Getting Real: The Marriage Protection Amendment

Getting Real: The Marriage Protection Amendment February 25, 2014

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.


Election time is just around the corner.

That means that you will be getting a lot of attention from the people who speak for you in government.

Don’t waste it.

When candidates hold coffees or teas; when they have their town halls or come to your door, make the effort to go and then to talk to them.  Let them know that you’ll be watching what they do if they are elected. Do not assume that because a candidate is with one party or the other that you know how they will vote and what they will do.

Both Rs and Ds will lie to you about where they stand on issues. Both Rs and Ds will defy their party and vote in ways that matter to them.

Ask these candidates, flat out, how they will vote on questions concerning the life of the unborn, violence against women and euthanasia. Then, follow that up with a new one. Ask them if they will vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment.

The Marriage Protection Amendment is a proposed Constitutional Amendment authored by Rep Tim Huelskamp, (R-Kan). Representative Huelskamp introduced the amendment last July.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who is head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ marriage defense efforts, recently sent a letter to Congressman Heulskamp, voicing his support for the proposed amendment.

I agree with the Archbishop that a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to approach this issue. If the Supreme Court had allowed DOMA to stand, the question could and would have been resolved legislatively. But they did not do that, which leaves us with this as our only way to proceed.

In his letter, Cardinal Cordileone said,

Your proposed Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is, therefore, a needed remedy. The amendment would secure in law throughout the country the basic truth known to reason that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Preserving this elemental truth is necessary for the good of society at large and for the good of children who deserve the love of both a mother and a father, neither of whom is expendable. Indeed, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any child conceived of their union. Federal court opinions that essentially redefine marriage to be merely a state recognized arrangement of intimate adult relationships ignore the truth about marriage, which deserves the highest protection in law.

I am, therefore, very pleased to support the Marriage Protection Amendment and urge your colleagues to join H. J. Res. 51 as cosponsors. Thank you for introducing in the House of Representatives this needed resolution to amend the U.S. Constitution. 

Make no mistake about it, amending the Constitution is difficult. We have before us not just the political work of passing and ratifying an amendment, but the much more important work of converting our culture.

One reason that the abortion fight has created bitterness and has taken so long is that pro life people have concentrated more on the politics than conversion.

Conversion must begin with us. By that I am referring to our own sexual behaviors, divorces and indifferent child rearing.

I’ve said repeatedly that the first and most important thing we must do — emphasis must do — is protect our own children from the corrosive effects of this post-Christian society in which we now live.

We need to protect our children, and at the same time be unafraid to go forward and speak the truth ourselves. For far too long, adults have protected themselves and thrown their children into the front lines of our trash culture. We have to reverse that, and we need to do it immediately.

Here is a copy of Cardinal Corleone’s letter:

Ltr cordileone defense of marraige act



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30 responses to “Getting Real: The Marriage Protection Amendment”

  1. If this amendment passes, will this mean that gay couples who are married today and have been for a few years aren’t married anymore?

  2. How is this not the use of a religious community’s ethics to establish a law that would apply to all persons, both those within and those outside of that community? I’m not asking this to be snarky, I’m honestly failing to understand how this amendment would be acceptable to anyone, even people who may agree with it. I’m not a constitutional lawyer/scholar, it seems to me that it infringes on the establishment clause of the first amendment.

  3. It is nothing more nor less that American citizens petitioning their government. That right belongs to all Americans, including those Americans who are members of religious communities.

    I don’t think your question is sincere, but I will answer it further. Taking a position on an issue is not political activity under the law, since it is not electioneering. As for the establishment clause of the First Amendment, read it again. In fact, read the whole amendment again. It guarantees the freedoms being exercised here.

  4. I apologize. I was in a hurry, and I may have missed the main point of your question. Were you questioning the Constitutionality of the proposed amendment??? That would be a matter of whether or not it is ratified. If it becomes a part of the Constitution, it will be Constitutional. There is nothing, ever, unconstitutional about duly elected representatives of the people proposing a change in the law.

  5. Sure, it guarantees the exercise of this act (both the based on the free exercise clause, the freedoms to petition the government for redress of grievances, to speak, and to assemble). I’m not trying to indicate that this effort cannot legally or constitutionally be pursued, but I’m wondering at whether or not it’s reasonable to feel that, if pursued, the actions would be successful. Or, I suppose, a better question might be is success measured only by ratification in this case.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I assure you that these questions are sincere. I’ve been struggling with the competition (my word) between religious freedoms and other rights, privileges, and freedoms for some time now.

  6. It isn’t quite that strong anymore. It only says that citizens of the United States can’t be constitutionally required to support or recognize those marriages, it doesn’t remove gay marriage in the local states in which it is legal.

    What it does remove is constitutional protection of such marriages- it’s a direct attack on the *courts*.

    And once again, I predict that its passage will end with violence.

  7. “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”

    I don’t read it that way Ted. It looks pretty clear to me that other definitions are not allowed. IMO it’s saying you can’t “construe” any part of the US Constitution or any state constitution as giving support to a right to ssm – not that the states are free to decide the definition of marriage. I think it leaves the door open to civil unions (which is where all this should have stopped) and keeps them separate and distinct from marriage. It would prevent federal recognition of ssm for tax and SS purposes and probably allow gov. agencies to put the brakes on equality in child issues as well.

    I do agree it is intended to keep the courts in check and is the best defense against the marriage slippery slope arguments we’ve been discussing. That’s the approach that needs to be taken in public discussion, imo

  8. I’m sure that this is not what you mean, but your question seems dangerously close to saying that religious people are not entitled to be involved in the political/law-making process. If the only “ethics” allowed in the public square are secular ethics, then we are in deep trouble indeed, because what are secular ethics? They are whatever people say they are…i.e. it’s raw power. There is no such thing as objectively right or wrong under secular ethics. They are not grounded or rooted in anything.

    For what it’s worth, there are non-religious people against same-sex marriage. Not very many, but some. Religious people are usually against it for a mix of religious and non-religious reasons. How does one sort all of that out?

    How about pedophilia or murder? It is the same situation. Religlous people are against it for a mixture of religious and non-religious reasons.

    Basically, everyone should be able to petition for whatever laws they believe will be best for our country, whether they are religious, non-religious, semi-religious, etc.

  9. I am completely opposed to such an amendment.

    However, I am completely in favor of your approach! Everyone should ask their candidates whether they support a “marriage protection amendment”. I really encourage all candidates in favor of such an amendment to make it a visible and vital part of your campaign platform. Don’t be shy … Americans want to know where you stand!

  10. Thanks. I called him archbishop all through this post. Don’t know why I gave him a promotion on the last line. 🙂

  11. David, Communities don’t vote, individuals do. And individuals can decide to tell their elected representatives to support anything they want. They can also use any bases they want for their political positions and opinions, including tea leaves, horoscopes, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert jokes, no reason at all, or their faiths. What you mentioned is a vigorously promoted position that you cannot tell anyone they can’t do something they want to do with the law and especially if you use religiously based morality for your position. So, yes, I’d rather everyone use their faith as a basis than all the other stuff I mentioned. The establishment refers to a state church, something not suggested here.

  12. I fuly understand. As you indicated, that was not my intent. My issue is more that I can’t understand why anyone would expect the government to react in favor of this specific petition. Can you shed light on that at all?

  13. If you did not know it, you may enjoy finding out that the good Archbishop’s name and surname mean “Saviour, Lionheart”.

  14. I’m glad to hear it was not your intent, but that must have involved a lot of very careless writing, because you ended up sounding exactly as though you wanted “religious communities” who disagreed with you silenced. Everyone gets their own political ideas from somewhere – you, most likely, from TV – and therefore it is totally illegitimate to deny legitimacy to a view merely because some religious group agrees with it.

  15. It’s chances of passing, or even getting out of Washington, are about the same as catching a neutrino in a baseball glove!

    I fully support anyone’s right to petition for such a thing, but putting on my old hat of public policy analyst, it’s an absurdly unrealistic crusade. We have 27 amendments. More than 11,500 have been attempted. The founders set an enormously high bar to amending the Constitution. You need two-thirds of both houses of Congress. You can’t get that kind of majority to agree that the sun is up in today’s Washington.

    The last serious attempt in 2006 fell well short, and there has been a sea change in public attitude toward gay marriage since then. No Democrats would vote for it, and a good many conservatives won’t either, on states rights grounds. After that, you still need 3/4th of the states – 38 states. Only 33 states now ban gay marriage, and the ratification process takes years, and time is not on the side of anti-SSM strategists, at all.

    To get an amendment passed, you need to have a very, very strong consensus for it AND it has to be considered an all-consuming, pressing, defining issue for the nation. Anti-SSM advocates have never, in our nation’s history, been close to meeting that bar, and they have never been farther away from it than they are today.

  16. Now. Wait a few years.

    “It’s chances of passing, or even getting out of Washington, are about the same as catching a neutrino in a baseball glove!”

  17. Can you point out exactly what I said that makes you feel thusly? I’m not seeing that interpretation (probably because it was not my intent).

    With respect to my morals, they stem primarily from my Jewish upbringing and Pagan sensibilities. I don’t own cable and, while I do watch some television online via Hulu, I’m happy to report that other than a love of justice and humor learned from Bones and Castle, I think TV has a fairly low impact on my ethical decisions.

  18. I’d say they’re about the same as you, a Catholic woman, having a career in politics in Oklahoma without the benefits Title VII and Title IX.

  19. We in the USA don’t need an Amendment to our Constitution that says marriage is only M/F. Totally unnecessary. No one is forced to marry in a religious ceremony, and should be allowed in a secular environment. Those that wish to marry with a religious component will find a faith that will do so, since there are some that do. What does that do to the states that have already passed marriage equality?

  20. Actually neither Title vii or Title ix had anything to do with my career in politics.

    If you want to credit that to federal law, you might consider the affect of the 19th Amendment:

    The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

  21. My father’s family is from a small town in Oklahoma. They’ve been there from days of the dust bowl. They own a book that gives a history of the town in which it was “ethnically cleansed” of the last Catholic family by the KKK.

    At the time of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, anti-catholic discrimination was still quite common, anti-catholicism among Southern Baptists was both unceasing and extreme, the KKK (an Evangelical organization) enforced its bigotry with terrorism. The religious protections of Title VII had a great impact on acceptance of Catholics and their advancement in society. Those protections forced public accommodations to accept Catholics and denied employers the “right” to discriminate against Catholics.

    You are using these protections, which made your career possible, as an offensive weapon against another minority. Yet you have the effrontery to play the victim.

    You are no better than the Know Nothings who persecuted Catholics.

  22. I wasn’t Catholic the first time I ran for office. I fact, I wasn’t a believing Christian. You are talking about things that happened long ago and are no longer relevant. The only religious discrimination I have ever experienced has been attacks because of my Catholic faith from people with a political/social agenda that opposes it. That has, at times, been quite vicious.

  23. See, that’s the thing about rights. You don’t get to vote on them. This is unconstitutional, and that’s that. This amendment is never going to see the light of day. Keep marriage however you wish in your own church. We don’t need your church. Marriage is a civil matter and cannot be based upon your religious beliefs, not the beliefs of any other religion.

  24. You are quite entitled to believe as you wish. What you aren’t entitled to do is pass laws that force others to live as you believe. Someone hasn’t been paying attention to the courts and what they are saying. If you have some idea of building a theocracy, forget about it.