We Must Preserve Traditional Marriage

Throughout history, the union between a man and woman has been recognized and honored as an essential cornerstone of society. Customs come and go and vary by time and place, but the institution of marriage has endured through millennia.

On Monday, June 5, I will bring to the Senate floor the Marriage Protection Amendment to ensure the definition of marriage endures and remains true to the wishes of the majority of the American people.

The amendment reads simply: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

Tennessee, which will give voters the opportunity to voice their opinions on the sanctity of marriage this November, is one of seven states with similar amendments to their constitutions pending. Already 45 states have approved legislation that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman, and no state has ever rejected an effort to protect traditional marriage when it has been on the ballot.

Citizens in these states understand that radically redefining the institution of marriage is social engineering on a massive scale. Preserving traditional marriage is a matter of safeguarding the well-being of our children, our country and our future. It is certainly not a matter that should be decided by liberal, activist judges who choose to legislate from the bench without regard for the public’s will.

But this is exactly what is happening. There are currently nine states whose laws or amendments protecting traditional marriage are under court challenge. Just last year, the state of Nebraska saw its democratically enacted amendment to protect traditional marriage, which passed with 70% of the vote, struck down by an unelected federal judge with a lifetime appointment.

And earlier this month, a state marriage amendment approved by over 76% of Georgia voters was thrown out by a judge on a technicality. Georgia’s voters passed the amendment to guard against just such an occurrence, believing a state constitutional amendment to be harder to strike down than an almost identically worded law passed by the state legislature in 1996.

Such judicial activism constitutes a blatant thwarting of the public’s will and the common good. Given these circumstances, to say that marriage is under attack is not an overstatement. The best way to protect state laws from reversal is to enact a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The Marriage Protection Amendment has nothing to do with discriminating against same-sex couples and everything to do with preserving for future generations the fundamental institution that has sustained society throughout history. Courts should not be allowed to suppress the voices and votes of the American people by permanently redefining marriage in America.