(House of Representatives - June 27, 2013)

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[Pages H4083-H4084]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                     WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Gutierrez) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GUTIERREZ. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, a short time after the Supreme 
Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the Constitution 
of the United States, an immigration judge in New York stopped the 
deportation of a man who was legally married to an American citizen.
  According to press reports, the bonds of marriage that tied Sean, an 
American citizen, to Steven, a native of Colombia, were invisible in 
the eyes of the law before 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time yesterday; but 
after the Supreme Court announcement, the bonds of marriage that drew 
these two individuals together in love and in the sight of God all of a 
sudden became visible to the United States Government. They 
materialized before our eyes, allowing a spouse of a U.S. citizen to 
live peacefully in the United States with his spouse as our immigration 
laws intended. What a difference a day makes.
  Well, actually, this step towards justice took a great deal longer 
than a day. I'm proud that the Supreme Court finally caught up to Sean 
and Steven. I'm glad that the law of the land finally caught up to the 
American people, who generally feel that marriage equality, like other 
forms of equality, is a good thing. I'm glad the Supreme Court caught 
up to the 21st century, and I'm glad the Supreme Court caught up to me. 
In fact, what does a 21st century Congressman do on such occasions? I 
tweeted. And what did I tweet? ``I told you so.''
  It was right here on this spot, on July 11, 1996, that the House of 
Representatives passed DOMA. I came to this well and walked up to the 
distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts, Barney Frank, who 
controlled the time on the Democratic side, and I asked him if I could 
speak on the bill. I had a great deal of respect for the gentleman from 
Massachusetts, and I have a great deal of respect for him today, now 
that he's happily retired and happily married. But on that particular 
day, he said to me, Luis, I have no time for people who are against the 
bill. Shoo. Go away.
  Who knows, maybe it was a mild case of profiling. He saw a Latino 
Catholic from the Midwest and said he can't be a friend. I assured the 
gentleman that as a Chicago alderman, as a Congressman--you know 
something, just as a man--I was against discrimination, bigotry, and 
unfairness wherever and whenever I saw it and that I had fought in 
Chicago to pass a groundbreaking ordinance on LGBT equality in the 
1980s. The gentleman from Massachusetts smiled, welcomed me to the 
team, and yielded me 3\1/2\ minutes.
  I went back to check the Record to see what I had said on that night, 
and you know what? The 2013 me agrees wholeheartedly with the 1996 me. 
I pointed out that the supporters of DOMA were wrapping themselves up 
in family values when, in fact, they were preventing families from 
being recognized as families.

       I don't know many Americans--regardless of their political 
     party, race, religion, or sexual orientation--who don't 
     believe that family values are vitally important. But I also 
     don't know many Americans who want a couple of hundred 
     politicians in Washington to impose their values on everyone 
     else's families.
       Let me tell you about some very basic values I think we're 
     talking about when we stand up against this bill: the values 
     of people who love each other; people who share each other's 
     lives; people who care about their future and the future of 
     those around them; people who want to make a commitment that 
     is legal and official and is important to them. To me, that 
     sounds like family values.

  I am proud to have spoken up; I am proud to have voted against that 
bill; and I am proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with Barney 
Frank and other heroes who said ``no'' and today say ``I told you so.''
  Now we need to take another vital step right away. The immigration 
judge that stopped Steven's deportation because of his legal marriage 
to an American citizen was absolutely right, but we need to make sure 
our immigration law reflects the post-DOMA reality across the board. If 
the Obama administration needs to write regulations to make sure our 
immigration laws match the Constitution of our Nation, then they better 
get to work. We can't afford delay.

[[Page H4084]]

  Same-sex couples form families. Our immigration laws are supposed to 
honor families. So, Mr. President, please make it clear, from your 
office on down that family unity means all families. We've waited long 
  The Highest Court in the land helped us take another step against 
discrimination. Now we must make sure that the administration of the 
law catches up with the letter and the spirit of the law. All families, 
like Steven and Sean, must be recognized as families for the purposes 
of our immigration law.
  What a difference a day makes.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Amodei). Members are reminded to address 
their remarks to the Chair.