ACLU Criticizes Reintroduction of Federal Marriage Amendment; Says Measure Has Different Name, Same Discriminatory Goals

January 24, 2005 12:00 am

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Statement of Christopher E. Anders, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office


WASHINGTON – The new measure being proposed by Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado is not about protecting marriage – it’s about forever shutting the door to marriage protections to loving, committed, gay and lesbian families.

Senator Allard has renamed his discriminatory measure the “Marriage Protection Amendment,” but it otherwise mirrors his previous Federal Marriage Amendment. Both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly rejected that amendment last year, and we are determined to work with members from both sides of the aisle to ensure that this reincarnation of the mean-spirited measure fails again. Even President Bush has acknowledged that the measure has virtually no chance of passing.

Discrimination has no place in our society, a fact that is especially true when it comes to our most cherished of documents – the Constitution. To amend that fundamental document to include discrimination is an affront to all the values that make our nation great.

Most Americans now believe that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should be afforded legal protections in the form of civil unions or marriage – a sentiment that would be denied if the Allard amendment were to pass. The proposed amendment would deny states the right to provide these protections to all families, regardless of sexual orientation.

Amendments that would deny marriage protection to same-sex couples fail to uphold American values of equality and fairness for all. Such measures also fail to uphold the conservative values of federalism and limited government, which is why they are opposed by such prominent conservatives like former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA), the author of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act; Vice President Dick Cheney; Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA); Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and others.

Senator Allard can rename his proposal, but the harm remains the same.

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