Log Cabin Republicans Declare Another Victory over the Radical Right
Anti-Family Constitutional Amendment Falls 65 Votes Short of Passage
(Washington, DC) – Today's vote in the United States House of Representatives rejecting the anti-family Constitutional amendment is an overwhelming defeat for the radical right. "This victory for hope over fear is yet another loss for the forces of division and intolerance," said Log Cabin Executive Director Patrick Guerriero.
The anti-family Constitutional amendment fell far short of garnering the two-thirds support required for its passage. The defeat was so decisive that it failed even to garner a simple majority of the 435 member House of Representatives. The final vote was 186 against the Amendment and only 227 in favor. "It's a stunning defeat for the radical right. This failure sends a clear message to Marilyn Musgrave and Tom Delay: stop using the politics of fear to divide America. Members of Congress should start focusing on issues that voters really care about, such as winning the war on terror, balancing the budget, and improving homeland security," said Guerriero.
27 Republicans joined Democrats and one independent in defeating the amendment. "History will record the courageous choice made today by the brave House Republicans who rejected the politics of division and intolerance," said Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron.
The defeat for the anti-family amendment comes in stark contrast to the victories for the forces of inclusion that we have seen in recent months. "18 Republican Senators helped overwhelmingly pass hate crimes legislation in the Senate. Following that victory, 31 House Republicans helped pass a motion urging that these basic protections be left in the Conference Committee report," said Guerriero. "Additionally, we have watched proudly as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fulfilled his promise to be the people's Governor by signing three gay inclusive bills."
The defeat of the anti-family Constitutional amendment also stands in stark contrast to the last time the House considered an anti-gay bill of this importance. In 1996 only one Republican in the House voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), where today we had 27 stand with us. Indeed only 67 members of the House voted to oppose DOMA, and today 186 voted against this measure. "We have made tremendous gains over the last 10 years. We will continue making more progress in the future. The radical right's influence diminishes year after year," said Guerriero.
In a moving floor speech on Thursday, Republican Chris Shays from Connecticut denounced the anti-family FMA asking, "Why are we doing this? What are we afraid of?" Congressman Shays went on to say that the Constitution should not be "dishonored" by this Amendment. Congressman Shays' powerful statements included the recognition of the influence of gay and lesbian role models in his own life.
Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) also took to the floor and made a powerful and conservative argument against this Amendment. Congressman Kolbe made it clear that the question of family and marriage laws was clearly within the province of the states.
These comments echo the views of Vice President Dick Cheney. The Vice President said he believes the question of regulating the recognition of same-sex relationships should be left up to each state. Mr. Cheney's powerful comments formed the centerpiece of Log Cabin's national television advertising campaign against this anti-family amendment.
Log Cabin has made it clear from day one that this debate is not about protecting marriage, it is really about protecting the Constitution and protecting federalism. Over the past week, Congressman Chris Cox (R-CA) added to the growing voices of Republican opposition to this unnecessary amendment by stating, "For Republicans, who believe in federalism, the FMA is an uncomfortable fit. Restraint in the allocation of governmental authority to the national government from the states is fundamental to our Constitution."
"Log Cabin is proud to have led the conservative voices that rose up to oppose this unnecessary and discriminatory amendment," continued Guerriero. "Regardless of how you feel about civil marriage equality or civil unions, true conservatives oppose this amendment because it violates the very principles our party represents."
"We are proud of our grassroots members around the nation who joined the fight to defend the Constitution. We are also proud of all those House members who spoke out against the amendment, including our Republican friends who stood up to the far right's bullying and intimidation," said Guerriero.
Today's victory over the far right is not the end of this battle. This issue is not going away any time soon. Anti-family amendment sponsors in the House and Senate have made it clear that they will continue pushing for discriminatory measures in both chambers. "While we should celebrate today's victory, we also need to realize that the fight isn't over. The far right wants to continue pushing its divisive social agenda, even if it means all other work in our legislative bodies comes to a grinding halt," said Guerriero.
Log Cabin Republicans has been leading a coordinated effort to defend the Constitution. This campaign includes television advertisements and prints ads, which can be viewed at www.logcabin.org, the most intense lobbying effort in its history, and the grassroots mobilization of Log Cabin members across America.
"This fight is not over. We remain firmly dedicated to winning the culture war waged on the Republican Party and the American people by the voices of intolerance on the radical right. We intend to win the battle for the heart and soul of our Republican Party. In the end, hope will prevail over fear," concluded Guerriero.