Huelskamp vows constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage

June 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Constitution must be changed to void the Supreme Court ruling that said the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, a Republican lawmaker said.

"A narrow radical majority of the court has substituted their personal views for the constitutional decisions of the American voters and their elected representatives," Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., told reporters after the high court ruled the 1996 act, which barred same-sex married couples from receiving federal marital benefits, was unconstitutional.

The 5-4 majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said, "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.

"By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment," the ruling said.

"My response will be later this week to file a Federal Marriage Amendment" that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, Huelskamp said at a monthly meeting with reporters called "Conversations With Conservatives."

Huelskamp, a House Tea Party Caucus member, said other conservatives would join him in supporting his effort.

"This would trump the Supreme Court," Huelskamp told The Huffington Post.

A constitutional amendment requires the support of two-thirds of the House and Senate and then ratification by three-fourths of the states, or 38 states.

Huelskamp told reporters the court's ruling Wednesday would hurt children.

Decades of social-science research have "shown that every child deserves a mom and dad," he said.

"I think children will be hurt," he said later.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a House Tea Party Caucus co-founder, agreed.

"Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted," Bachmann said. "What the court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States."

At least six psychological, psychiatric, medical and social-work associations told a U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011 the assertion recognizing same-sex marriage harms children is unfounded.

The associations told the court in Boston gay and lesbian people form stable, committed relationships essentially equivalent to those of heterosexuals. The groups also said same-sex parents are no less capable than opposite-sex parents to raise children, and children of same-sex parents are no less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted than children of opposite-sex parents.

Huelskamp said the language of his proposed constitutional amendment, which has no co-sponsors yet, would mirror earlier proposed Federal Marriage Amendments.

The last House vote on such an amendment, July 18, 2006, failed 236-187 -- 54 votes short of the 290 needed for passage.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were among those who voted for the amendment then.

Asked Wednesday if he thought he would have House leadership support this time, Huelskamp pointed to a Boehner statement conveying his "disappointment" in the Supreme Court's ruling.

"I give tremendous credit to the speaker of the House," Huelskamp said.

Boehner's statement indicated he saw the marriage debate moving to the states.

"While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances," Boehner's statement said. "A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman."

Boehner and other GOP leaders gave no immediate indication they would bring Huelskamp's possible amendment to the House floor.

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