Three Republican senators, flanked by several dozen community, religious and civil rights leaders, voiced their support yesterday for efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
“I believe it would be eminently appropriate and wise and good if the American people would speak on this subject,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican.
He and other senators spoke at a Capitol Hill gathering organized by the Alliance for Marriage, a coalition that is promoting a federal marriage amendment. Speakers at the event included representatives of a Hispanic evangelical network and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as well as an Orthodox rabbi and the executive director of the Islamic Society of North America.
“Let’s consider and draft a marriage amendment that protects the family and strengthens marriage … and let the American people speak,” said Mr. Sessions.
No state has adopted same-sex “marriage.” However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is expected to make a ruling on whether that state should grant marriage licenses to seven homosexual couples.
There is widespread belief that should any state legalize same-sex “marriage,” homosexual couples will use the ruling to bring marriage lawsuits into every state.
“The reason we’re talking about a constitutional amendment is because, but for a constitutional amendment, there is a great fear out there — a legitimate fear — that the Constitution will be amended without us. It’s called a court decision,” said Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican.
“So, many of us believe that maybe we should actually use the vehicle” established by the Founding Fathers to amend the Constitution “instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us,” he said.
“In other words,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, “a constitutional challenge to our marriage laws requires a constitutional fix.”
No U.S. senator has yet introduced a marriage amendment bill.
In May, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado Republican, and bipartisan co-sponsors introduced a bill to amend the Constitution to define marriage as a one-man, one-woman legal union. The House bill also has language to clarify that state legislatures, not courts, decide issues concerning public marital benefits.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, endorsed the amendment idea this summer, around the time the Supreme Court struck down a ban on sodomy.
President Bush said at the time he wasn’t sure whether a federal marriage amendment was necessary, but called for a full review of Supreme Court sodomy ruling.
“What I do support,” Mr. Bush said, “is the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman” and “we ought to codify that one way or the other.”