SEKULOW. There is a difference between State and Federal court.
Mr. NADLER. Judge Bork, you talk about unelected judges and Mrs. Musgrave and everyone talks about unelected judges making these terrible decisions, or impositions, I should say, on the democratic legislation. If the legislature of Massachusetts or of some other State were to pass a law recognizing gay marriage and allowing gay marriage within the State of Massachusetts, do you think that the Federal Constitution should prohibit the legislature of Massachusetts from doing that, or of any other State from doing that?
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Judge BORK. I do. There are some institutions and some basic things about our Government, about our society that the Constitution ought to protect. I think that the
Mr. NADLER. So, in other words, all the rhetoric about the unelected judges is out the window. What you are really saying is that the superior wisdom of the people drafting this Constitution or presumably the Congress, et cetera, should amend the Constitution to prohibit the people of any State or local government through their elected representatives from doing this thing which you think is terrible.
Judge BORK. Mr. Nadler, every constitutional provision prevents people from doing things through their legislatures. The Bill of Rights is nothing but a list of things that legislatures may not do.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. NADLER. Can I have an additional minute?
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman, by unanimous consent, has 1 additional minute.
Mr. NADLER. Barney, would you comment on that?
Mr. FRANK. I thank you for making that point.
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If they really were only looking at unelected judgesof course, some judges are elected in some State courts. But if they are only looking at judges, what they would do is get rid of the first sentence and deal with it the way they do it in the second sentence. That is, they now, after working this out among themselves, those who are supporting this say it does not stop legislatures and electorates from having civil unions. It only stops courts from ordering it.
I would not be for that amendment, but they could do that. So it is clear. I think your questioning has made this clear. This is not based on the decision that judges should not say this. It is a substantive decision.
We, the Federal Government, will say that no State by whatever means, no matter how democratic, will allow two people of the same sex to get married, and that is what it says. They have the ability to do less than that. They have the ability to also deal with Full Faith and Credit. So it does seem to me that people ought to be called upon to defend what it is they are trying to do.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman, first, I want to thank the panel. It is a very esteemed panel here.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge Bork, I am pleased to see you here in front of us, along with our distinguished panel members.
I want to make a couple of comments along the way.
Marilyn Musgrave, the presentation that you made in that opening 5 minutes was as complete and concise and succinct as anything I have heard delivered on this subject; and I will be getting a draft copy of that to preserve for my reference.
As I listen to the testimony across the panel, there are a couple of things that come to mind. Massachusetts has got to be a fascinating place, and I need to spend more time there so I can begin to better understand the politics that flows from Massachusetts. There is no question about your ability, Mr. Frank.
As I look at it this way, lay out our predictions, and I am willing to do that. In fact, I would illustrate the prediction that there will not be an issue of Full Faith and Credit and that in Vermont civil unions have become boring. Maybe they are boring in Vermont, but when they manifest themselves through an interpretation of Full Faith and Credit in Iowa, it is not boring.
It is not boring when I have a Judge Neery in Sioux City, Iowa, that grants a dissolution of marriage for a Vermont civil union in my back yard and I end up before the State Supreme Court to try to resolve that issue. That is not boring.
And it is continuing, as Mr. Sekulow said. We are going to see this flow across this Nation in multiple ways, ways we cannot begin to comprehend, because of the confusion that is driven into this thing by the courts. And I certainly hand this over to the legislative process and in our States and in our Nation, but I think we need to preserve marriage in all those ways.
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So I will make my prediction, and it will sound a little bit like the Santorum prediction, and that is that if we do not draw the line, then what comes along the way? What do you allow a court to make a decision on?
If they are going to base their decision on a rule of law, then where do you draw it? If it is not between marriage by the pure definition of marriage, and then marriage can be distorted in its meaning to include between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, then how do you draw the line between group marriage, bigamy, polygamy, and all the living arrangements there are? How do you slow this race toward a pure socialistic society where group marriages can be arranged for the purposes of benefits that come by the incentive out there by just being able to claim those kind of living arrangements?
I think Rick Santorum was right, and I think he is right on the line. I pose this question to Mr. Frank, and that is that if we do not draw the line here, if we do not protect this hereand in spite of your predictions, mine are different, and I am consistent with Justice Scalia, Lawrence v. Texas, do believe it. It does directly effect marriage. Certainly Scalia was right in his prediction and that found its way into the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
But if we do not draw the line here at this point with a constitutional amendment, then where and how and under what legal circumstances could a line be drawn? Someplace between homosexual marriage and bigamy, polygamy, group marriage and the other things on the Santorum list? Should it be drawn?
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANK. Yes, a couple of points. Some lines are very hard to draw in public policy. The line between two people and three people in my experience has always been fairly clear. That is, I think it is perfectly reasonable for society to say, as a matter of public policy, we believe having two people legally as well as emotionally committed to each other promotes stability.
There was reference to children. This argument that this is bad for children does not go nearly far enough, if that is what your concern is. Remember, gay people can now have children. Lesbians can now have children. Single people can have children. In fact, what this does is it makes it more likely that the children of any such operation will have two parents on whom they can make legal claim.
Mr. KING. But should not the line be drawn and under what legal circumstances?
Mr. FRANK. Yes, well, I am trying to get to the point. I cannot simplify it any more.
What I am saying is we can say it is better for two people to be raising the children. It is better for two people to be involved. That is socially stabilizing.
When you get into three way and other relationshipsand, by the way, I do not know why you thought it was socialistic. The views on homosexuality that prevailed in those self-described socialist societies that we have had are much closer to yours than to mine, in China or Russia or North Korea. I do not believe socialism has been practiced
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Mr. KING. I can make that case, but I will save it for another time.
Mr. FRANK. What I am saying is you say two consenting adults committing themselves to each other legally is socially stabilizing, whereas having someone who cannot consent or is not of the legal age or having three or four people, that that is socially destabilizing, and that is the way you draw the line.
You do say that, yes, two consenting adults, that can be an element of social stability, but if you get into three and four and five, no, that has inherent difficulties. It is not the way, which children are they, etc.
Mr. KING. So you would draw the line at two people, not three.
Mr. FRANK. Yes.
I would make one other prediction. I am struck by the number of people here who are now purporting to believeand I use those words quite deliberatelythat Lawrence v. Kansas requires the U.S. Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage. I will predict that if any such case comes up, one, I do not think the Supreme Court will say that; and, two, those who are now claiming to believe that Lawrence v. Kansas compels it will be taking the opposite position when in fact that case gets argued
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman, I would point out that the second half of this question, which is under what legal circumstance
Mr. FRANK. The Judge correctly
Mr. KING.I do not have an answer to. But I would yield time back to the Chair and hope we have a second round of questions.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time is expired.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott, is recognized for five minutes.
I might mention that we generally have not gone to a second round in this Committee except under extraordinary circumstances.
Mr. FRANK. I have all morning.
Mr. CHABOT. But we have a markup on two bills after this.
The gentleman from Virginia is recognized.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, on a previous Committee I think we accomplished that this amendment would have no legal effect on traditional marriages, but, Judge Bork, did I understand your testimony to say that if same-sex marriages were allowed, opposite-sex couples might be less likely to get married?
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Judge BORK. That is the evidence that particularly Stanley Kurtz, who I believe has testified before this Subcommittee, that is the evidence one gathers from Sweden and from the Netherlands and perhaps from Norway.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Let me ask another question, Judge Bork. The whole subject of domestic relations belongs to the laws of States and not to the laws of the United States. That was language from France v. United States, a D.C. Circuit case in 1983. The case goes on to say, family law continues to be regarded as almost entirely a State matter, and so strong has this tradition been that it was simply a given that Federal power could not touch this area of life.
Do you agree with that language?
Judge BORK. Well, no, I do not agree. Because what is happening now is Federal power is reaching that area of life and is doing so through the courts.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, this is a Federal constitutionallet me get back. You do not agree with the language.
Judge BORK. I agree with the language in thein the context of that case, it probably was correct. But if you say that the Federal power will never be able to reach family law, that simply is not true. Federal power reaches family law all the time, and now it is reaching it through constitutional rulings from Federal courts.
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Mr. SCOTT. As we read the proposed constitutional amendment, you have to read the whole thing not just the first sentence. The first sentence, as has been pointed out, is fairly clear, butthe second sentence makes it apparent that civil unions may not be required, but they appear to be permitted; is that correct?
Judge BORK. That is correct. Permitted by the legislature.
Mr. SCOTT. Under this amendment, could you have a civil union that is substantively equivalent to a marriage, that is, all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a marriage but not called a marriage? Would that be permissible for a State to do that under this constitutional amendment?
Judge BORK. I think it probably would be.
Mr. SCOTT. Just so we don't call it a marriage?
Judge BORK. The symbolism is crucial in cultural matters. And the symbolism of marriage is one of the most basic symbols in our society.
Mr. SCOTT. I want to get the substance. Substantively, you could have a legal entity absolutely precisely identical to a marriage?
Judge BORK. I would have to go through the list of all the things we are talking about to know whether it would be identical, but it certainly would be very close.
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Mr. SCOTT. That would be possible.
Let me follow through and follow up on one of the questions that was asked about Full Faith and Credit. How is the Full Faith and Credit question affected by the passage or not passagefailure to pass of this amendment; and that is to say, does Virginia have to recognize a Vermont civil union now or a Massachusetts marriage now? And will it have to recognize a marriage or a civil union if this thing were to be adopted?
Judge BORK. Well, without the amendment, let me start that way, people get marriedsame-sex couples get married in Massachusetts; for some reason, they wind up in Virginia and claim the benefits of marriage. Let us suppose that Virginia says no. That is contrary to our public policy and furthermore, it is contrary to State DOMA if we have a State DOMA. And furthermore, it is contrary to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. That couple will then go into Federal Court and challenge the constitutionality of Virginia's public policy and Virginia's DOMA and the Federal DOMA. And it is my firm belief that that couple will succeed in constitutional litigation.
Mr. SCOTT. Today?
Judge BORK. Today.
Mr. SCOTT. If this amendment were to pass, it doesn't say anything about Full Faith and Credit. Would you have the same result?
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge BORK. No, because the Massachusetts marriage would no longer be something that was valid.
Mr. SCOTT. What about the Vermont civil union?
Judge BORK. Civil unions might be. There would be an argument about that.
I don't predict what the outcome would be under a Full Faith and Credit argument there, but certainly marriage would be, and the various public policies and citations of various Federal and State DOMAs would not prevail.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Alabama, Mr. Bachus, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BACHUS. Thank the Chairman.
I would say this to the panel: Next to nothing has been said about the effects of civil unions or same-sex marriages on the Federal Treasury or the State treasuries. I know that GAO has asked to take a look at this, and they identified 1,138 Federal benefit programs in which the determining factor in receiving benefits was marital status.
Judge Bork and Congresswoman Musgrave, have you all made any estimates on the cost of this and the cost of Social Security, food stamps, disability payments, welfare, unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid? Won't this just break the bank?
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Canada was considering this, and this is what stopped it in Canada. They found the retroactive Social Security benefits, if this thing went throughalone, that they couldn't afford that, just the one program.
Mrs. MUSGRAVE. Well, I certainly do not have any estimates of how much it would cost, but I think this gives evidence to the argument that when you are contemplating in the public policy arena something like same-sex marriage and the benefits that go along with it, it should be done in this deliberative legislative arena in the States, not done by judges.
In fact, there is no State in the Union that has recognized gay marriage. In fact, States that have recognized civil unions go out of their way to say that this is not marriage. So these things, Mr. Bachus, you bring up, they are very pertinent to the debate, but we haven't been allowed to have that debate.
Mr. BACHUS. Not only that, but the news media and the press in this country, in covering thisand I have watched it for 3 months, and I have spoken about the cost in billions of dollars to Social Security, the cost in billions of dollars to Medicare and billions of dollars to Medicaid, billions of dollars to unemployment benefits, they have not covered that. It is something that has not been highlighted.
And let me say this. When I talk about the cost of money, I am not implying that there is not a heavy cost morally or socially to this country in undermining our traditional institution of marriage. That will always be in my mind; the greatest cost will be the devastation there. And Ibut I believe that the one thing that proponents of thisthese unions, if they just want to be recognizedI just want to be publicly recognized, I want the same benefits; what they are not saying to the American people is, I want Social Security, I want retirement benefits, I want these billions of dollars worth of coverage.
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And I know one person, I think, that has been honest about that is Representative Frank, because he proposed this domestic partnership benefit for Federal employees, and he actually did request from the Congressional Budget Office what the cost of that would be. And just part of that was 41.4 billion, and that is just for a certain number of Federal employees, a certain benefit for them.
But I meanand I would like to introduce that for the record if I could. And this is just one benefit for one Federal employee that CBO scored.
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection, it will be included in the record.
Mr. BACHUS. I would like to introduce the GAO record, which estimates that this could impact 1,138 Federal statutory provisions in the U.S. Code in which marital status is the factor in determining receiving benefits, rights and privileges. This would not simply be a recognition of these people and a blessing of it; it would be asking those constituents that I represent, that you represent and that all of us represent to pay millions of dollars more. And I wonder where the AARP and other senior citizens and other veterans groups are in this debate and why they are not sitting out there in the audience.
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection, it will be included in the record.
[The information referred to follows in the Appendix]
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Mr. CHABOT. Congressman Frank.
Mr. FRANK. I will plead guilty to the same thing, to say that gay people should be fully eligible for Social Security. As to everybody else, I would say two things.
Judge Bork did say, and he would not agree with you because he said he thought very few gay and lesbian couples would get married. Obviously, then it isn't going to cost very much money. I would note what the gentlewoman from Colorado said. Well, we should have a debate.
That is the point. The amendment prevents the debate. The amendment says there can be no marriage, so the amendment prevents the debate.
With regard to civil unions in Vermont, they couldn't confer Federal benefits; they conferred Vermont benefits. It was not very costly.
In effect, domestic partnership benefits, in general, that have been granted by various private entities, the leading corporations in AmericaMicrosoft, IBM, et ceteranone of them have found this to be a financial burden.
Mr. BACHUS. Let me say this
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman is granted an additional minute.
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Mr. BACHUS. If I was in the legislature of Massachusetts and there was an additional cost to the people of Massachusetts, then I would take it out of the budget of the supreme court of Massachusetts. They have passed a tax increase on the people of Massachusetts. And it just shows us the judicial activism in this country. This ought to be another wake-up call, as if we hadn't had enough.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman has a witness that is chomping at the bit.
Mr. SEKULOW. Two points quickly: In Hawaii, the issue of the economic cost analysis was actually part of the factor in the legislative process. Again, they were able to utilize the deliberative process in their domestic partnership program as they tailored the benefits to specific items because of the cost concerns and the insurance companies' concerns over the general cost of this. But it does point out, as the Congressman saidand I think it is the most significant aspect of thisthat regardless of where you fall on the issue, the debate has stopped. And it wasn't stopped because of the legislature in Massachusetts, it was not stopped because of this constitutional amendment, if it were to pass, because it still would have to be ratified by the States; it stopped because four unelected judges decided it would stop.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentlelady from Wisconsin is recognized for 5 minutes.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BALDWIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I can't resist responding to the comments about costs, because I look at it oftentimes from the other side. I think of partners in Vermont raising a young child, a son named Trevor. One chose to stay home to raise Trevor, the other worked for wages. And the working mom, who is not the legally recognized mother, was struck and killed in a car accident. What is the cost of Trevor that he can't collect Social Security benefits for a lost parent?
There are so many examples like that. We have to weigh those costs, too.
But I want to get to the substance that is before the Committee this morning, Mr. Sekulow, and ask youif you could answer this briefly, because I don't want to spend a lot of timeas an attorney and Federal marriage proponent, what do you believe the meaning of the phrase ''legal incidents thereof'' are in the second sentence of the proposed amendment? Real brief.
Mr. SEKULOW. We looked at that both from what I understand the legislation to be and what the courts have said about that, and it is usually associated with the benefits that obtain to or would be included within the context of marriage, everything from economic benefits to spousal privilege in cross-examination of witnesses.
Ms. BALDWIN. Do you believe the Federal Marriage Amendment could be interpreted by the courts to invalidate laws such as civil unions and domestic partnership legislation, or laws, as they currently exist or might be enacted in the future?
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SEKULOW. It is hard to say what a court would do or wouldn't do. I don't think it would be because of the language of the amendment, especially as modified by the Senate version, which clearly leaves the issue of civil unions to the States to determine. The question would be in the context of, as Congressman Scott mentioned, if Virginia would not have a civil unions program, but Vermont did, and individuals from Vermont then came to Virginia, would Virginia be forced to recognize the civil union?
I would suspect the arguments would be made that they should. I have a better chance of winning that case, though, if Virginia did not want to recognize the Full Faith and Credit aspect.
Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Frank.
Mr. FRANK. I am pleased to see again this distinction between marriage and civil union. Once again it proves, if the proponents wanted to leave this up to the political process and not the courts, they knew how to do that.
But, secondly, I have to stress, I wish people would go back and look at the debates that happened in Vermont about civil unions. Now we are being told that civil unions are a much less harmful form. All of the arguments being made against marriage were made against civil unions. And the total absence of any of those predicted negative consequences in Vermont, I think is a pretty good model for what is going to happen once we have marriages in Massachusetts.
Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Sekulow, you and the American Center for Law and Justice were involved in a challenge to a San Francisco local ordinance requiring companies that do business with the city to provide domestic partnership coverage benefits?
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Mr. SEKULOW. That is correct.
Ms. BALDWIN. At the time you said, and I quote, ''This is a critical issue that focuses on a cultural shift under way in corporate America that is designed to legitimize same-sex relations. We are vigorously challenging an ordinance that we believe undermines the institution of marriage and conflicts with the moral values of most Americans,'' end quote.
Is it your view that laws creating civil unions and domestic partnerships that give legal recognition to the relationships of same-sex couples undermine the institution of marriage?
Mr. SEKULOW. I think civil unions can certainly undermine the institution of marriage. And in the particular case that you mentioned in San Francisco, the litigation there was because the ordinances involved actually required domestic partnership benefits and civil unions to not be given just to employees in California, but to the employees that were located in their home office in Minnesota.
Ms. BALDWIN. If they wanted to do business.
Mr. SEKULOW. If they wanted to do any business.
Ms. BALDWIN. As you know, California recently enacted assembly bill 205, which gives registered domestic partners in California many, if not most, of the rights given married heterosexual couples. It is being challenged by the Alliance Defense Fund.
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Are you familiar with the lawsuit?
Mr. SEKULOW. Yes.
Ms. BALDWIN. The principal basis of the Alliance Defense Fund's challenge is its claim that a California law that provides only marriage between a man and a woman is valid, means that the State legislature cannot enact a domestic partnership statute.
Do you agree with the Alliance Defense Fund that California's Defense of Marriage Act should be interpreted to invalidate AB 205?
Mr. SEKULOW. That is not the legal position I would advocate. In California, while they have a specific prohibition on same-sex marriage, as I mentioned in my testimony, they also have a specific reference to sexual orientation as part of their protected class under their civil rights. So I don't think that that would be the approach I would take.
The question is, does the State Defense of Marriage Act reach a civil union situation, and it probably was not the legislative intent.
Mr. CHABOT. THE GENTLELADY'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.
The gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Hostettler, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Congressman Frank, as you brought the discussion of the historical basis for polygamy, you suggested a couple of cases, namely Abraham and I believe it was Joshua. If I can somehow set the record straight with regard to the marital status of Abraham. I believe he had one wife and one concubine that was suggested in the Scripture as not a wife.
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Mr. FRANK. Is that better or worse? In a role model is that better or worse? I am taking your Biblical guidance.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. It was not an issue of marriage; it is not a role model for me.
And with regard to Joshua, I am not sure of a Scriptural connotation to his marital status, but if we can turn to a relative of Abraham and that is we are talking about the societal impact of the marriage status and the societal imprimatur on homosexual relationships, you will admit there is Biblical precedent for Abraham's nephew, Lot, and an adverse impact on society in the case of Sodom.
Mr. FRANK. Not just homosexuality, but of people trying to force themselves on other people. That is an abusive situation in which visitors to the town were being threatened with forcible sexual activity.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Which is the etymology for the term ''sodomy'' that we recognize in our laws today.
Mr. NADLER. Would the gentleman yield for clarification? I do not believe Scripture actually specifies the sins of the people in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. If I could set the record straight: that the visitors that the gentleman speaks about were men, and Lot recommended daughtersthat people, explicitly the men of the Old Testament, denied and would rather be given the men.
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Mr. FRANK. Would it have been better if they tried to do this to women? I don't think so.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I think this is a hearing
Mr. FRANK. Why did you bring it up then?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Because you were historically inaccurate in your basis.
And so, that being said, we have talked a little bit about Marbury v. Madison here, and the basis for the need of a constitutional amendment. In his paper, Louis Fisher, senior specialist in separation of powers, puts Marbury v. Madison in the proper political context when he says, quote, ''It is evident that Marshall did not think he was powerful enough in 1803 to give orders to Congress and the President. He realized he could not uphold the constitutionality of section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and direct Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the commissions to the disappointed would-be judges. President Thomas Jefferson and Madison would have ignored such an order. Everyone knew that, including Marshall. As Chief Justice, Warren Burger''and he quotes Burger herequote, ''The Court could stand hard blows, but not ridicule, and the ale houses would rock with hilarious laughter had Marshall issued a mandamus that the Jefferson administration ignore,'' end quote.
And so we are talking with regard to what theas opposed to what is going to happen inside the courtroom, what is going to happen in society should the Court, for example, strike down DOMA, if the Court should opine or decide that DOMA is not constitutional. But, in fact, as Louis Fisher points out, that will have to be a political decision. It is a political decision that was made by the Court at that time to say that we know that Jefferson and Madison will not uphold this mandamus.
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And so, today, we know that ultimatelyif DOMA is struck down, it will ultimately take an executive enforcement action to make, for example, the State of Indiana recognize a marriage license from the State of Massachusetts.
In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court carries on the political nature of their decisions. In the discussion of Lawrence v. Texas, they bring up an issue that is not relevant to the case and that is the issue of marriage. When Justice Kennedy alludes to it in his majority opinion, quote, it ''does not involvethe case does not involve the Government, whether the Government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexuals seek to enter,'' obviously a reference to marriage. And Justice O'Connor is a little more straightforward when she says, quote, ''Texas cannot assert any legitimate State interest here,'' and that is in precluding homosexual sodomy, ''such as national security or preserving the traditional institution of marriage. Unlike the moral disapproval of same-sex relations, the asserted State interests in this case, other reasons exist to promote the institution of marriage beyond mere moral disapproval of an excluded group.''
Mr. CHABOT. THE GENTLEMAN'S TIME HAS EXPIRED.
Mr. BACHUS. Unanimous consent, an additional minute.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court continues its recognition of the political nature of the decisions it hands down. Just as in Marbury v. Madison Chief Justice Marshall knew that Jefferson was not going to uphold a mandamus to seat Marbury and his associates, the Court recognizes in Lawrence v. Texas that if they step on the issue of traditional marriage by placing their imprimatur on marriage, there will be wholesale revolt by the people of the United States through their elected representatives or through the executive branch, which, like Jefferson, it is hoped will not uphold a writ to grant same-sex marriage in the State of Indiana to couples that have gotten that in the State of Massachusetts.
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And so I believe that the Court has signaled itself that it is not willing to enter this debate. However, I think that we should enter that debate and that we should continue to preserve the institution of marriage as it has been known for centuries in this country and that is a sacred union between one man and one woman.
Mr. FRANK. May I make one word correction of something I said? I should have said Jacob and not Joshua. It was Jacob I was alluding to and not Joshua.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentlelady from Pennsylvania, Ms. Hart, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. HART. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am going to try to ask a different question, and some of you may or may not be familiar with some of the testimony from prior hearings, from Stanley Kurtz, who is a research fellow. He testified before the Subcommittee on recent data from the Netherlands that showed that legalizing same-sex marriage, in his opinion, thereby decoupling marriage from parenthood, may have contributed to an increase in the out-of-wedlock birthrate for heterosexual couples to the detriment of children whichmost of us agree that people are better off with two parents.
Do any of you, and especially Representative Frank, have any evidence for any theory that would otherwise explain the uniquely large reduction in heterosexual marriages in the Netherlands following that country's legalization of same-sex marriages; and fromI understand similar statistics have also come to light in Sweden and Norway, which have done the same kind of thing.
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And I will start with Representative Frank.
Mr. FRANK. I have not seen that fully, but I wonder why you would look to foreign societies when we have some here.
Ms. HART. We don't have any here.
Mr. FRANK. We have Vermont.
Ms. HART. I am not talking about civil unions.
Mr. FRANK. I am because you would have been talking about same-sex marriage. All the arguments made against same-sex marriage were made against civil unions, as the gentlewoman from Wisconsin's arguments made clear.
Ms. HART. I am not following that line of questioning. My reasoning is different, and I think Mr. Kurtz's was as well.
Mr. FRANK. I think you are wrong about that. I think the argument has been allowing these same-sex relationshipsof course, we have seen nothing negative in Vermont. With regard to that data, it is not very well thought out.
Ms. HART. Have you any suggestions for why it is occurring outside of that suggestion that Professor Kurtz has made?
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Mr. FRANK. As a continuation of trends that have been going on in those societies, I would say this. We are talking about three foreign countries about which none of us are particularly expert in terms of analyzing their social consequences. I can see no logical connection here.
The notionand this is the argumentthat because same-sex couples can get married, opposite sex couples stop getting married, imputes to the opposite sex couples a degree of irrationality which needs a much heavier burden of proof.
I don't think Kurtz's analysis is a very good one. His statistics aren't good. I notice, by the way, that you said he suggested that it may have caused it; I don't think he proves it.
Ms. HART. No. I am not suggesting that he did; I am suggesting
Mr. FRANK. We have Vermont, which you don't want to talk about. It contradicts your thesis. People have made the same argument about Vermont and it has had no negative effect after 4 years in an American jurisdiction, no negative effect whatsoever on marriage.
Ms. HART. I got what you said. I happen to think they are different, and I understand you are not interested in answering the question that I have posed.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SEKULOW. Here is what the law is within the context of the European Union and the experience in Europe. We have an office in Strasbourg, the European Center for Law and Justice, and they have examined these issues both in the Netherlands and other countries where this has been explored.
And the reason that the evidence seems to indicate, at this point, because there a difference between a civil union recognition and its impact and the actual granting of marriage licenses, the uniqueness of the relationship as viewed by the state changes. Therefore, those entering into it view the uniqueness as no longer important; and that is why you are seeing an increase in out-of-wedlock births and you are seeing a decrease in the amount of marriages.
It is the uniqueness of it and the special categories on which it was based, and the protections given have been removed and that is not a trend of something for 4 years; that has been a trend in the context of Europe for 15.
Mr. FRANK. They haven't had same-sex marriages for 15 years in these countries you are mentioning. I think that is the point. They have not had same-sex marriages for 15 years in Norway and Denmark.
Ms. HART. I think I am asking the questions here.
Mr. CHABOT. Could we have order?
Ms. HART. I would like answers to the questions that I have to ask and not someone else using up my time, thanks.
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And I would like to ask Representative Musgrave, maybe you have more information on this. I would like to hear your comments on this particular issue of decoupling.
Mrs. MUSGRAVE. I think in his testimony Judge Bork cited the research. He is more familiar with it than I am. But it is interesting to me that in the Lawrence decision that justices cited European and Canadian court decisions.
So I mean, on one hand, Congressman Frank doesn't want us to look at those situations in the Netherlands or in other countries. However, the Court's decision, when they looked to other countries when they made decision, that is okay.
I think that common sense tells all of us that when you are cavalier about the institution of marriageand I would be the first to admit, and we all know, that heterosexuals in this country are cavalier about marriage; but when you redefine marriage, you, in effect, make it meaningless.
I was interested in what Congressman King said in regard to the line, when Congressman Frank responded, ''Well, we will move the line, but we will draw it between two and three.'' Well, if you are using a moral judgment to draw the line, you can draw the line anywhere your morals take you; and that is why it is imperative that we do not allow four judges against the vehement opposition of three judges in the State of Massachusetts to redefine marriage, because for children, a union between a man and a woman, committed, married, is the best environment.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHABOT. The gentlelady's time has expired and the gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. FEENEY. I want to thank and welcome all the witnesses. We appreciate all of you being advocates for your respective positions.
To the extent it wasn't done in the original hearing, I would ask unanimous consent that the Kurtz research be submitted as part of the record.
Mr. NADLER. I object to that travestyI withdraw my objection. It was just a motion.
Mr. FEENEY. That piece of research was based on studies in Sweden and Norway and
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection, it is admitted in the record. I believe it was admitted in the previous hearing.
[The information referred to follows in the Appendix]
Mr. FEENEY. And, again, I appreciate all of our witnesses.
Mr. NADLER. I am reserving my right to object. Would the gentleman yield?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FEENEY. If I could have an extension of time, I would be happy to yield for a moment.
Mr. CHABOT. So ordered.
Mr. NADLER. As I understand, you want this study of foreign conditions entered into the record?
Mr. FEENEY. I believe it is appropriate for us too, as legislators, not as judges imposing laws.
Mr. NADLER. I think you are anticipating my question. And you are going to be offering your resolution against ever citing foreign decisions?
Mr. FEENEY. We would be delighted to have people interested in Lawrence v. Texas back for that markup.
Mr. NADLER. Let me just say before withdrawing my objection, I think the last hearing showed pretty conclusively thatas a matter of social research, that Mr. Kurtz's work is a piece of garbage, frankly.
Mr. CHABOT. The time belongs to the gentleman from Florida.
Ms. BALDWIN. Unanimous consent motion.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHABOT. Make your motion.
Ms. BALDWIN. I would just ask that the article that I referred to at the last hearing labeling his research as ''crack research,'' that was published in last week's New Republic, also be admitted for the record.
Mr. CHABOT. Without objection. They can both be admitted.
We make access to many different studies and sources of information, and ultimately, the decision is made by the votes that are taken in this Committee and other Committees in Congress.
[The information referred to follows in the Appendix]
Mr. FEENEY. If I could start my 5 minutes, I would be grateful now that we have cleared up the introduction of studies.
Mr. CHABOT. THE GENTLEMAN IS RECOGNIZED FOR THE BALANCE OF HIS TIME, WHICH WE PUT ON HOLD BEFORE.
Mr. FEENEY. I believe that no amount of erudite argument between my friend, Mr. Frank, and I, based on Biblical history or philosophy or research, is going to resolve the issue about whether or not we are better off with or without the clear sanction of marriage between a man and a woman. But I think it is appropriate that we do look at the appropriate role Congress has here because, after all, we had this issue dumped in our lap by a number of cases.
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Judge Bork, you were asked earlier by the gentleman from New York whether you were aware, where a constitutional amendment was based on anticipating breaches of law in general and courts in specific. Most, if not all, of the Bill of Rights actually anticipates abuses that had not necessarily occurred, but were being headed off by the amendments themselves.
Judge BORK. The entire Bill of Rights, in that sense, is heading off anticipated problems.
Mr. FEENEY. The first amendment passed by the United States of America after the Bill of Rights was article XI, which prohibited the judiciary from certain anticipatory abuses.
Judge BORK. The judiciary had already done it and this was to correct what they had done.
Mr. FEENEY. Thank you very much, but anticipating abuses is one of the things we do with constitutional amendments.
Congresswoman Musgrave, like Congressman King, I was impressed by your testimony, both oral and written. It is erudite and it is very compelling. But I do think there was a fair question suggested, that I didn't get an answer to, that maybe you or Judge Bork would answer; and that is, we are anticipating here that some Goodrich type abuse by the United States Supreme Court, like the Massachusetts abusethe court abused its legitimate judicial authority by lawmaking, after 220 years or so of a Massachusetts constitution, in creating some new right out of thin air; we are anticipating a potential abuse here just by our U.S. Supreme Court.
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Where do we end the line, because they are making law on a fairly regular basis? Can we anticipate all of their abuses whichI suppose the answer to it is certainly no. Where do we draw the line in terms of which potential abuses we ought to deal with here through the constitutional mandatory process, and why don't we wait to see what they do before we try to react?
Mrs. MUSGRAVE. I think marriage is something that the American people understand. You knowI mean, the frustration with the courts is ubiquitous. Citizens are frustrated with the Court. Legislators are frustrated with the Court. And there are various constitutional amendments that have been proposed here.
But this amendment deals with something that is at the very core of our culture: marriage between a man and a woman. So this is the one that I am focusing on.
You know, as you said, we didn't ask for this struggle. It was forced upon us. Judges legislating from the bench, State judges, supreme courts in one State forcing their public policy decisionsattempting to force it on other States.
Mr. FEENEY. I want to get in one last question. In fairnessI think Congresswoman Frank can take the last question, and I will be finished.
Number one, I want to commend you with respect to your public position on what was happening in San Francisco because it shows no matter how important the end is to you that there is a certain respect for the rule of law, which is something we can agree on even though we can't agree on where that rule of law starts and finishes.
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I am concerned about judge-made law in this instance and other instances. Plato suggested that government by philosopher, kings, might be an appropriate thing, but it is not our form of Government. And assuming arguendo, there is a gray area here that we may not be able to agree on here in terms of the Lawrence decision, the Goodrich decision in Massachusetts, let us take a black-and-white case; and I would like you to tell me what Congress' remedy is.
For example, article I, section 1, first substantive clause in the Constitution, invests all legislative power in the Congress. Supposing tomorrow from the bench five members of the U.S. Supreme Court declare that they had legislative power and went on to legislate.
What would be the appropriate remedy in your view?
Mr. FRANK. In the case of a blatantly unconstitutional decision which violated that, the only one is impeachment, and there are cases when that would be appropriate. But I would say this: The amendment today, that is not what we are talking about. This is an amendment today that says if there is a referendum in Massachusetts that allows same-sex marriage, it is canceled out.
The issue you raised is a good one. There is a whole line of decisions by this current Supreme Court, mostly 5-4, that basically says that citizens cannot sue their own States for violation of Federal discrimination laws that I think is against the plain text of the 11th amendment and is a very serious interference with congressional rights for disability. I wouldI have quarrels with that.
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But this amendment is not a judicial restraint amendment; it is a specific subject amendment that says, no one, no referendum or State legislature can allow same-sex marriage.
I would be glad to have a debate on this, on how do you respond to a blatantly erroneous constitutional decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. This amendment is not primarily about that and goes much beyond that and, in fact, deals with the rights of States through the political process to make decisions that people here don't like.
Mr. CHABOT. The gentleman's time has expired.
Judge BORK. When I agreed to come, I was told that the starting time was 10 o'clock. I informed whoever that I had a doctor's appointment at 1:30.
Mr. CHABOT. That was our last questioner here.
I want to thank the panel. Without objection, all Members will have 5 legislative days to submit additional materials for the record.
There was alsothere had been a request for a second round. We generally have refrained from that in the 3 years I chaired this Committee, and we would like to do that. However, if the panel will submit, we would like to have any Members that would like to submit questions in writing, if we could have those submitted to you.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CHABOT. Panel members will have the opportunity to do that.
I want to personally thank all four witnesses for their very helpful testimony here this afternoon.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that a copy of the resolution, that is being considered on the floor as this Committee was conducted, honoring Brown v. Board of Education be inserted into this hearing record so that people will recognize that all of us are not offended by judge-made law nor are we required to have a cost-benefit analysis on civil rights.
Mr. CHABOT. Gentleman, without objection, that will be so ordered.
Mr. CHABOT. We are going to move into a markup at this time. Those who are aren't interested, if you could make your way out into the hallway.
I want to thank the panel. We are going to shift at this point from this hearing into a markup.
[Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the Subcommittee proceeded to other business.]
A P P E N D I X
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Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STANLEY KURTZ
My name is Stanley Kurtz. I have a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University (1990). My scholarly work has long focused on the intersection of culture and family life. My book, All the Mothers Are One (Columbia University Press, 1992), is about the cultural significance of the Hindu joint-family. I have published in scholarly journals on the subject of the family and psychology in cross-cultural perspective.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have been a Research Associate of the Committee on Human Development of the University of Chicago, a program that specializes in the interdisciplinary study of the family and psychology. I have also been a postdoctoral trainee with the Culture and Mental Health Behavioral Training Grant (NIMH), administered by the University of Chicago's Committee on Human Development. For two years, I was Assistant Director of the Center for Culture and Mental Health, and Program Coordinator of the Culture and Mental Health Training Grant (NIMH), at the University of Chicago's Committee on Human Development. There I helped train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I taught in the ''Mind'' sequence of the University of Chicago's core curriculum, and also taught a graduate seminar on cultural psychology in the Committee on Human Development. I was also awarded a Dewey Prize Lectureship in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago.
For several years, I was also a Lecturer in the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies of Harvard University. Harvard's Committee on Degrees in Social Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major in the social sciences.
I am currently a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, a contributor to print journals including Policy Review and The Weekly Standard, and a Contributing Editor at National Review Online. The views I put forward in this testimony are my own, and do not represent the views of either the Hoover Institution, or of the venues in which I publish.
In a recently published article, ''The End of Marriage in Scandinavia'' (The Weekly Standard, February 2, 2004), I show how the system of marriage-like same-sex registered partnerships established in the late eighties and early nineties in Scandinavia has contributed significantly to the ongoing decline of marriage in that region. My research on Scandinavia is based on my reading of the demographic and sociological literature on Scandinavian marriage. I have also consulted with Scandinavian scholars, and with American scholars with expertise on Scandinavia.
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Shortly, I will be publishing the results of my research on the condition of marriage in yet another country, the Netherlands. That research is based on my reading of the demographic and sociological literature on marriage in the Netherlands, as well as on consultation with scholars and experts on that country. In my forthcoming publications on the Netherlands, I will show that same-sex marriage has contributed significantly to the decline of marriage in that nation.
The research discussed below is drawn from demographic information provided by European statistical agencies, and from scholarly monographs and journal articles by demographers and sociologists expert on the state of the family in Europe. After summarizing the results of my published research on Scandinavian marriage, I shall summarize the results of my soon to be published research on marriage in the Netherlands.
Marriage in Scandinavia is in serious decline. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are now born out-of-wedlock, as are sixty percent of first born children in Denmark. In some of the more socially liberal districts of Scandinavia, marriage itself has virtually ceased to exist.
When Scandinavia's system of marriage-like same-sex registered partnerships was enacted in the late 1980's and early 1990's, the rate at which Scandinavian parents married was already in decline. Although many Scandinavians were having children out-of-wedlock, it was still typical for parents to marry sometime before the birth of the second child.
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While a number of these out-of-wedlock births were to single parents, most were to cohabiting, yet unmarried, couples. The drawback of this practice is that cohabiting parents break up at two to three times the rate of married parents. A high breakup rate for unmarried parents is found in Scandinavia, and throughout the West. For this reason, rising rates of out-of-wedlock birtheven when such births are to cohabiting, rather than single, parentsmean rising rates of family dissolution.
Since demographers and sociologists take rising out-of-wedlock birthrates as a proxy for rising rates of family dissolution, we know that the family dissolution rate in Scandinavia has been growing. We also have studies that confirm for Scandinavia what we already know for the United Statesthat children of intact families are significantly better off than children in families that experience parental breakup.
Out-of-wedlock birthrates were already rising in Scandinavia prior to the enactment of same-sex registered partnerships. Those rates have continued to rise since the enactment of same-sex partnerships. While the out-of-wedlock birthrate rose swiftly during the 1970's and 1980's, those rapidly rising rates reflected the ''easy'' part of the shift toward a system of unmarried parenthood. That is, the common practice in Scandinavia through the 1980's was to have the first child out of wedlock. Prior to the nineties in Norway, for example, a majority of parentseven in the most socially liberal districtsgot married prior to the birth of a second child.
During the nineties, howeverfollowing the debate on, and adoption of, same-sex registered partnershipsthe out-of-wedlock birthrate began to move through the toughest areas of cultural resistance. At the beginning of the nineties, for example, traditionally religious and socially conservative districts of Norway had relatively low out-of-wedlock birthrates. Now those rates have risen substantially, for both first and second-and-above births. In socially liberal districts of Norway, where it was already common to have the first child outside of marriage by the early nineties, a majority of even second-and-above born children are now born out-of-wedlock.
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Marital decline in Scandinavia is the product of a confluence of factors: contraception, abortion, women in the workforce, cultural individualism, secularism, and the welfare state. Scandinavia is extremely secular, and its welfare state unusually large. Scandinavian law tends to treat marriage and cohabitation alike. Yet the factors driving marital decline in Scandinavia are present in all Western countries. Scholars have long taken Scandinavian family change as a bellwether for family change throughout the West. Scholars agree that the Scandinavian pattern of births to unmarried, cohabiting parents is sweeping across Europe. Northern and middle European countries are most affected by the trend, while the southern European countries are least affected. Scholarly debate among comparative students of marriage now centers on the question of whether, and how quickly, the Scandinavian family pattern is likely to spread through Europe and North America.
There is good reason to believe that same-sex marriage, and marriage-like same-sex registered partnerships, are both an effect and a reinforcing cause of this Scandinavian trend toward unmarried parenthood. The increasing cultural separation between the ideas of marriage and parenthood makes same-sex marriage more conceivable. Once marriage is separated from the idea of parenthood, there seems little reason to deny marriage, or marriage-like partnerships, to same-sex couples. By the same token, once marriage (or a status close to marriage) has been redefined to include same-sex couples, the symbolic separation between marriage and parenthood is confirmed, locked-in, and reinforced.
Same-sex partnerships in Scandinavia have furthered the cultural separation of marriage and parenthood in at least two ways. First, the debate over same-sex partnerships has split the Norwegian church. The church is the strongest cultural check on out-of-wedlock birth in Norway, since traditional clergy preach against unmarried parenthood. Yet differences within Norway's Lutheran church on the same-sex marriage issue have weakened the position of traditionalist clergy, and strengthened the position of socially liberal clergy who effectively accept both same-sex partnerships and the practice of unmarried parenthood.
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This pattern has been operative since the establishment of same-sex registered partnerships early in the nineties. The phenomenon has lately been most evident in the socially liberal Norwegian county of Nordland, where many churches now fly rainbow flags. Those flags welcome clergy in same-sex registered partnerships, and signal that clergy who preach against homosexual behavior are banned.
When scholars draw conclusions about the causal effects on marriage of various beliefs and practices, they do so by combining statistical correlations with a cultural analysis. For example, we know that out-of-wedlock birthrates are unusually low in traditionally religious districts of Norway, where clergy actively preach against the practice of unmarried parenthood. Scholars reasonably conclude that the low out-of-wedlock birthrates in such districts are causally related to the preaching of these traditionalist clergy.
The judgement that same-sex marriage has contributed to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates in Norway is of exactly the same order as the aforementioned scholarly conclusion. If traditionalist preachers in socially conservative districts of Norway help to keep out-of-wedlock birthrates low, it follows that a ban on conservative preachers in socially liberal districts of Norway removes a critical barrier to an increase in those rates. Since the division within the Norwegian church caused by the debate over same-sex unions has led to a banning of traditionalist clergy (the same clergy who preach against unmarried parenthood), it follows that the controversy over same-sex partnerships has helped to raise the out-of-wedlock birthrate.
In concluding that same-sex registered partnerships have contributed to higher out-of-wedlock birthrates, we do not simply rely on the experience of the Norwegian church. The cultural meaning of marriage-like same-sex partnerships in Scandinavia tends to heighten the separation of marriage and parenthood in secular, as well as religious, contexts. As the influence of the clergy has declined in Scandinavia, secular social scientists have taken on a role as cultural arbiters. These secular social scientists have touted same-sex registered partnerships as proof that traditional marriage is outdated. Instead of arguing that de facto marriage by same-sex couples ought to encourage marriage among heterosexual parents, secular opinion leaders have drawn a different lesson. Those opinion leaders have pointed to same-sex partnerships to argue that marriage itself is outdated, and that single motherhood and unmarried parental cohabitation are just as acceptable as parenthood within marriage.
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This socially radical cultural reading of same-sex partnerships was revealed in 2002, when Sweden added the right of adoption to same-sex registered partnerships. During that debate, advocates of the reform associated same-sex adoption with single parenthood. Same-sex adoption was not used to heighten the cultural connection between marriage and parenthood. On the contrary, same-sex adoption was taken to prove that the traditional family was outdated, and that novel social formslike single parenthood, were now fully acceptable.
The socially liberal districts where Norway's secular intellectuals ''preach'' this view of the family experience significantly higher out of wedlock birthrates than more traditional and religious districts. Therefore, in the same way that scholars conclude that traditionalist clergy keep out-of-wedlock birthrates low in religious districts, we can conclude that the advocacy of culturally radical public intellectuals has helped to spread the practice of unmarried parenthood in socially liberal districts. These secular intellectuals have consistently pointed to same-sex registered partnerships as evidence that marriage is outdated, and unmarried parenthood as acceptable as any other family form. In this way, we can isolate the causal effect of same-sex registered partnerships as one among several causes contributing to the decline of marriage in Scandinavia.
In the socially liberal Norwegian county of Nordland, where rainbow flags fly on churches as signs that same-sex registered partnerships are fully accepted, the out-of-wedlock birthrate in 2002 was 67.29 percentmarkedly higher than the rate for Norway as a whole. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for first born children in Nordland county in 2002 was 82.27 percent. More significantly, the out-of-wedlock birthrate for second-and-above born children in Nordland county in 2002 was 58.61 percent. In the early nineties, when the debate on same-sex partnerships began, most Nordlanders already bore their first child out-of-wedlock. Yet in 1990, 60.26 percent of Nordland's parents still married before the birth of the second-or-above born child. By 2002, the situation had reversed. Just under sixty percent of Nordlanders now bear even second-and-above born children out-of-wedlock.
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That nearly twenty point shift in the out-of-wedlock birthrate for second-and-above born children since 1990 signals that marriage itself is now a rarity in Nordland county. What began as a practice of experimenting with the relationship through the birth of the first child has now turned into a general repudiation of marriage itself.
The figures are similar in the socially liberal county of Nord-Troendelag, which borders on the university town of Trondheim, home to some of the prominent public intellectuals who point to same-sex registered partnerships as proof that marriage itself is outdated and unnecessary. In 2002, 83.27 percent of first born children in Nord-Troendelag were born out-of-wedlock. More significantly, in 2002, 57.74 percent of second-and-above born children were born out-of-wedlock. That compares to 38.12 percent of second-and-above born children born out of wedlock in 1990, just before the debate over marriage-like same-sex partnerships began.
With a clear majority of even second-and-above born children now born out-of-wedlock, it is evident that marriage has nearly disappeared in some socially liberal counties of Norway. In the parts of Norway where de facto gay marriage finds its highest degree of acceptance, marriage itself has virtually ceased to exist. This fact ought to give pause.
The situation in the Netherlands confirms and strengthens the argument for a causal contribution of same-sex marriage to the decline of marriage. This is so for two reasons. In the Netherlands, a system of marriage-like registered partnerships open to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples was authorized by parliament in 1996, and took effect in 1998. More recently, in 2000, parliament adopted full and formal same-sex marriage, which took effect in 2001. The experience of the Netherlands shows that not only marriage-like registered partnerships open to same-sex couples, but also full and formal same-sex marriage, contribute to the decline of marriage. The particular cultural situation of marriage in the Netherlands, moreover, makes it easier to isolate the causal effect of same-sex marriage from other contributors to marital decline. In effect, the Netherlands shows how same-sex marriage draws down the ''cultural capital'' on which the system of married parenthood depends.
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Marriage in the Netherlands has long been liberalized in a legal sense. Nearly a decade before the adoption of registered partnerships in the nineties, the Netherlands began to legally equalize marriage and cohabitation. The practice of premarital cohabitation is very widespread in the Netherlands, and in a European context, high rates of premarital cohabitation are generally associated with high out-of-wedlock birthrates.
Yet scholars note that the practice of cohabiting parenthood in the Netherlands has been surprisingly rare, despite the early legal equalization of marriage and cohabitation, and despite the frequency of premarital cohabitation. Most scholars attribute the unexpectedly low out-of-wedlock birthrates in the Netherlands to the strength of conservative cultural tradition in the Netherlands.
Yet the striking fact of the matter is that, ever since Dutch parliamentary proposals for formal gay marriage and/or registered partnerships were first introduced and debated in 1996, and continuing through and beyond the authorization of full and formal same-sex marriage in 2000, the out-of-wedlock birthrate in the Netherlands has been increasing at double its previous speed. The movement for same-sex marriage in the Netherlands began in earnest in 1989. After several attempts to legalize gay marriage through the courts failed in 1990, a campaign of cultural-political activism was launched. This campaign involved the establishment of symbolic marriage registriesand ceremoniesin sympathetic municipalities (although these marriages had no legal force), and favorable treatment of same-sex marriage in the largely sympathetic mainstream news and entertainment media.
The movement for same-sex marriage picked up steam after the election of a socially liberal government in 1994a government that for the first time included no representatives of the socially conservative Christian Democratic party. At that point, the movement for same-sex marriage went into high gear, with a series of parliamentary debates and public campaigns running from 1996 through the adoption of full gay marriage in 2000.
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In 1996, just as the campaign for gay marriage went into high gear, the unusually low Dutch out-of-wedlock birthrate began to rise at a rate of two percent per year, in contrast to it's earlier average rise of only one percent per year. Dutch demographers are at a loss to explain this doubling of the rate of increase by reference to legal changes, or changes in welfare policy.
Some might argue that the ''marriage lite'' of registered partnershipsopen to both same-sex and opposite-sex couplescan account for the rapid increase in the out-of-wedlock birthrate in the mid-nineties. After all, since the Netherlands allows even heterosexual couples to enter registered partnerships, any children they might have would by definition be born outside of marriage. So it could be argued that had the Netherlands established full and formal gay marriage in the mid-nineties, instead of a system of registered partnerships open to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, out-of-wedlock birthrates would have remained low.
It is important to note, however, that the open aim of the gay marriage movement in the Netherlands was always full and formal marriage. Even at the moment when registered partnerships were authorized in 1996, a majority in the Dutch parliament also called for full and formal gay marriage. The Dutch cabinet demurred at that time, for political reasons. Yet the ultimate goal of full and formal same-sex marriage was affirmed by majority sentiment in parliamentand by the gay marriage movement itselfall along. Moreover, even during the years of registered partnership, the Dutch media continued to treat same-sex unions as marriages. So the symbolic core of the gay marriage movement in the Netherlands was the quest for full and formal marriagenot ''marriage lite.''
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Moreover, Dutch demographers discount the ''marriage lite'' effect on the out-of-wedlock birthrate. The number of heterosexual couples entering into registered partnerships in the nineties was simply too small to account for the two-fold increase in growth of the out of wedlock birthrate during this period. By the same token, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has continued to climb at a very fast two percent per year since the vote for full and formal gay marriage in 2000. [See the graph attached to this testimony for an illustration of this process.] It must be emphasized that it is relatively rare for a country to sustain a two percent per year increase in the out-of-wedlock birthrate for seven consecutive years. As a rule, this only happens when a country is on the way to a Scandinavian style system of non-marital parental cohabitation.
In light of all this, it is reasonable to conclude that the traditionalist ''cultural capital'' that scholars agree kept the Dutch out-of-wedlock birthrate artificially low (despite the legal equalization of marriage and cohabitation in the eighties) has been displaced and depleted by the long public campaign for same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage has increased the cultural separation of marriage from parenthood in the Netherlands, just as it has in Scandinavia.
This history enables us to isolate the causal mechanism in question. Since legal and structural factors affecting marriage had failed to produce high out-of-wedlock birthrates in the Netherlands through the mid-nineties, the scholarly consensus was that cultural factorsand only cultural factorswere keeping the out-of-wedlock birthrates low. It took a new cultural outlook on the connection between marriage and parenthood to eliminate the traditional cultural barriers to unmarried parental cohabitation. Same-sex marriage, along with marriage-like registered partnerships open to same-sex couples, provided that outlook. Now, with the 2003 Dutch out-of-wedlock birthrate at 31 percent, and the practice of cohabiting parenthood on the rise, the Netherlands appears to be well along the Scandinavian path.
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The experience of Scandinavia and the Netherlands make it clear that same-sex marriage could widen the separation between marriage and parenthood here in the United States. America is already the world leader in divorce. Our high divorce rates have significantly weakened the institution of marriage in this country. For all that, however, Americans differ from Europeans in that they commonly assume that couples ought to marry prior to having children. Although the association of marriage and parenthood is relatively weak among the urban poor, it is still remarkably strong in the rest of American society. Scandinavia, in contrast, has no large concentrations of urban poor. The practice of unmarried parenthood is widespread in Scandinavia's middle and upper-middle classes, because the cultural association between marriage and parenthood has been lost in much of Europe.
Yet, the first signs of European-style parental cohabitation are now evident in America. And the prestigious American Law Institute recently proposed a series of legal reforms that would tend to equalize marriage and cohabitation (''The Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution,'' 2000). As of yet, these harbingers of the Scandinavian family pattern have had a limited effect on the United States. The danger is that same-sex marriage could introduce the sharp cultural separation of marriage and parenthood in America that is now familiar in Scandinavia. That, in turn, could draw out the budding American trends toward unmarried but cohabiting parenthood, and the associated legal equalization of marriage and cohabitation.
Same-sex marriage has every prospect of being even more influential in America than it has already been in Europe. That's because, in Scandinavia, same-sex partnerships came at the tail end of a process of marital decline that centered around unmarried parental cohabitation. In the United States, same-sex marriage would be the leading edge, rather than the tail end, of the Scandinavian cultural pattern. And a combination of the Scandinavian cultural pattern with America's already high divorce rate would likely mean a radical weakening of marriageperhaps even the end of marriage itself. After all, we are witnessing no less than the end of marriage itself in Scandinavia.
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America's concentrations of urban poor compound the potential dangers of importing a Scandinavian-style separation between marriage and parenthood. Scandinavia has no substantial concentrations of urban poverty. America does. A weakening of the ethos of marriage in the middle and upper-middle classes would likely undo the progress made since welfare reform in stemming the tide of single parenthood among the urban poor. This is foreshadowed in Great Britain, where the Scandinavian pattern of unmarried but cohabiting parenthood is rapidly spreading. Britain, like the United States, does have substantial pockets of urban poverty. Since the spread of the Scandinavian family pattern to Britain's middle classes, the rate of births to single teenaged parents among Britain's urban poor has risen significantly.
In Scandinavia, a massive welfare state largely substitutes for the family. Should the Scandinavian cultural pattern take root in the United States, with its accompanying effects on the urban poor, we shall be forced to choose between significant social disruption and a substantial increase in our own welfare state. The fate of marriage therefore impacts the broadest questions of governance.
Note also that scholars of marriage widely discuss the likelihood that the Scandinavian family pattern will spread throughout the Westincluding the United States. And in effect, the spread of the movement for same-sex marriage from Scandinavia to Europe and North America is further evidence that what happens in Scandinavia can and does have every prospect of spreading to the United States. Unless we take steps to block same-sex marriage and prevent the legal equalization of marriage and cohabitation, it is entirely likely that America will experience marital decline of the type now familiar in Scandinaviaand rapidly on the rise in the Netherlands.
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In effect, the adoption of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands has prefigured this entire process. The socially conservative Netherlands equalized marriage and cohabitation, then adopted same-sex marriage. The effects of liberalized cohabitation were minimal, at first. After same-sex marriage was added to the mix, however, the traditional connection between marriage and parenthood eroded. In a classic case of ''depleted cultural capital,'' the Netherlands' relative cultural conservatism in the matter of marriage was drawn down. That country is now firmly on the path to the Scandinavian system of unmarried, cohabiting parenthood. And in the Netherlands, same-sex marriage was on the leading edge, rather than the tail end, of marital decline.
In short, since the adoption of same-sex registered partnershipsand of full, formal same-sex marriagemarriage has declined substantially in both Scandinavia and the Netherlands. In the districts of Scandinavia most accepting of same-sex marriage, marriage itself has almost entirely disappeared. I have shown that same-sex marriage contributed significantly to this pattern of marital decline. The social harm in all this is the damage to children. Children will suffer greatly if the Scandinavian pattern takes hold, because the concomitant of the Scandinavian pattern is a rising tide of family dissolution. And a further decline of marriage and family is sure to bring calls for a major expansion of the welfare state. For all these reasons, steps to block same-sex marriage should be taken.
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN CONYERS, JR.
So we're finally in the middle of our five-part series of hearings on whether we should pass an amendment enshrining discrimination into the Constitution. This is not only unlikely but unneeded and inflammatory.
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No one seriously believes this amendment could garner the two-thirds vote it needs to pass the House. That begs the question of why we are even discussing it. To most Americans, the answer is clear: the Republican leadership wants to score political points with its right-wing base in an election year.
Motives aside, the amendment is unneeded. Each state has the right to establish its own policy on this issue. President Bush tried to galvanize conservatives by saying there is a grave risk ''that every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston . . . choose to call a marriage.'' This statement is totally false, and the President knows that.
Any first-year law student can tell you that the full faith and credit clause does not force one state to recognize a marriage from another state that conflicts with the first state's public policy. In fact, perhaps we should have a first-year law student testify at these hearings.
In any event, the President misunderstands Massachusetts law. The law voids any marriage performed in Massachusetts if the couple is not eligible to be married in their home state. Even advisers to Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) have said that out-of-state residents cannot use a Massachusetts same sex marriage to circumvent their home state laws. It is clear that a constitutional amendment is not required to accomplish the discriminatory goals of the right-wing.
The President is also wrong to argue that Congress has been forced into this position by ''activist judges.'' Anyone who has followed this knows that those in San Francisco, Portland, and New York who have pressed this issue are elected officials, not judges. As a matter of fact, it is judges in California who have stopped the licenses from being issued.
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It goes without saying that this amendment is beyond inflammatory. This Subcommittee has done nothing about preventing hate crimes, preserving the right to vote in a presidential election year, or ensuring women have the right to health care. Instead, we are wasting five days on trying to take a basic right away from committed couples.
In closing, this amendment would, for the first time in our nation's history, write intolerance into our Constitution. We have debated civil rights issues before, but those issues were about ending slavery, liberating women, safeguarding freedom of religion, and protecting the disabled. As you can see, those were all efforts to eradicate discrimination. Leave it to the Bush Administration to buck the trend and actually try to legalize discrimination.
REP. MARILYN MUSGRAVE'S ANSWERS TO REP. HOSTETTLER QUESTIONS/ANSWERS
JUNE 22, 2004
1. It seems to me that there is very little substantive difference between civil unions, domestic partnerships, and marriage. If there is no real difference, why would we leave states free to enact civil unions, which would be in fact marriage by another name?
I believe preserving the institution of marriage is a worthy goal, both in substance and in symbolism. As Judge Bork noted in his testimony before the committee, symbols are vitally important to a culture. Indeed, symbols are a culture's life's blood, and the importance of the symbolism of the marriage institution cannot be overstated.
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If activist courts continue to undermine marriage, the devastating impact on the country's families will be incalculable. The centuries-old tradition of marriage as a sacred mystical union between one man and one woman will be sullied at best and perhaps damaged irreparably. Conversely, if the amendment were to become part of the Constitution, this sacred institution would be preserved in the highest law of the land, and this nation would have expressed in its fundamental law that marriage between a man and a woman is the true form and that civil unions are derivative and subsidiary. Thus, preserving the sanctity of the institution of marriage could be this generation's legacy to posterity.
Yes, it is true that civil unions would still be possible. But importantly the amendment removes activists judges from the equation, and while I do not trust activist courts, I do trust our democratically elected legislatures.
In summary, part of the amendment is substantive in that seeks to prevent courts from imposing homosexual marriage and/or civil unions on the nation. Another part of the amendment seeks to make a statement about the institution of marriage and its symbolism. Symbols are vitally important to a culture. Thus, properly understood, the amendment's effort to preserve the symbol of marriage is not a weakness of the proposed amendment, but one of it main strengths.
2. If Senator Allard's amendment language is adoptedstriking the prohibition on a judge construing a state or federal law (leaving only a prohibition on a judge construing a federal or state constitution)do we leave open the door for a judge to give the incidents of marriage to same-sex couples when they construe simple state law, such as a state tax statute? It seems like this new language leaves open the possibility of much judicial mischief.
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The importance of the second sentence is that it removes the courts' constitutional ''trump card'' and gives democratically-elected legislatures complete latitude when dealing with this matter. It is true that a court could still erroneously construe a state law such as a state tax statute. Importantly, however, any such mischief would be subject to a legislative check. In other words, if a court were to erroneously construe a state law as requiring a benefit to be conferred on a same-sex couple, the legislature would be free to overturn the court's ruling by simply amending the statute. Under present law the activist courts purport to be construing constitutional provisions, and this leaves no avenue for any legislative remedy to their mischief.
REP. MARILYN MUSGRAVE'S ANSWERS TO REP. NADLER'S QUESTIONS/ANSWERS
JUNE 22, 2004
1. With your prepared testimony for last Thursday's hearing, you included a ''Memorandum Regarding Meaning of the Musgrave Federal Marriage Amendment,'' (''Memo'') which sets forth your position on the meaning of the FMA's terms. In discussing the meaning of the FMA's ''legal incidence thereof'' language, you include a non-exhaustive list of 17 ''incidents of marriage.'' Included among these are the right to hospital visitation, the right to adopt children, the right to inherit under probate law, as well as the rights and responsibilities under terminal care documents or medical powers of attorney. [p. 45] Your Memo then goes on to state that your intention is to prevent courts from construing laws to require these rights for gay and lesbian couples, not to prevent state legislatures from conferring such rights if they so wish. Your argument on this point presents the following questions:
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Your Memo presumes that gay and lesbian couples would enjoy none of these ''incidents of marriage,'' even those based on private contracts, unless a legislature affirmatively and specifically grants these rights to gay and lesbian couples. Does this mean that the FMA would strip gay couples of these rights as they presently existincluding hospital visitation rights and the right to adopt childrenpending further action by their respective state legislatures?
Answer: The FMA makes no changes whatsoever in contract law. Whatever rights a person presently has under state contract law, he would continue to have if the FMA is ratified.
The FMA states that ''no state or federal law shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents be conferred upon unmarried couples . . .'' Your Memo argues that the phrase ''to require'' following the word ''construed'' is meant to act as a restraint on courts, but would not prevent state legislatures from conferring any or all of your proffered ''incidents of marriage'' upon gay and lesbian couples. [p. 3] However, ''construe'' means to ''discover and apply the meaning and intention of with reference to a particular state of affairs.'' WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY 489 (3d ed. 1993). Further, ''require'' means to ''direct, order, demand, instruct, command . . . [or] compel.'' BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 1304 (6th ed. 1990). Considering these terms together, the FMA would expressly prevent any court from granting effect to any state law granting any ''incidence of marriage'' rights to same sex couples. For instance, if a person was denied hospital visitation to their partner in violation of a state law, and went to court to enforce that right, the only way the court could sustain the visitation right would be to ''apply the meaning'' of the statute at issue with reference to the facts of that case, or ''with reference to a particular state of affairs,'' then direct or order, in other words ''require,'' the hospital to comply with the law. In short, the court would be forced to construe a state law to require that a visitation right, which you term an incident of marriage, be granted. Such on outcome is expressly prohibited by the FMA. Would not the FMA, by its express terms, prevent courts from granting effect to any law conferring any of the ''incidents of marriage'' included in your Memo, as that would require construing the law in question to confer the legal incidents of marriage upon unmarried couples?
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Answer. As explained in the memo, the purpose of the language you quote is to prevent courts from construing laws of general applicability not otherwise having to do with conferring the legal incidents of marriage on unmarried persons from being interpreted to require such incidents of marriage to be conferred on unmarried persons.
As I stated in my testimony, however, to the extent this language has caused confusion or has been misconstrued, I support the changes Senator Allard has made to clarify this matter.
Continuing with this point, your Memo also lists the right to group insurance for public and private employees as an incident of marriage. [p. 5] As you know, many private employers grant the partners of gay and lesbian employees the right to participate in the employers' group health plan, and the right to participate in such group insurance plans is often included in private employment contracts. Would not the FMA nullify this aspect of any private employment contract by making the contract right to group health insurance unenforceable in court as a legal incident of marriage?
Answer. No, as explained above, it would not.
2. You testified that you introduced the FMA ''to stop judicial activism and preserve the right of self-determination for the American people'' with respect to defining marriage. [Statement, p. 2.] Yet, you also acknowledge that the first sentence of the FMA ensures that ''no governmental entity (whether in the legislative, executive or judicial branch) . . . shall have power to alter the definition of marriage.'' [Statement, p. 2.] If you purport to be taking aim at ''judicial activism,'' why does your amendment tie the hands of other branches of government, as well? Why are you denying legislatures the right to define marriage as their constituents demand?
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Answer. As Judge Bork has written, the democratic integrity of law depends entirely upon the degree to which its processes are legitimate. In a democratic society the people make the law and courts interpret it. This is the very essence of the democratic rule of law. It is illegitimate, therefore, for a willful court to use its power to interpret the constitution to impose its policy choices on the American people. It is not illegitimate, however, for a people to set forth in their fundamental law an understanding of marriage that until very recently was taken for granted by all people in all places at all times. This is especially true now that that understanding has come under attack by activist courts bent on a reshaping the institution of marriage in a way that is wholly unsupported by the text, history or structure of the constitution or by the history and traditions of this nation.
3. You have stated that the second sentence only prevents courts from construing laws of ''general applicability'' to require that the incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried persons. [Memo, p. 3.] However, the amendment does not contain the term ''general applicability,'' and you have not defined it in your statements thus far. How do you define ''general applicability''? Who is to determine whether or not a statute is one of ''general applicability'' if not the courts?
Answer. As with any constitutional provision, the courts will construe the meaning of the FMA if it is ratified. As explained in the memo, the purpose of the language you quote is to prevent courts from construing laws of general applicability not otherwise having to do with conferring the legal incidents of marriage on unmarried persons from being interpreted to require such incidents of marriage to be conferred on unmarried persons. As I stated in my testimony, however, to the extent this language has caused confusion or has been misconstrued, I support the changes Senator Allard has made to clarify this matter.
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4. You concede that ''it is impossible to set forth a definitive list'' identifying the legal incidents of marriage. [Memo, p. 4.] How are the courts supposed to identify the limits on their authority if this term is undefined? Who is to construe this language if not the courts?
Answer: Most terms in the constitution are undefined. Therefore, as with any provision of the constitution, the courts will interpret the terms used in the FMA using various sources, including, but not limited to, the legislative history of the amendment.
JUDGE ROBERT BORK'S RESPONSES TO REP. JOHN HOSTETTLER'S QUESTIONS
JUNE 5, 2004
Marriage and civil unions are treated alike by the proposed amendment in that both are placed beyond the reach of activist courts. Overreaching courts are the main, almost the only, danger in this area.
Marriage and civil unions are treated differently in that legislatures could not change the fundamental nature of marriage but could permit civil unions. There are several reasons for making that distinction. The pragmatic reason is that the American people make a distinction; they are against homosexual marriage but inclined to support civil unions or at least some aspects, such as the right to hospital visits. We have been told by leading members of Congress that attempting to ban civil unions would greatly harm the prospects of getting the marriage amendment out of Congress and then ratified by the states.
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There is an historical parallel to our present situation. After the Supreme Court's outrageous rewriting of the Constitution in Roe v. Wade, there was a chance for a constitutional amendment that would have overturned Roe and returned the issue of abortion to state legislatures. Anti-abortion absolutists, however, insisted on an amendment that would ban all abortions in all states. The result was that they got nothing, and the situation today is far worse than would have been the case with the more moderate version of the amendment.
Second, marriage carries an emotional symbolism that civil unions do not. That is why homosexual activists will not settle for civil unions. They want marriage, not so much for the benefits it may confer, but as a public approval of homosexuality as in no way different from heterosexuality. They want moral approbation that only the symbolism of marriage can confer. It is important for the remaining vitality of traditional marriage and for the benefit of impressionable and uncertain young people that complete moral approbation not be given.
It will be much easier to oppose in political forums civil unions that are the equivalent of marriage if marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman.
There may be others, but these seem to me the primary reasons for not attempting to prohibit publicly supported forms of civil unions by constitutional amendment.
Robert H. Bork
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(Footnote 1 return)
See May 17, 2004 letter from ACLJ to Chairman Chabot in the Appendix. The referenced petition was submitted to the Constitution Subcommittee and can be found in the official heaing docket.
(Footnote 2 return)
Baehr v. Lewin, 74 Haw. 530; 852 P.2d 44 (1993).
(Footnote 3 return)
Marriage Equality for Same-Sex CouplesA History, Oct. 1, 2002, available at http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1067.
(Footnote 4 return)
Baehr, 74 Haw. at 561; 852 P.2d at 59.
(Footnote 5 return)
Id. at 583, 852 P.2d at 68.
(Footnote 6 return)
Marriage Equality for Same-Sex CouplesA History, supra note 2.
(Footnote 7 return)
(Footnote 8 return)
B.A. Robinson, Homosexual (Same-Sex) Marriages in Alaska, Jan. 20, 2004, available at http://www.religioustolerance.org/hommar9.htm.
(Footnote 9 return)
(Footnote 10 return)
Id.; see also Brause v. Bureau of Vital Statistics, 1998 WL 88743 at 1 (Alaska Super. Ct. 1998).
(Footnote 11 return)
Robinson, supra note 7.
(Footnote 12 return)
(Footnote 13 return)
Id; see also Alaska CONST. Art. I, §25 (2004).
(Footnote 14 return)
Robinson, supra note 7.
(Footnote 15 return)
(Footnote 16 return)
Baker v. Vermont, 170 Vt. 194, 226 (1999).
(Footnote 17 return)
Id. at 226.
(Footnote 18 return)
Id. at 19798.
(Footnote 19 return)
Marriage Equality for Same-Sex CouplesA History, supra note 2.
(Footnote 20 return)
(Footnote 21 return)
News Release, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sweeping Gay Marriage Lawsuit in New Jersey Aims for U.S. History (June 26, 2002), available at http://www.lambdalegal. org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1074.
(Footnote 22 return)
News Release, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lower-Court Loss in Lawsuit Seeking Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in New Jersey 'Propels Us Forward'' To Higher Courts Where Case Will Be Decided, Lambda Legal Says, Nov. 5, 2003, available at http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1345.
(Footnote 23 return)
(Footnote 24 return)
''Marriage in New Jersey,'' available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=17267&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm
(Footnote 25 return)
Id. (not a direct quote from AG, but rather a quote from the AP's summary on the web site).
(Footnote 26 return)
''Marriage in San Francisco,'' available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=16860&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm.
(Footnote 27 return)
(Footnote 28 return)
Bob Egelko, Court Halts Gay Vows, San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 12, 2004, available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&Cont entID=17392.
(Footnote 29 return)
(Footnote 30 return)
Alliance Alert, Alliance Defense Fund, Status Report: California Same Sex Marriage Litigation (Apr. 12, 2004), available at http://www.alliancealert.org/index.php?ID=171.
(Footnote 31 return)
News Release, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lambda Legal and Northwest Women's Law Center File Lawsuit Seeking Full Marriage for Lesbian and Gay Couples in Washington State (March 8, 2004), available at http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1464.
(Footnote 32 return)
(Footnote 33 return)
Gene Johnson, Gay Couples Sue for Right to Marry, The Associated Press, March 9, 2004, available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=17205&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ ContentDisplay.cfm; see also Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) §26.04.010 (2004).
(Footnote 34 return)
Marriage in Oregon, available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=17512&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm.
(Footnote 35 return)
Theresa Hogue, In Benton, the Wedding's Off: County to Halt All Marriage Licenses, Corvallis Gazette-Times, March 23, 2004, available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&Template=/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=17659.
(Footnote 36 return)
Marriage in Oregon, supra note 33.
(Footnote 37 return)
Letter from Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers to Oregon Governor Ted Kolongoski, (March 12, 2004), available at http://www.doj.state.or.us/pdfs/AGsamesexopinion.pdf.
(Footnote 38 return)
Lyle Denniston, Oregon Judge Upholds Rights for Gay Couples, Boston Globe, April 21, 2004.
(Footnote 39 return)
Marriage in New York, available at http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=17083&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm.
(Footnote 40 return)
(Footnote 41 return)
Id. (direct quote from the article, not the person).
(Footnote 42 return)
Id. (direct quote from the article, not the person).
(Footnote 43 return)
Press Release, Office of New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, Attorney General Issues Opinion on Same Sex Marriage (Mar. 3, 2004), available at http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2004/mar/mar03a04.html.
(Footnote 44 return)
(Footnote 45 return)
News Release, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Lambda Legal Files Historic Lawsuit Seeking Full Marriage for Gay Couples in New York (Mar. 5, 2004), available at http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=1462.
(Footnote 46 return)
Judge Quits N.M. Gay Marriage Case, The Associated Press, Mar. 30, 2004, available at http://www. hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=17834&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm.
(Footnote 47 return)
(Footnote 48 return)
Jessica Walker, Agency Looks to Block Inmates Marriage, The Montgomery Advertiser, Apr. 15, 2004.
(Footnote 49 return)
Alliance Alert, Alliance Defense Fund, Same Sex Marriage Pending and Recent Litigation Summary (Apr. 13, 2004), available at http://www.alliancealert.org/aa2004/20040413.htm.
(Footnote 50 return)
Judge: Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit Can Proceed, CNN Law Center, Nov. 11, 2003, available at http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/11/11/samesex.lawsuit.ap.
(Footnote 51 return)
(Footnote 52 return)
Goodridge v. Dep't of Pub. Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003).
(Footnote 53 return)
Id. at 312.
(Footnote 54 return)
Id. (emphasis added)
(Footnote 55 return)
Massachusetts Approves Gay Marriage Ban, Legalizes Civil Unions, CNN Law Center, Mar. 30, 2004, available at http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/03/29/gay.marriage.ap/.
(Footnote 56 return)
Thirty-eight States, relying on DOMA, have enacted statutory or constitutional provisions limiting marriage to the union of opposite sex couples. See http://www.marriagewatch.org/states/doma.htm. In doing so, this super majority of the States have expressly announced the strong public policy preference for limiting marriage to opposite sex unions.
(Footnote 57 return)
James Madison explained these alternatives as reflecting the opportunity for either the States or the general government to seek amendment when the experiences of the one or the other suggested the propriety of doing so. See THE FEDERALIST NO. 43 at 278 (Rossiter ed.) (amendment process ''equally enables the general and the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other''). Thus, where need was apparent to the one, but not the other, amendment was still, at least, a possibility.
(Footnote 58 return)
Congress has, with one exception, always preferred to subject the question of ratification to approval by the Legislatures of the several States. The twenty-first amendment was the exception to the practice, and resulted in the rapid ratification of the twenty-first amendment (repealing, in turn, the eighteenth amendment). See http:www.usconstitution.net/constamnotes.html#Am21.
(Footnote 59 return)
Over time, the traditional attribution of this story to Abraham Lincoln has been questioned. Nonetheless, the story serves well to illustrate fallacious logic. Moreover, that Lincoln cannot be shown by original sources to have used this story has not stopped the Judicial Branch from employing the story for its economic effectiveness. See, e.g., Bellas v. CBS, Inc. 221 F.3d 517, 540 (3rd Cir. 2000) (applying Lincoln's aphorism); First Liberty Investment Group v. Nicholsberg, 145 F.3d 647, 652 n.3 (3rd Cir. 1998) (same); Eirhart v. Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., 996 F.2d 837, 841 n.5 (7th Cir. 1993) (same).
(Footnote 60 return)
See Jaffee v. Redmond, 518 U.S. 1, 11 (1996) (''the important public interest in marital harmony'') (discussing Trammel v. United States, 445 U.S. 40 (1980) (affirming federal spousal privilege, limiting ability to assert privilege to the testifying spouse).
(Footnote 61 return)
See KSA §60423(b) (testimonial privilege in criminal cases); KSA §60248 (more limited spousal privilege in civil litigation).
(Footnote 62 return)
See, e.g., Freedman v. McCandless, 539 Pa. 584, 654 A.2d 529 (1995); but see 701 A.2d 176 (Pa. 1996) (noting limitations on the presumption of paternity resulting from changing patterns of family life and changes in legal status of children born out of wedlock).
(Footnote 63 return)
David Frum, The Fall of France: What Gay Marriage Does to Marriage, National Review, Nov. 8, 1999, available at http://www.findarticles.com/cfdls/m1282/2151/56899757/p2/article.jhtml?term+.
(Footnote 64 return)
(Footnote 65 return)
Maggie Gallagher, The Stakes: Why We Need Marriage, National Review, July 14, 2003, available at http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gallagher071403.asp.
(Footnote 66 return)
(Footnote 67 return)
(Footnote 68 return)
(Footnote 69 return)
See ''New Study Outlines Benefits of Marriage,'' The Washington Times, Oct. 17, 2000.
(Footnote 70 return)
(Footnote 71 return)
There are at least two recent and thorough declamations of the argument that children in the homes of same-sex couples suffer from no diminution of socially relevant factors. One of those objections takes the form of affidavit testimony in the Canadian same-sex marriage case. See http://www.marriagewatch.org/issues/parenting/htm (linking Affidavit of University of Virginia Professor Steven Lowell Nock filed in Halpern et al. v. The Attorney General of Canada, Docket No. 684/0 (Ontario Court of Justice, Quebec)) (critiquing studies addressing the question of same-sex parenting. Professor Nock found that all the reviewed studies contained fatal flows in design or execution, and that each study failed to accord with ''general accepted standards of scientific research''). The other document is a monograph available from the same webpage. That monograph, Lerner and Nagai, ''No Basis'' (2001), examines 49 studies of same-sex parenting and concludes that the studies are fatally flawed and do not provide a sound scientific basis for policy or law-making.