The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex." Thirty-nine states have passed legislation and constitutional amendments to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Last week Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) introduced the Respect Marriage Act - H.R. 3567. In reading the title one might think this bill is about protecting traditional marriage...just the opposite.
In a statement on his website, Rep. Nadler writes, "The introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act responds directly to a call from President Obama for congressional action on the issue. As the president recently confirmed: 'I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It's discriminatory, it interferes with states' rights, and it's time we overturned it."
H.R. 3567 is off to a good start having 90 co-sponsors at its introduction -- 35 Catholic.
In response to this assault on traditional marriage, Rep. Paul Broun issued a statement urging Speaker Pelosi to stop the Nadler bill from going to the floor for a vote and to instead offer the Marriage Protection Amendment he introduced in May.
"There have been consistent attempts by judges to overturn state law and thwart the will of the people. This judicial power grab, seen most recently in Iowa, will be even more detrimental if DOMA is repealed and this power grab is expanded for federal recognition," wrote Broun.
The Marriage Protection Amendment, H.R. Res 50, would amend the constitution of the United States to define "Marriage in the United States to consist only of the union of a man and a woman." It currently has 39 co-sponsors.
Attempts to garner enough support to pass the Marriage Protection Amendment in previous congresses have failed. To amend the constitution a two-thirds vote in Congress is required and approval from 38 states to be ratified.
In June, New Hampshire became the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage. Bishops in Iowa, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont and Washington D.C. continue to speak out and defend the institution of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman.
Pope John Paul II writes on the sacredness of marriage and the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage in the doctrinal note, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons."
There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved...Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.
Pope John Paul continues, addressing the responsibility of Catholic lawmakers with regard to legislation in favor of homosexual unions,
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.
The thirty-five Catholic politicians who have rejected Church teaching on safeguarding the sanctity of marriage also reject their duty to protect the life of the unborn. Two newly elected New York representatives, Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Dan Maffei (D-NY) appear to be establishing themselves as dissenting Catholics by voting against the three life issue votes since taking office in January and supporting the repeal of DOMA. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) has a 78% career pro-life voting record, the other Catholic representatives fall below 5% in their support of pro-life legislation.
The entire list of 35 can be found here at One Nation Under God.
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