Wave of Support for Defining Marriage between Man & Woman
More than 63 million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on constitutional marriage amendments:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.
Most of these states had a state Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - Pennsylvania has one too - or another statute in place defining marriage between a man and a woman before passing a constitutional amendment.
Pennsylvania lacks a constitutional amendment protecting marriage - making our state DOMA vulnerable to redefinition.
Forty million Americans - 63 percent of total voters - have voted to affirm marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman. And ALL 31 states that put marriage on the ballot have seen voters support marriage defined between husband and wife.
Questions and Answers on Protecting Marriage
- Q. What is the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment?
- Q. What will the amendment do?
- Q. Is amending the constitution really necessary? Don't we already have a DOMA?
- Q. If you're interested in protecting marriage, why include Civil Unions, too?
- Q. What's the big deal about same-sex marriage?
- Q. What does someone else's same-sex marriage have to do with society at large?
- Q. Can we deny someone marriage, with so many divorces and single-parent households out there?
- Q. Shouldn't two people who love each other be allowed to commit themselves to one another?
- Q. What does this have to do with religious liberty?
- Q. Isn't this about civil rights?
- Q. Can I get someone from your initiative to come speak to my group?
- Q. My business or church would like to endorse the initiative. What do I do?
1. Q. What is the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment?
A. With pressure on all sides for same-sex marriage to be legalized, those who believe in traditional families must be vigilant in protecting what we had always taken for granted. Those seeking to drastically redefine marriage will work through the courts and in public opinion to get what they want. To prevent the destruction of marriage in Pennsylvania, several groups have joined together to lobby for an amendment to the state constitution which would limit marriage to one man and one woman. This would keep Pennsylvania's courts and a few activists from overturning the definition of marriage against the will of the citizens. The current language of the amendment not yet available to the public.
2. Q. What will the amendment do?
A. The amendment will:
-Prevent courts from imposing a new definition of marriage on PA without the consent of her citizens
-Prevent courts from forcing recognition of other states'; same sex marriages
-Prevent a court's "finding" a constitutional right to same-sex marriage
-Prevent automatic granting of rights under definition of marriage
-Prevent local governments from recognizing marriage independently
The amendment will not:
-Prevent private employers from granting benefits to couples
-Prevent petitioning of the government for other rights (legislatively)
-effect current Supreme Court rulings
3. Q. Is amending the constitution really necessary? Don't we already have a DOMA?
A. It's true that Pennsylvania, like 37 other states, already has a law which limits marriage to one man and one woman. Legal experts agree, however, that in the event of a lawsuit, the DOMA is likely to be overturned or struck down. It is also possible that court rulings at the national level could render such laws "unconstitutional";. An amendment to the state constitution is much more likely to withstand such challenges.
4. Q. If you're interested in protecting marriage, why include Civil Unions, too?
A. The two are one and the same. Even those who are against same-sex marriage seem to like the sound of "civil unions", which appear to be a reasonable compromise. In the eyes of the law, however, "civil unions"; would simply preserve the name "marriage", while allowing the institution to be destroyed. Granting homosexual couples the legal rights of married couples, even if we don't call it "marriage", will result in the same social, religious, cultural and economic perils as same-sex marriage itself.
Some states have marriage amendments. Others allow same-sex marriage or by an equivalent name such as civil union or domestic partnership. See below:
Marriage In America
These 30 states have marriage protection amendments in their state constitutions.
The 27 states denoted with* also have a state Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or other statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In total 45 states have a DOMA. Vermont has a DOMA, but allowed same-sex marriages by calling them civil unions.
In 2007, a judge declared Iowa's state DOMA unconstitutional.
Marriage By Another Name
New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont
These states allow same-sex marriages, no matter whether they are called civil unions or domestic partnerships. For example, New Jersey's civil union statute includes this definition:
"Civil Unions" means the legally recognized union of two eligible individuals of the same sex established pursuant to this act. Parties to a civil union shall receive the same benefits and protections and be subject to the same responsibilities as spouses in a marriage.
Vermont's civil union law states:
Parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in marriage.
5. Q. What's the big deal about same-sex marriage?
A. If same-sex marriage were permitted, the definition of marriage would be lost entirely. Marriage would no longer be recognized as the crucial, indispensable building block of society, responsible for preparing future generations. Instead, marriage will be one option, no more or less beneficial or acceptable than cohabitation, single parenting, or homosexual households. The next generation would suffer most under this new policy. Our children's psyches are not an acceptable subject for experimentation.
6. Q. What does someone else's same-sex marriage have to do with society at large?
A. Norway, which accepted gay "marriage"; in the nineties, has seen marriage rates plummet, with 80 percent of firstborn children and 60 percent of subsequent children are born out of wedlock. Allowing homosexuals to marry does not expand the definition of marriage: it renders marriage obsolete.
Additionally, if same-sex relationships are legally recognized, schools will be forced to change curricula to reflect homosexual role models and same-sex parenting as normal and acceptable. Parents will lose control of their children's moral education. Even those who seek to shape their children's morals at home would have much to lose. Says William Mattox of USA Today, "As the parents of a teenage daughter who hopes to get married someday, my wife and I not only have a stake in what our daughter is taught about marriage, we have a stake in what other people's sons are taught as well." Such parents, and indeed, such daughters, have much to lose if other people's sons are taught that a woman is not an essential part of a stable home. This is a defining message of homosexual-headed families.
7. Q. Can we deny someone marriage, with so many divorces and single-parent households out there?
A. Yes. We can and we must. These unfortunate statistics are the results of America's last great social experiment: no-fault divorce, which proved disastrous. Our children are in enough peril. In these troubled times, we need to work to rebuild the family, not give up on it entirely. We will not fix our past mistakes by diluting marriage even further.
8. Q. Shouldn't two people who love each other be allowed to commit themselves to one another?
A. As Glenn Stanton has said, absolutely, and people do that all the time. But we don't call it marriage. There are lots of loving commitments that are not marriage. Friends are committed to each other, a parent is committed to a child, grandparents to their grandchildren, and people are committed to their pets. All of these are forms of love. All of them result in commitments. None of them is marriage.
There are economic consequences to these "commitments" as well. Mr. Stanton continues, "Could your business afford health-care benefits for 5 or 9 people in a group marriage? In fact, in this brave new world, what would keep two heterosexual single moms 'or even six of them' from 'marrying' simply so they can receive family health, tax and social security benefits together? The increased cost to business and government would be crippling."
9. Q. What does this have to do with religious liberty?
A. Under a court ruling which standardizes same-sex marriage, churches and synagogues could face legal pressure to perform such marriages. Those who refuse could lose their tax-exempt status, lest the government be seen to be "underwriting discrimination". Pastors or rabbis, indeed, anyone who claims that homosexuality is morally wrong, could face legal ramifications. We have already seen this effect in Canada, where teaching these religious moral truths is considered "hate speech," and is punishable by up to two years in prison.
10. Q. Isn't this about civil rights?
A. No. There is no constitutional right to marry whomever you please. Marriage is a contract extended to those who qualify. No one can marry a close blood relative, or a child, or someone who is already married, or someone of the same sex. Society can and does place conditions on the institution of marriage. If, as Andrew Sullivan says, "The right to marry whomever you want is a fundamental civil right," how do we say 'no' to a woman who wants to become the third wife of a polygamist"?
It is also interesting to consider that no one is restricting the access any qualifying individual to marriage. If a single homosexual adult wishes to marry, he may. But he must meet the standards of the contract: he must marry someone who is not currently married, he must marry someone who is of legal age, and he must marry someone of the opposite sex. If he chooses not to meet those qualifications, then he is willingly refusing to enter the contract - it is not denied to him.
11. Q. Can I get someone from your initiative to come speak to my group?
A. Please contact our office to place a request. 717-657-4990 or 1-800-FAMILY-1.
12. Q. My business or church would like to endorse the initiative. What do I do?
A. Please feel free to contact our administrator at 717-657-4990 or 1-800-FAMILY-1 during regular business hours. Click here to go to our Endorsements page..