The Case for the Federal Marriage Amendment

By Richard Land
Jun 1, 2004

“With the wrong-headed decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court to permit homosexuals to ‘marry,’ the United States has been pushed to the verge of a constitutional and cultural crisis. Same-sex ‘married’ partners will be rushing back to their home states with a newly minted Bay State marriage license in hand. Under the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit clause, other states will in all likelihood soon be forced by federal courts to recognize these Massachusetts marriages.” (Dr. Richard Land, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission)

What is the FMA and What does it do?

The Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 30) states: “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.”

The first sentence of the FMA confirms what most Americans believe marriage means. It is exclusively a union between a man and a woman. The second sentence binds the hands of judges attempting to force a radical, elitist definition of marriage on society. In other words, judges cannot redefine marriage or hand out benefits to people who do not fit the definition of marriage. In keeping with the principles of federalism, state legislatures have the flexibility to grant various benefits to unmarried couples should the people of that state agree to do so.

Civil union or domestic partnership laws that have been adopted by the states will not be overturned or outlawed by the FMA. The power necessary to grant such benefits is left to the State legislatures. The FMA does, however, prevent courts from forcing States to grant these benefits. (“Frequently Asked Questions,” Marriage Amendment Project, http://www.formarriage.org)

Why do we need a Federal Marriage Amendment? Is amending the Constitution really necessary to protect marriage?

Throughout the late 1990’s and as recently as 2003, 38 states and the federal government passed laws designed to protect traditional marriage. These are called Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs). We need a FMA because one federal judge can overrule both the Federal DOMA and the DOMAs of 38 States by declaring they violate the Full Faith & Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Full Faith and Credit clause requires states to recognize contracts and agreements from other states, such as marriage licenses. Any federal judge can also strike down all the DOMAs by ruling that they disenfranchise homosexuals and thus violate the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection. The amendment was originally passed to give equal rights to former slaves.

What is happening is not an accident. It is the implementation of a specific plan made public by Lambda Legal and homosexual activists. Over a decade ago, they realized they could not win a same-sex marriage vote in any State; thus they started a specific plan to win a lawsuit in a liberal State Supreme Court and then force recognition across the country through the Full Faith & Credit Clause. On May 17th of this year, same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts. Using the U.S. Constitution, they can now sue to force same sex marriage on the entire country.

If they are successful, same-sex marriage will become legal without a single citizen ever voting on the issue. The Founders of this country gave “we the people” an opportunity to redirect our government by amending the Constitution. It is a tool provided to the people in order to realign a government run amok. The FMA uses the Constitutional trump card to bring the Courts back in line with the common sense view of the people—marriage is between one man and one woman. (Adapted from “Frequently Asked Questions,” Marriage Amendment Project, http://www.formarriage.org)

What’s the big deal about same-sex marriage?

Allowing same-sex “marriage” would drastically weaken the institution of marriage for everyone, including those in traditional marriages. Stanley Kurtz, in his Feb.2, 2004 Weekly Standard article entitled, “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia”, documents how 10 years of same-sex “marriage” in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have further undermined marriage in those countries. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable (Weekly Standard, Vol. 9, No. 20, Kurtz, p. 26). If our government sanctions same-sex “marriage” it will erode the institution of marriage in the United States, as well.

The most important reason to protect traditional marriage is for the well-being of children. Marriage still provides the most stable and nurturing environment for the raising and education of children. Numerous studies have indicated that family stability has more of an effect on children than the “happiness” of the parents involved. (“Frequently Asked Questions,” Marriage Amendment Project, http://www.formarriage.org)

“Social science data indicate that the intact family—defined as a man and a woman who marry, conceive, and raise their children together—best ensures the current and future welfare of children and society when compared with other common forms of households. As alternative family forms have become more prevalent since the 1960s, social science research and government surveys have indicated an accompanying rise in a number of serious social problems” (Jennifer Marshall, “Marriage: What Social Science Says and Doesn’t Say,” http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/wm503.cfm, May 17, 2004).

What can you do to support the Federal Marriage Amendment?

  • Write letters, emails, or make phone calls to the President, your Senators, and your Representative telling them you support the Federal Marriage Amendment, and ask that they do all they can to assure its passage. Visit http://www.faithandfamily.com for the names and contact information of your Senators and Representative.
  • Stay informed about the issue. Obtain the latest information from organizations that support FMA (The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Family Research Council, American Family Association, Focus on the Family, The Marriage Amendment Project, Alliance for Marriage, etc.)
  • Talk about the FMA with fellow church members and other friends who may not be informed on the issue. Tell them why you support the FMA.
  • Use other opportunities as they present themselves to share your convictions and what you know about the issue.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Marriage, Sexual Purity, Homosexuality, Citizenship, Legislation, National,

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