Skip to comments.New bill in House would ban same-sex 'marriage' nationwide
Posted on 07/25/2004 5:46:56 PM PDT by Dubya
WASHINGTON (BP)--An Oklahoma congressman introduced a bill July 22 that goes a step beyond current law by banning same-sex "marriage" nationwide -- including in Massachusetts -- and unlike a constitutional amendment, requires only a simple majority to pass.
Called the National Marriage Law, the bill, if passed, would supercede state laws, thereby voiding Massachusetts' law legalizing same-sex "marriage." In addition, the law would prevent state courts or lower federal courts from hearing challenges to it. Only the Supreme Court would be able to review it.
Sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook, R.-Okla., the bill has 37 co-sponsors.
"This is the only [bill] which will stop same-sex marriages from occurring immediately," Micah Swafford, press secretary for Istook, told Baptist Press. "It will supercede state laws."
Under the current federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act, states are allowed to legalize same-sex "marriage, although other states can refuse to recognize those "marriages." DOMA also prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex "marriage."
Istook's bill goes a step beyond DOMA by protecting the traditional definition of marriage coast to coast.
Swafford said the bill is meant to be a short-term solution until a constitutional marriage amendment can pass. While an amendment requires the support of two-thirds of both the House and Senate, as well as the support of three-fourths of the states, Swafford's bill would need only the support of a simple majority in each chamber. State legislatures would not be involved.
"[Istook] definitely supports a Federal Marriage Amendment," Swafford said. "We believe marriage is important enough ... that it deserves constitutional protection. But we need a backup plan and we need something that takes effect immediately. It's a long process to amend the Constitution and very difficult, and we need a stop-gap measure until we're able to get a constitutional amendment."
By a vote of 233-194, The House passed a bill July 22 that prevents federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing the Defense of Marriage Act. While that bill prevents federal courts from forcing same-sex "marriage" on the states, it does nothing to prevent a state court from legalizing homosexual "marriage."
"We need a national standard for marriage, Istook said in a statement. The institution of marriage is too important to our families and to our society to let a few activist judges control this issue."
Massachusetts' same-sex "marriage" law came following an order by that state's highest court.
Swafford said GOP leaders are "supportive" of Istooks bill.
"There's a lot of people out there who feel that we need to do whatever we can to protect marriage," she said.
There is precedence for national laws pre-empting state laws, Istook says.
"For example, Congress outlawed polygamy and the Supreme Court upheld Congress power to do so," a statement from his office reads. "Federal statute preempts most state laws under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and states are prohibited from enacting laws, constitutions or other provisions that are inconsistent with the federal statute. This applies but is not limited to issues such as consumer leases, credit billing, hazardous substances, motor vehicle safety, traffic safety, and over-the counter drugs."
The first sentence of the Istook bill is identical to the first sentence of the Federal Marriage Amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."
The bill is HR 4892. --30-- For more information about the national debate over same-sex "marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage
If you are for this, please call your congressman and ask him to vote for it.
I say its worth a try. You can email your congressman at:
Thanks for the email info.
Joe Barton is my congressman. He knows how I feel about it. I bet he will support it.
This would just erode states' rights even more than they are already. Eliminate the federal courts' authority to impose gay marriages nationwide, let states decide, and leave it at that.
Not me. I'm for this law.
FIRST PERSON: The marital enemy few speak of
By Samuel Smith
Jul 23, 2004
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--My mailbox is deluged weekly with fundraising letters from pro-family organizations that invoke the threat of same-sex marriage being legalized by liberal judges in various states.
As important as it is to stand for the truth, these groups are tilting at windmills as long as American Christians continue to have a less-than-biblical respect for opposite-sex marriage.
That point was brought home to me recently with astounding clarity. A young lady who my wife grew up with decided to divorce her husband of two years, with a young daughter relegated to being tossed back and forth in a joint custody arrangement. There was no abuse or adultery, but since marriage is hard when two people are young and broke, she decided they made, in her words, better friends than marriage partners.
As far as I know, the young lady has never made a profession of faith, does not attend church and does not claim to know Jesus Christ, so to no ones surprise she sees no problem with a quickie divorce when things have not worked out the way she wanted.
Its time we quit being huffy when a pagan acts like a pagan -- what else do you expect?
What disgusted me was the response of the young ladys mother and grandmother, which is symptomatic of how lightly modern American Christians esteem marriage. Both the mother and the grandmother claim to be Christians and attend church regularly. The mother said very little except to offer her daughter a place to stay. The grandmother, however, was bolder. I dont believe in divorce, she said, but sometimes it cant be avoided.
Well, in this case well never know if it could have been avoided. No one tried to counsel the young lady or her husband or share with them what God has to say about marriage.
As a quick review for the sake of convenience, God said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24, NASB). Expounding on the theme, Jesus added, So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6, NASB). Jesus went on to add that Moses gave the exception allowing divorce because of the hardness of peoples hearts. Therefore, the exception is not absolute and does not have to be followed.
Gods opinion on divorce of any kind is quite clear: Malachi 2:16 says that God hates divorce.
As Gods children, should we not also hate divorce? Of course we should, and we should seek to avoid it wherever and whenever possible. But the simple fact of the matter is that corporately we do not hate divorce, nor do American Christians avoid it any better than our non-believing fellow Americans. A 2001 survey by George Barna showed that the divorce rate among evangelical Christians is statistically identical as the divorce rate among the general population.
When marriage means that little to the people of God, why should the broader culture care what we think about the subject?
The pro-homosexual marriage crowd is the one making all the noise and actually having the courage to stick up for what they believe, as perverted as it is. They understand that the first rule of getting what you want from the government in a democracy is to make more noise than the other guy.
There is really only one way for Christians to respond to this nightmare and silence the critics of traditional marriage and proponents of homosexual marriage. Its not easy. Its not always fun. It takes everything a person can give all the time.
Its called staying married, even when times are tough and you want out more than you want another breath. Beyond that, Christians should seek to glorify not themselves but God with their marriages.
If the broader culture should see the divorce rate among Christians go through the floor, they would know that there really was something different about us. Who knows what kind of opportunities this radical strategy would bring about for evangelism and national revival?
Right now, roughly a third of Americans say they support homosexual marriage. But in another few years, homosexual marriage will be the law of the land if Christians too many of whom see no problem with easy, no-fault heterosexual divorce -- have not recovered a respect for marriage beyond sending the occasional check to a pro-family organization.
Samuel Smith is a student and a news writer at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Appeals court upholds Fla. ban on homosexual adoption
Jul 23, 2004
ATLANTA (BP)--A divided 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Florida's ban on homosexual adoption July 21, leaving intact the toughest such law in the nation.
The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, may end up before the Supreme Court. The ACLU said it is reviewing its legal options.
In a 6-6 vote, the appeals court refused to reverse its earlier decision from January when a three-member panel unanimously upheld the Florida law and said it was constitutional. The ACLU panel subsequently appealed the case to the full court. A majority vote was needed for a reversal.
Florida, Mississippi and Utah are the only states that prohibit homosexual couples from adopting. But Florida's law is considered the toughest because it prevents homosexual singles from adopting.
Pro-family leaders praised the ruling.
"Common sense and human history underscore the fact that children need a mother and a father," said Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief. "Hopefully this decision will form a basis for other states to follow Floridas example of preserving family relationships that include a mom and a dad.
The six justices who would have overturned the law relied heavily on the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas ruling that overturned anti-sodomy laws.
But the other six justices disagreed. Justice Stanley Birch -- who wrote the decision in January -- said in his July 21 opinion that even if Lawrence "did acknowledge a constitutional liberty interest in private sexual intimacy, this liberty interest does not rise to the level of a fundamental right."
Birch, though, took the unique opportunity to say he personally opposes the law, even though he believes it is constitutional.
"If I were a legislator, rather than a judge, I would vote in favor of considering otherwise eligible homosexuals for adoptive parenthood," wrote Birth, who added that he would not "allow my personal views to conflict with my judicial duty."
Judge Rosemary Barkett argued the law was unconstitutional and that homosexuals were singled out.
"There is no comparable bar in Florida's adoption statute that applies to any other group," she wrote. "Neither child molesters, drug addicts, nor domestic abusers are categorically barred by the statute from serving as adoptive parents."
Birch's earlier opinion was more strongly worded than his July opinion.
"[T]he state," he wrote in January, "has a legitimate interest in encouraging this optimal family structure by seeking to place adoptive children in homes that have both a mother and father. Florida argues that its preference for adoptive marital families is based on the premise that the marital family structure is more stable than other household arrangements and that children benefit from the presence of both a father and mother in the home.
"Given that appellants have offered no competent evidence to the contrary, we find this premise to be one of those 'unprovable assumptions' that nevertheless can provide a legitimate basis for legislative action."
It always saddens me to see conservatives who are clueless to the concept of rights reserved to the states. This law would be unConstitutional.
It would not be any more unconstitutional than the federal law forbidding polygamy.
Although I agree with the sentiment, I don't see where the US Constitution gives authority to Congress for this kind of thing.
As for polygamy, I think Utah gave it up as a condition of statehood. I could be wrong about that, but I'm pretty sure that they weren't getting in otherwise.
It is lawful. Watch and see. We Republicans are going to take back our country from the liberals and judges.
In actions reminiscent of the "same-sex marriage" debate which started in the late 1990's, the Mormon practice of polygyny was countered by the federal Morrill Act of 1862 and the Edmunds Act of 1882, both of which prohibited the practice within the U.S. The Church claimed that the federal government had no jurisdiction to regulate marriage and other internal church practices. They also claimed that the act was a violation of Mromon's First Amendment rights. In 1879, the US Supreme Court declared that the Morrill Act was constitutional, that the government had a right to enforce marital standards, and that polygyny was a barbarous practice.
The federal government canceled the citizenship rights of polygamous Mormons. They were no longer allowed to vote, run for public office, or serve on a jury. Eventually, the government disincorporated the Church and began to confiscate its assets. In 1890, the Supreme Court determined that the government could take away citizenships from all members of the church.
That would be correct and the feds gave Utah a choice, accept the federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman or join Mexico.
That is the precedent for the federal governments defining marriage while states regualte it. All the rest of the states rights bs is simply that bs.
Marriage is and has been defined by the feds as the union of one man and one woman.
See post 17.