[Pages S5893-S5894]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. BROWNBACK. Madam President, I take a few minutes of the leader's 
time to speak in morning business on one of the issues this week that 

[[Page S5894]]

drawn, obviously, the attention of everybody across the country. It has 
happened in Massachusetts where, 3 days ago, in keeping with the 
rulings of four Massachusetts Supreme Court justices last November, the 
State of Massachusetts started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex 
couples, as thousands descended on the State.
  This event has significant repercussions for all Americans. According 
to news reports, local officials across the State were giving licenses 
to all who requested them, without asking for proof of State residency. 
This is in open defiance of Massachusetts law, which bars out-of-State 
couples from marrying in the State if the union would be illegal in 
their home State.
  Let there be no mistake about this. The stakes in this battle over 
the future of our culture are enormous. This attempt by an imperious 
judiciary to radically redefine marriage by a few people is both a 
grave threat to our central social institution and a serious affront to 
democratic rule in our Nation.
  Our reaction to this threat hinges on not only the future of 
marriage, which is a foundational unit for building a strong society, 
but our future as a self-governing people as well--whether the people 
here rule or a few on the judiciary. The actions of the Massachusetts 
Supreme Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, to mandate 
homosexual marriage, is simply the latest instance of arrogant judges 
riding roughshod over the democratic process and constitutional law 
alike, in a quest to impose a radical social agenda on America.

  The decision in this case could not have been more radical. The court 
declared that our society's longstanding, historical understanding of 
marriage as between a man and a woman was irrational or completely 
lacking a foundation in reason. As such, according to the court, the 
only possible explanation for the State denying marriage licenses to 
homosexual couples is prejudice, which the court compared with racial 
prejudice of the past that opposed interracial marriages. This analogy, 
of course, is false. It is misleading. The vast majority of African 
Americans recognize that. The vast majority of all Americans recognize 
it. All America should have the right to marry whomever they choose, 
regardless of race. But while most Americans believe that homosexuals 
have a right to live as they choose, they do not believe that a small 
group of activists or a tiny judicial elite have a right to redefine 
marriage for the entire society and to impose this radical social 
experiment on the culture.
  Almost every benefit that is being sought can be attained through 
contract or power of attorney. But let us be clear, this is not a 
battle over civil rights. It is a battle over whether marriage will be 
emptied of its meaning in contradiction to the will of the people and 
their duly elected representatives.
  This is a key issue. I look for this body to take up the issue in a 
constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a 
woman. This is going to be a very difficult discussion. I hope we can 
have a good, healthy discussion about the importance of marriage as a 
foundational building unit in this society, a marriage between a man 
and a woman bonded together for life. That, indeed, is the best place 
to raise children according to all of our sociological data. This 
institution has been in disrepair for 40 years--has had difficulty for 
a long period of time--but this is not the answer to curing it. This 
will harm it.
  While this is going to be a difficult debate and discussion for us as 
a country, it is a valuable and important one for us to have. I look 
forward to this body, later this year, voting on a constitutional 
amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Texas.
  Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, I yield up to 10 minutes to the 
Senator from Colorado.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Colorado.