I believe that marriage was created as a sacred union between one man and one woman, and we must do all within our power to protect it. Therefore, in light of a number of recent Supreme Court decisions, I support a Constitutional Amendment that would strictly define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, Public Law No. 104-199). DOMA, which I supported in 1996 along with 84 of my colleagues in the Senate and 342 members of the House of Representatives, was signed into law by President Clinton on September 21, 1996.
DOMA defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman in the eyes of the federal government. Although DOMA defined marriage for federal purposes, it also allowed each of the fifty states to determine their own respective definitions of marriage. In Windsor, the Supreme Court held Section 3 was unconstitutional and that the federal government may not define marriage for its own purposes. In doing so, the Court suggests that Congress does not have the power or authority to define the meaning of words in laws that Congress itself enacts.
Although the Supreme Court did not create a constitutional right to same-sex marriage by striking down Section 3 of DOMA in Windsor, that changed with the Obergefell v. Hodges on April 28, 2015. In this case, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding whether or not the Constitution protects marriage between same-sex couples.
On June 26, 2015, exactly two years after Windsor was decided, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The Court held that the Constitution’s Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses guarantee the “fundamental right” to marriage. While I respect the rule of law, I disagree with the Supreme Court’s reasoning and believe that this decision should remain within the purview of each state.
In light of the Supreme Court’s decisions on same-sex marriage, I believe it is Congress’ duty to safeguard our Frist Amendment rights and protect individuals and organizations from being discriminated against based on religious or moral convictions that marriage should be between one man and one woman. As your United States Senator, I will always support legislation that strengthens the American family and support positive values for all of our citizens.