WASHINGTON – Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement as the Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 1) was marked up today by the Senate Judiciary Committee:
"This shameful election-year ploy puts the Senate one step closer to a vote that threatens to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. Today's vote served only to divide Americans, not help us with our collective challenges. As this amendment nears a vote on the Senate floor, it's critical that fair-minded Americans speak up and speak out against discrimination in the Constitution."
With less than 24 hours notice, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved the mark up from a public hearing room to a restricted-access room in the Capitol. The President's Room is not open to the public and does not even have enough chairs for every Senator on the committee to sit.
Solmonese continued, "Using the Constitutional amendment process as a political tool is bad enough, but doing it behind closed doors is appalling. The U.S. Senate shouldn't be playing fast and loose with our most fundamental freedoms."
In 2004, the Senate and House both fell far short of the two-thirds vote necessary to send the amendment to the states for ratification. In the Senate, the vote against cloture was 50 to 48, with six Republicans voting no. The Republicans who opposed cloture were Senators Campbell, Chafee, Collins, McCain, Snowe and Sununu. In the House, the vote was 227 to 186.
Many prominent Republicans and conservatives expressed opposition to the amendment in 2004, including Vice President Cheney, Arlen Specter, Rudy Guiliani, Chuck Hagel, David Dreier, George Pataki, Bob Barr, Alan Simpson, George Will and David Brooks. This year, those numbers increased to former Senator Danforth who called the amendment, "silly" and "contrary to basic Republican principles." First Lady Laura Bush was recently quoted as saying, "I don’t think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously." Sen. John McCain has repeatedly reaffirmed his opposition to the amendment. And today George Will again restated his opposition by lauding Sen. John Sununu's vote against the amendment was a vote against the "federal usurpation of the traditional state responsibility for marriage law" and that it "affirmed the value of cultural federalism."
Thursday, May 18, 2006
A recent email from the Human Rights Campaign: