Danforth on the marriage amendment


Hat tip: Pam’s House Blend

John DanforthFormer Republican Senator and Episcopal priest John Danforth, pictured right, spoke to the 2006 national convention of the Log Cabin Republicans this weekend. When speaking to the group, Senator Danforth made his opposition to the many marriage amendments very clear:

Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, made the comments in a speech Saturday night to the Log Cabin Republicans, which support gay rights. He said history has shown that attempts to regulate human behavior with constitutional amendments are misguided.

“Once before, the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior; that was prohibition. That was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later,” Danforth said.

Referring to the marriage amendment, he added that perhaps at some point in history there was a constitutional amendment proposed that was “sillier than this one, but I don’t know of one.”


But Danforth said he is opposed. “The basic concept of the Republican Party is to interpret the Constitution narrowly, not expansively, so that legislatures, and especially state legislatures, can work out over a period of time the social issues in our country,” he said. (Source: 365gay.com News)

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment in June. Tennessee Senator Bill Frist is the current leader in the push to have it voted upon in the Senate.

The text of the Federal Marriage Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 26 is:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission by the Congress:

“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, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”.

More information on the Federal Marriage Amendment is available on THOMAS.

There is no doubt that some members of the Senate will be voting for this amendment for popularity and re-election assurances. It definitely would not surprise me if Senator Eleizabeth Dole and Senator Richard Burr (both are North Carolina’s Senators) vote in favor of the amendment. Senators Dole and Burr know how to do at least one thing well: Toe the party line (which, I must say, is going further right than ever before).

Maybe more Republicans need to be taking Senator Danforth’s advice instead of playing to the fear and hate driven, bigoted tactics of the radical right.

And while we are on the subect of marriage: Democrats need to stop being scared, little babies. Grow up and stand up for what many of you know is right. Simply voting against the amendment isn’t enough. Stand up strong and clear in support of marriage equality or be just like the radical right’s puppets (who we call Republicans) when it comes time to write the history books.


Comments
6 Responses to “Danforth on the marriage amendment”
  1. Eric Bishop says:

    This is not an area in which the federal government should be legislating. I would go so far as to say that our government should have no designs at all on a marriage of 2 or more people. In the eyes of the government, any 2 or more people should be able to form a union, for any reason whatsoever, and procreate or adopt dependants as they see fit. At the same time, preferential treatment for joined couple or groups should depend solely on their dependants.

  2. Eric Bishop says:

    Is there now or has there ever been support for legislation that would remove the distinction of marriage from federal law completely? Does it not seem that a married man and woman with no children should be afforded no more privileges, rights or protection under the law than myself and my female roommate? Taxation considerations for dependants should be granted, but number of people, from 1 to a dozen or more, can be a caregiver for a child. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual. Single, couple, polygamist. Any combination of all these groups could raise a child. So many groups are busy asking ‘Why won’t the government recognize our right to marry’ that they are not even considering the question ‘Why is the government involved in any type of marriage’. If my roommate and I decided to raise a child together, should I not expect the same treatment from the government that a married couple with one child gets? The government should get out of marriages all together.

  3. Eric Bishop says:

    Seriously, I may be going off here, but doesn’t it seem that a marriage is almost demeaned by the very fact that it is recognized by the governement. Really, “Honey, I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Now, if you feel the same way, let’s not waste any time. We must proclaim our love to Orrin Hatch right away”. Does that sound like a good proposal to you? If all children were raised by the government (a la Ancient Sparta), I doubt that married couples would be afforded the benefits they now enjoy. Why not remove the institution of marriage from our legislative lexicon completely and only deal with the associated issues that are pertinent to the state (dependants). Insurance companies could use their stances on the issue of domestic partnerships, civil unions, marriages, etc. to compete for customers. Obiviously, the catholic church would not be open its doors to Dave and Dan, but who wants the blessing of a church that forgave Galileo for his “heresy” when I was in the 10th grade?

  4. Matt says:

    You raise some good points Eric. To your comment about the blessing from the Church: Please remember, first, that the Church in Rome is not the only ecclesiastical body in the world. Also be aware that just because you may have a distaste for the Church in Rome (or any other ecclesiastical body for that matter) does not mean that another person or couple feels the same. I, for one, look happily forward to the day where I can marry the love of my life in a beautiful, Gothic church all while receiving the full blessings of the state and the Church (in my case… the Episcopal/Anglican Church). To many people, including me, the Church is not just some human structure… it is an institution which represents the Mystery and Wonder of our God. For people like me, the blessings of the Church represent not only the blessings of society and an ecclesiastic body but also the blessings of God.

  5. Wow a supporter of polygamy?

    What disgusts me most about the Gay Marriage Amendment is the “and the legal incidents thereof” phrase which would also effectively ban some type of Civil Union. Not only does the marriage amendment prevent gays from having their marriage legally recognized BUT IT ALSO would ban BENEFITS.

    That’s just cruel. I support gay marriage because I believe separate is seldom if ever equal. But I know many people who believe that at the minimum gay couples should received rights and benefits through some sort of Civil Union. Taking away equal rights and benefits is just low and demeans an important minority group in our society.

    While a vote against the marriage amendment is NOT a vote in support of gay marriage – I must admit that Democrats one day need to grow a pair. BUT, the Democrats are not in the position currently to step-out and make revolutionary changes like supporting marriage equality. When you do not control any of the THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT – you’re very limited in what you can do.

    What’s best for all Americans is to elect Democrats in the Fall and help take back the House and Senate. AND ONLY THEN can the Democrats begin to regain their voice and power on controversial issues.

  6. Matt says:

    While a vote against the marriage amendment is NOT a vote in support of gay marriage – I must admit that Democrats one day need to grow a pair. BUT, the Democrats are not in the position currently to step-out and make revolutionary changes like supporting marriage equality. When you do not control any of the THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT – you’re very limited in what you can do.

    What’s best for all Americans is to elect Democrats in the Fall and help take back the House and Senate. AND ONLY THEN can the Democrats begin to regain their voice and power on controversial issues.

    Agreed. Sort of. But… yeah I get your point.