Senate hearing on Defense of Marriage Act

September 4, 2003 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – While the American people are looking to our nation's leaders to win the war on terror and jump start the economy the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing today. The hearing focused on the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and whether amending the Constitution is necessary to support the Congressional intent of that act.

"The message from Log Cabin members and allies across the nation is clear and unequivocal; hijacking the sacred Constitution of the United States of America to score political points with the radical right is completely unnecessary and will only serve to divide the American family," said Log Cabin Republican executive director Patrick Guerriero. "The federal Defense of Marriage Act already defines marriage as something between a man and a woman."

Keith Bradkowski, whose partner, Jeff Collman, was a flight attendant on the first flight hijacked by terrorists on September 11, spoke emotionally and powerfully. "The terrorists who attacked this country killed people not because they were gay or straight – but because they were Americans. It is heart wrenching that our government does not protect its citizens equally, gay and straight, simply because they are Americans," Bradkowski testified. " Two years ago we were all united against the common threat of terrorism. Now, less than two years later I am sitting here and being told my relationship was a threat to our country," he added.

University of Minnesota law professor Dale Carpenter laid forth a succinct legal analysis of why a constitutional amendment is not necessary. Carpenter, a former leader of the Texas Log Cabin Republicans, former national board member of Log Cabin Republicans and current member of the Republican Unity Coalition advisory board, is known nationally as an articulate and thoughtful conservative advocate for equality. "The solemn task of amending the nation's fundamental law should be reserved for actual problems. Never before in the history of the country have we amended the Constitution in response to a threatened (or actual) state court decision. Never before have we adopted a constitutional amendment to limit the states' ability to control their own family law. Never before have we dictated to states what their own state laws and state constitution mean. Never before have we amended the Constitution to restrict the ability of the democratic process to expand individual rights. This is no time to start," Carpenter testified.

Log Cabin believes in civil recognition of gay and lesbian couples in law-abiding, tax-paying committed relationships. This basic recognition would encourage stable families, offer tax fairness, insure inheritance rights and guarantee hospital visitation rights for all American families – all supported by a majority of Americans. This civil recognition would in no way interfere with religious traditions or religious freedom.

On Tuesday, Log Cabin launched a nationwide lobbying campaign with members and allies writing, emailing and meeting with members of Congress and GOP party leaders urging them not to amend the Constitution. "As a grass-roots political organization with members and chapters across the nation we are uniquely prepared to reach out to Republican leaders and make a conservative and Republican case against igniting a cultural war," added Mark Mead, Log Cabin Director of Public Affairs.