Bork Calls Upon Congress to Support Discriminatory Amendment; ACLU and Others Say Measure Undermines American Values

May 13, 2004 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee today held its third hearing on the Federal Marriage Amendment and supporters of the measure called on Robert Bork, whose nomination as a Supreme Court justice was roundly rejected by the Senate because of his radical viewpoints, to defend the proposed amendment that would, for the first time, write discrimination into the Constitution.

“Judge Bork’s ideology is inconsistent with American values of fairness and equality,” said Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “His philosophy falls well outside the mainstream, and fails to even be conservative – it’s just plain radical. His endorsement of the amendment should raise serious flags about the intent of its supporters. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter what else you call it.”

Before the hearing, the ACLU joined with leaders from a broad range of civil and religious rights organizations to condemn the amendment. Among them were the Japanese American Citizens League, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

At previous hearings before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, prominent conservatives have expressed reservations about the amendment. Former member of Congress Bob Barr (R-GA), the author of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which allows individual states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed by other states, said that, “Part of federalism means that states have the right to make bad decisions – even on the issue of who can get married in the state.” A leading pediatrician has also testified against the measure, saying it would harm American families

The debate over denying marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples has escalated following the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that those couples cannot be denied the same rights enjoyed by straight married couples, and the city of San Francisco and other local government’s issuance of marriage licenses to over 7,000 gay and lesbian couples. Massachusetts is scheduled to begin issuing marriage license for gay and lesbians next week.

“Gay and lesbian families are the new targets for some politicians this election year,” Anders added. “This discriminatory proposal says that e loving and committed families should be denied equality, that somehow their love and commitment is not worthy of protecting. Gay and lesbian Americans are just that – Americans, and Congress should not discriminate against them.”

For more on the ACLU’s response to the Federal Marriage Amendment, go to:

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