Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3313, Marriage Protection Act of 2004

PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3313, MARRIAGE PROTECTION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - July 22, 2004)

Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 734 and ask for its immediate consideration.


Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time and bringing this rule to the floor. She is one of the great leaders in this Congress.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this rule and the underlying bill that was originally authored by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hostettler).

For 7 ½ years before I came to Congress I served as a circuit court judge in Tennessee. For many years, I have heard Federal judges complain about the Congress expanding Federal jurisdiction too much, so they are greatly overworked. This is a very reasonable, minimal limitation of their jurisdiction and I am sure that even if this legislation passes, the Federal judges will still claim that they are very much overworked.

On July 12, 1996, the House passed and on September 10, 1996, the Senate passed the Defense of Marriage Act. That act said the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife. I repeat that. That legislation said the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman.

That legislation further said no State shall be required to give effect to any public act, record or judicial proceeding of any other State respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, Territory and so forth.

That legislation, Mr. Speaker, passed by the overwhelming margin of 342 to 67 in this House, and by the even more overwhelming margin of 85 to 14 in the Senate. That is 85 Senators voted for that legislation. Further, it went to the President, President Clinton at that time, and he signed that legislation into law.

This legislation, authored by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hostettler), is a reasonable expansion of that legislation limiting the jurisdiction because it is true that many, many people in this country have been upset that unelected judges have assumed so much super-legislative power in this country in recent years. The overwhelming majority of the American people do believe that the only true marriage is that between one adult man and one adult woman. There are other limitations on marriage such as prohibitions against marriages by family members or bigamist marriages, and I think the overwhelming majority of the American people feel that our society, our families, and especially our children would be better off if we defined marriage, the only true marriage, legal marriage, as that of being between one man and one woman.

Mr. Speaker, I know that many outstanding people come from broken homes, but I also know that the greatest advantage that we can give to any child is a loving mother and father. That is so important to the future of this country. That is a greater advantage than unbelievable amounts of money.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a man who was one of the most respected Members of the Senate, a Senator from the other party, said several years ago that we have been, unfortunately, defining deviancy down, accepting as a part of life what we once found repugnant. We should stand behind traditional marriage. We should stand behind this legislation and support it as strongly as we possibly can.