Press Room

March 30, 2004

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Conservatives Testify Against Changing Constitution

"We all share the ideology that the Constitution shouldn't be tampered with," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - Several high-profile conservative Americans testified at a Congressional hearing today in opposition to changing the U.S. Constitution. At today's House Judiciary subcommittee hearing around a constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples, former Congressman Bob Barr and Wyoming State Sen. John Hanes - both Republicans - rejected tampering with the Constitution.

"We all share the ideology that the Constitution shouldn't be tampered with," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "The conservative leaders who testified today proved that this amendment is opposed across the political spectrum."

This was the first hearing in a series of at least five to be held in the House Committee on the Judiciary's subcommittee on the Constitution.
"If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of having a Constitution in the first place," said former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., who penned the Defense of Marriage Act.

Sen. Hanes added: "Our goal as conservatives should be to avoid creating needless division, and instead let the people alone build their communities without federal interference." As chairman of the Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee, Hanes presided over hearings earlier this year to consider a Wyoming ban against recognizing the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples - a measure he later voted against and helped to defeat.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee and is a strong opponent of the amendment. Nadler was joined today in opposition by fellow Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. John Conyers, D-Mich. Bobby Scott, D-Va. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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