Log Cabin to Senate Majority Leader: Vote on Anti-Family Amendment Motivated by Politics
Log Cabin Executive Director Sends Open Letter to GOP Senator Bill Frist
(Washington, DC) – In a letter to Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero says the Senate should be addressing real issues like taxes, terrorism and homeland security, instead of playing politics with the Constitution. "Why at a time when our nation and our party ought to be coming together, would you choose to divide us on a vote you already know will fail? There's a one word answer to that question – politics," writes Guerriero.
The United States Senate is scheduled to consider the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment next week. The Constitutional amendment is being rushed to the Senate floor without being voted on by the Judiciary Committee. This proposal would turn back the clock on gay and lesbian basic rights by denying not only civil marriage, but also jeopardizing civil unions and possibly even any domestic partner benefits.
Log Cabin Republicans have been leading a coordinated effort to defend the Constitution. This campaign includes a television advertisement, prints ads, the most intense lobbying effort in its history, and the grassroots mobilization of Log Cabin members across America.
Text of Letter to Senator Frist
July 7, 2004
The Honorable Bill Frist
SR-416 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4205
On behalf of Log Cabin's members and allies around the nation, I strongly oppose your decision to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), S.J. Res. 30, to the floor for consideration during the week of July 12th. This political showmanship risks national unity and party unity at a time when we should be coming together as Americans and as Republicans.
As Senate Majority Leader, you know there are nowhere near the 67 votes needed for passage of the FMA. In fact, there aren't even 60 votes for cloture. As a result, it is likely that the only vote on this matter will be a procedural vote on cloture. The question then becomes, why, at a time when our nation and our party ought to be coming together, would you choose to divide us on a vote you already know will fail? There's a one word answer to that question – politics.
This amendment is not about protecting the sanctity of marriage, it is about playing politics with the Constitutional process. The timing of this vote demonstrates the political motives underlying the decision to consider this proposal. Why is this being rushed to the floor for consideration without a vote of the Judiciary Committee? As loyal Republicans, we have proudly supported you, our party, and our President on tax cuts, homeland security and the war on terrorism. However, we will not remain silent while leaders in our Party use gay and lesbian families as a wedge issue during this campaign.
We are grateful that many Republican leaders from across our great nation have spoken out against this amendment. Some of those leaders will be highlighted in primetime during the Republican National Convention. They have expressed conservative reasons to oppose this amendment:
- Any anti-family amendment would trample on the principles of federalism and is an unprecedented incursion into state affairs. Two hundred and twenty-five years of history show that the recognition and protection of families is an issue best handled by the states.
- A discriminatory anti-family amendment will not strengthen marriage, it will weaken our nation. For the first time ever, an amendment to our nation's precious founding document would treat one segment of the American family different from all the rest.
- This amendment is a misguided solution in search of a problem. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is the law of the land, provides that no state will be forced to recognize any same-sex union celebrated in another state. It violates conservative principles to support a Constitutional amendment based on fears about what some unknown judge in some unknown case at some unknown time might rule.
- An anti-family Constitutional amendment, particularly the FMA, would turn back the clock on gay and lesbian basic rights by denying not only civil marriage, but also jeopardizing civil unions and possibly even any domestic partner benefits.
- The Constitution should not be used as a way to gauge public opinion trends on contentious issues. Should the Constitution be changed every time public opinion changes?
- This would mark the first time a Constitutional amendment has been used to limit the rights of one segment of the American population. Whether it is abolishing slavery, giving citizenship to freed slaves, allowing women and young people the right to vote, or limiting the scope of government, amendments most often have been used to spread the benefits of liberty to a larger segment of the population.
The Senate should be addressing real issues. The American people want our elected leaders to return to doing the business of the people. The Senate should be debating how to fund efforts to secure our homeland, to support our troops in Iraq, and to strengthen our nation's economy. Every moment spent debating this discriminatory amendment comes at the expense of these priorities.
History will record who had the courage to stand up and defend our Constitution and who tried to use it for political gain. We strongly encourage the United States Senate to reject the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment.
cc: all Republican members of the United States Senate