Bench Memos

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Another Marriage Amendment


Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, along with several co-sponsors, has introduced the “Marriage Protection Amendment” into the House of Representatives.

The new proposal says:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constituion 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.

Like its predecessor the Federal Marriage Amendment, the Broun proposal does basically two things. One is to establish the union of man and woman as the exclusive occupant of the legal category “marriage.” No legal act short of another federal constitutional amendment could therefore make same-sex relationships a “marriage.” The second thing it does is to prevent the judiciary — state and federal — from requiring that same-sex realtionships be treated as “marriages” in all but name, as legisaltures in Vermont, New Jersey, and elsewhere have done.

The Broun proposal does not prohibit legislatures, however, from extending to persons in non-marital relationships and households some legal protections heretofore reserved largely to married couples.

The new MPA has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is likely to expire with this Congress.


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