WASHINGTON (BP)–Three Republican senators voiced their support Sept. 17 for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage,” while a fourth Republican senator sent his colleagues a letter urging them to consider such action.
Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Jeff Sessions of Alabama appeared at a news conference alongside a multicultural group of supporters saying that a constitutional amendment is the only way to protect the definition of traditional marriage from the courts.
Currently four states are facing lawsuits from activists seeking the legalization of homosexual “marriage.” Massachusetts’ highest court is expected to hand down a decision on its case any day.
“The reason we’re talking about a constitutional amendment is because but for a constitutional amendment there is a great fear out there — and it is a legitimate fear — that the Constitution will be amended without us,” Santorum said. “It happens all the time. It’s called court decisions.”
The news conference came the same day that Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, sent a letter to his fellow senators stating that “marriage does meet the standard for a constitutional amendment.”
While none of the men announced they were introducing the amendment in the Senate, the day was nonetheless another step forward for amendment supporters.
The event was sponsored by the Alliance for Marriage, which has drafted an amendment — dubbed the Federal Marriage Amendment — that has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has more than 75 cosponsors.
Alliance for Marriage President Matt Daniels expressed optimism at the progress.
“[T]he founders built it to be that way,” Daniels said of the Senate’s slower pace. “… The process is well under way here, and you’ll see more action in the Senate in the future, but it’ll come more slowly [and] in a more deliberative way, which is just the culture of the institution.”
A constitutional amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of House and Senate members along with three-quarters — or 38 — of the state legislatures. Amendment supporters note that 37 states already have adopted “defense of marriage acts” declaring they will not recognize same-sex “marriages” from another state. The federal government passed a similar piece of legislation in 1996, although conservatives fear that all defense of marriage acts eventually will be struck down as unconstitutional.
“In response to those who are trying to destroy the legal status of marriage and force their will on the American people, a constitutional response is necessary,” Brownback said. “In other words, a constitutional challenge to our marriage laws requires a constitutional fix.”
Answering critics of a constitutional amendment, Sessions said the American people deserve the right to tackle the question of whether an amendment is needed. Polls have shown that the majority of Americans favor such an amendment.
“If the American people do not answer it, it may be answered by courts with lifetime appointments [who are] unaccountable to the people, and who may be out of step with what the American people think and value,” he said.
Santorum acknowledged that a marriage crisis already exists in America, but he said legalizing same-sex “marriage” would only add to the problem.
“I think everyone would agree with a lot of the critics of this movement, that marriage is already in trouble in America,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. … [But] what is the answer? Should the answer be to break down marriage even more?”
Brownback noted that marriage “is the most universal social institution in the world.”
“The strength of our nation is linked to the strength of our families — an institution that must be defended vigorously,” he said.
Pointing to both history and recent research, Daniels noted that “kids do best when they have a mom and a dad, because each gender brings to the family a unique set of gifts and attributes which, when it’s absent, kids suffer.”
Those unique qualities are missing from same-sex relationships, he said. When two homosexual men raise a child, “Half the human race is absent,” Daniels said.
“And if you say that that unit of two people, two men, is the functional equivalent of a male-female family, you’re saying something profoundly negative about women — that they make no unique contribution to the care and the nurture of the next generation,” Daniels said.
The opposite is also true in female homosexual relationships, he said.
Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders also spoke in favor of the amendment. The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission also is on record as supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment.