Marriage Protection Amendment

Date: July 18, 2006
Location: Washington, DC

MARRIAGE PROTECTION AMENDMENT -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2006)


Mr. PENCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the marriage amendment and offer heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the gentlewoman from Colorado (Mrs. Musgrave) for her principled, compassionate, and courageous leadership on this issue from her very first term in Congress.

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of ominous decisions by activist courts across the land, I come to the well today to defend that institution that forms the backbone of our society: traditional marriage. Like millions of Americans, I believe that marriage matters, that it was ordained by God, instituted among men, that it is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to raise children.

I believe first, though, marriage should be protected, because it wasn't our idea. Several millennia ago the words were written that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. It was not our idea; it was God's idea. And I say that unashamedly on the floor where the words ``In God We Trust'' appear above your chair, Mr. Speaker.

And let me say emphatically that this debate today is not about discrimination. I believe that if someone chooses another life-style than I have chosen, that that is their right in a free society. But tolerance does not require that we permit our courts to redefine an institution upon which our society depends. Marriage matters, according to the researchers. Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that throughout history, societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.

And marriage matters to kids. As my Hoosier colleague and friend Vice President Dan Quayle first accurately observed, Mr. Speaker, marriage is the safest harbor to raise children. Sociologists tell us that children raised by married parents experience lower rates of premarital childbearing, illicit drug use, arrest, health, emotional and behavioral problems, school dropout rate, and poverty.

And marriage even matters to adults. A recent 5-year study in 1998 found that continuously married husbands and wives experience significantly better emotional health and less depression than people of other marital status.

Let us say ``yes'' very humbly today to the marriage as traditionally defined. Let us say ``no'' to activist courts bent on redefining it.

Marriage matters, Mr. Speaker. It was ordained by God, instituted in the law. It is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to raise children. Let us put in that most sacred of documents an affirmation of that institution upon which our society demands.

I urge my colleagues to embrace H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment.