The Marriage Protection Act is Not a Substitute for the Federal Marriage Amendment

Jul 22, 2004

Washington, D.C. -- Today the Marriage Protection Act, introduced by Representative Hostettler of Indiana, passed the House by a vote of 233-194. The Act now goes before the Senate. The Marriage Protection Act is designed to remove from all federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the authority to determine the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s provision that explains that no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages from another jurisdiction.

Although the intent of the Act is a laudable one, it does not solve the problem this country faces with state courts finding a “right” to same-sex marriage. The Act does not prevent state courts from addressing the constitutionality of the federal DOMA, nor does it stop state or federal courts from finding a “right” to same-sex marriage under the equal protection or due process clauses. Nor does it prevent state or federal courts from finding unconstitutional the federal DOMA’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Marriage Protection Act should not be considered a substitute for the federal marriage amendment, which is the only way to protect the longstanding and common sense tradition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Mathew Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, commented, “While I commend efforts to address judicial activism of the courts, the only way to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman is by a federal marriage amendment. We will have a national policy on marriage one way or another. It will either be decided by the courts or the people. As for me, I choose for the people to decide the issue through passage of the federal marriage amendment.”

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