Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.J. Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Last Friday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nebraska constitutional amendment protecting marriage between one man and one woman, and affirming the legal protections and benefits reserved to this fundamental union. The amendment was approved by an overwhelming 70 percent majority in 2000.
Nationwide, 45 states have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman or expressly prohibited same-sex marriage. Twenty states approved constitutional amendments upholding marriage; six states will vote on an amendment in November; and eight states are considering sending constitutional amendments to voters in 2006 or 2008. The 16 states that approved constitutional amendments since 2004 did so by an average 72 percent voter majority.
Even voters in Massachusetts--the first state to have its supreme court unilaterally declare same-sex marriage as constitutional--may have the opportunity to uphold marriage. The state's high court ruled last week that legislative efforts to put a same-sex marriage ban on the 2008 ballot could move forward. Recent court rulings in New York, Tennessee and Georgia have also upheld marriage rights.
The Federal Marriage Protection Amendment under consideration today would prohibit any governmental entity--whether in the legislative, executive or judicial branch at all levels of government--from altering the definition of marriage. It does not discriminate against homosexuals; it upholds and recognizes the importance of marriage between a man and a woman for the well-being of children and society at large.
Mr. Speaker, the American people want the Marriage Protection Amendment to be approved. Their will is clearly reflected through the overwhelming majorities voting for marriage protection initiatives in the states. We have a responsibility to children and families nationwide to send a clear message today that marriage will be upheld and protected. We also have a sacred duty to future generations to preserve marriage as the fundamental building block of society.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.J. Res. 88 today.
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