Congressman Tom Delay's comments from the floor on
DOMA, September 30, 2004
sure and read all the way to the bottom!
Mr. DELAY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this
time, and I rise in support of the rule before us and in support of the
marriage protection amendment itself. I am well aware that this is not a
day many of us in this House relish. Many of us who support the marriage
protection amendment are saddened that the need for this amendment
exists at all.
The definition of marriage seems to us, and the vast majority
of the American people, as a matter of common sense and social reality.
And many who oppose the amendment, most I would say, see the movement to
protect marriage as mean spirited and unnecessary. In either case, most
of us in this House would prefer not to have this debate. We would
prefer to live in a society in which such debates were unnecessary, but,
unfortunately, we do not. The question of the future of
marriage in America has been forced upon us by activist judges trying to
legislate from the bench and forced upon us in such a way that the only
remaining answer is to amend the Constitution of the United States.
These are the facts, Mr. Speaker. The majority of the American people
want to protect traditional marriage for reasons ranging from the
political to the religious to the practical. But a minority of our
citizens, a vocal and sincere minority, wish to alter the definition of
marriage to include relationships outside the union of one man and one
woman. In response to this minority opinion, the American people
asserted their consensus in 1996 when a Republican Congress and a
Democrat President worked together to enact the Defense of Marriage Act.
Its support was and remains bipartisan and overwhelming across the
DOMA says two things: First, that for the purposes of Federal law, the
term marriage describes a union between one man and one woman. And,
second, it says that no State, including Massachusetts, can force their
will on the rest of us. And no State under its own laws can be required
to recognize homosexual unions licensed in other States.
That is the law as it currently stands: fair, straightforward,
and representative of an overwhelming consensus among the American
people. One would think this would be the end of the story, but it is
not. DOMA is under an incessant and
coordinated constitutional attack in the Federal courts.
Despite DOMA’s obvious constitutionality, those activist
judges, who feel a greater responsibility to their own
political ideology than the Constitution, seem not to care.
Indeed, inventing rights out of whole cloth, in direct
violation of the will of the people, too often seems to be the
coin of the realm on the Federal bench these days.
In such an environment, it is no surprise to me that legal
scholars on both sides of this issue, from Lawrence Tribe to
Robert Bork, all but concede DOMA will eventually be struck
down because it contradicts the tortured jurisprudence of
activist judges. Mr. Speaker, in other words, the definition of
marriage will be a matter of constitutional law one day very
soon. The question before us is whether that definition will be radical
and arbitrary, or based on the experience of human civilization dating
back to the origin of our species; whether that definition will be
written by individual judges imposing their political biases on the
Nation or written by the people of the United States through their
elected Representatives in Congress and State legislatures.
DOMA passed with broad bipartisan support. To date, 44 States have
defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Consensus
exists today. And yet the runaway courts keep coming, bent on replacing
Congress as the legislative authority of the United States. Let me be
plain: The status quo is not an option. Avoiding this issue is not an
option, not anymore, not since the Supreme Judicial Court of
Massachusetts invented a right to homosexual marriage out of thin air,
and not since a State court judge invented a similar right in Washington
State, not since 11 States face court challenges to their marriage laws.
This issue is not going away. Those who know me know I am not a fan of
constitutional amendments in general. And at first I resisted this
amendment in particular. But the fact can no longer be denied. If
marriage is to be protected in this country, it can only be protected by
a constitutional amendment. The timing, substance and necessity of the
marriage protection amendment have been forced by the courts and their
refusal to be bound by the clear and absolute limits of their
constitutional authority to interpret the law. This amendment
is the only way marriage will be protected.
Now I know it is a difficult issue, and I know it is an
emotional issue for people across the political spectrum and
across this country, but it is an issue that has been forced.
The people must be heard. Congress must assume its
responsibility and must respond. This debate today will begin with that
response, and, I hope, do so as it should, with civility, respect and
sensitivity to all points of view.
Mr. DELAY. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I know some wanted to pick a fight here today,
trying to get us to talk about same-sex marriage, about
homosexuality and all those kinds of things. We did not talk
about them because that is not what this is about. What this is about is
the family and the definition of family, so I will
define it for you: a family is a man and a woman that can
create children. Peter and Paul cannot create children. Mary
and Jane cannot create children. It is about regenerating and
re-energizing our population by being able to create children. But
more than that, it is about responsibility.
A family is a man and a woman that can create children and rear them. It
is how we create communities. It is how we transfer our values to our
children, because if you destroy marriage and people do not get married,
several things happen: first of all, men are let off the hook. Men can
have the sex but not the responsibility of raising the children. That
has happened in our society and societies in Europe and others. If you
take away the responsibility, why should a man get married? But if he
has a commitment with the woman, the mother of his child, then he
realizes the responsibility of trying to raise that child. He also
provides something more than Mary and Jane can provide. Mary and Jane
can be great mothers and there are many of them that are great mothers.
Peter and Paul can be great fathers. But Peter and Paul cannot be a
mother. And Mary and Jane cannot be a father. The reason that one man
and one woman is necessary to rear children is so that they can receive
the benefits that a man can give them and that a woman can give them.
They can see the commitment between a man and a woman, the trust that is
committed between the two, the love. But more important than that, it is
how that man and that woman transfer their values to their children. It
is also how each family can transfer its values by families coming
together as communities and transferring those values to those
So when you ask the question, what harm is it, the harm is if
nobody gets married and they are having children out of
wedlock, which has already been said, children born out of
wedlock are more likely to have all the maladies of societal
ills, whether it be quicker on drugs, dropouts. We know. Every social
ill can come down on these children. If that happens, then we are not
transferring our values to communities and from communities to States.
Our values as a Nation start with one man, one woman having children.
That is what is at stake here. That is what is harmful. You say, well, I
am married. I am married for 37 years. I am very proud to be married. I
have a daughter and a grandson. The point is that these breakups of
marriage, and it is showing in the Netherlands and in Scandinavia, it is
showing right here with all the pressures against marriage over the last
40 or 50 years, whether it be welfare or divorce. Divorce is a pressure
against marriage. And when we take the responsibility for a marriage and
do no-fault divorces, you are undermining marriage and making it easy to
All the results of that we have seen. The welfare system was a great
experiment. What we saw was fathers not marrying the mothers of their
children, just having many children by many mothers and not responsible
for raising these children, leaving these children to mothers and
grandmothers and aunts to raise. And then we see the deterioration of
their lives because they are raising themselves because their mothers
and aunts and grandmothers have to work in order to raise them to pay
for the family, so they are raising themselves, no values, nothing.
Gangs form because of that. Gangs become the substitute for families.
Everybody knows that. If you get busted by a gang or mugged by a gang,
that is the result of undermining marriage. That is the problem. It is
nothing about same-sex marriage, or single moms or any other kind of
marriage. Those are wonderful. There are wonderful families being raised
by gay people. There are wonderful families by single moms. But they are
not the ideal. The ideal is established in our Constitution and in our
society. We want the ideal.
So when the Massachusetts Supreme Court
redefines marriage based upon not law, based on thin air, because we
have these activist judges coming in to impose their definition of
marriage on our society, we get a little concerned, because we have seen
it before. We did not stand up before and there have been 45 million
children killed, unborn children killed, because we did not stand up to
activist judges responding to a strategy of using the courts to
legislate. Every leader of the groups that are opposing this legislation
has announced to the world that they are going to take this to the U.S.
Supreme Court. They are already doing it. There are 11 court cases right
now. Nebraska has been overturned, Washington State, Massachusetts.
There is a huge, huge effort in every State in this Union, even though
44 States in this Union have
protected the definition of marriage.
They are after those State constitutions; and when they get at those, or
using the full faith and credit clause, they can go
to the Federal courts and then it begins. Then DOMA comes down. Then the
United States Supreme Court, who has already signaled that they are
going to, through Lawrence v. Texas, redefine marriage in this country,
will amend the Constitution and redefine marriage.
We are starting the effort today. Yes, it may not pass today. I
wish it would. It may not pass today. This is only the beginning, I am
telling you, because this Nation will protect
This Nation knows, this Nation knows, that, if you destroy
marriage as the definition of one man and one woman creating children so
that we can transfer our values to those children and they can be raised
in an ideal home, this country will go down. So, believe me, everybody
in this country is going to know how you voted today. And they are going
to know how you stood on the fundamental protection of marriage and the
definition of marriage. And we will take it from here, and we will be
back. And we will be back. And we will be back. We will never give up.
We will protect marriage in this country.