Press Room

June 21, 2004

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Hearing Highlights Conservative Opposition to the Anti-Marriage Constitutional Amendment

'The people of Massachusetts want their leaders focused on health care, unemployment and stronger schools, not hurting families,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - Former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., author of the Defense of Marriage Act that bans the recognition of marriage between same-sex couples, testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney testified in favor of the discriminatory amendment, along with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., the House author of the amendment.

"Resisting the temptation to use the federal government to meddle in state matters is the test of this conservative principle," testified Rep. Barr. He went on to say, "To be frank, I do not appreciate their presumption to dictate morals to my fellow Georgians through misuse of the federal Constitution."

"Clearly, you do not have to support same-sex marriage rights to be against the Federal Marriage Amendment," said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "Bob Barr and I see eye-to-eye that this amendment would undermine our Constitution."

The so-called Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 30) is expected to come to the floor for a vote the week of July 12. Although Rep. Barr is an ardent opponent of marriage for same-sex couples, he does not believe that the federal government should restrict the rights of a state to make its own law in this area.

Challenging Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, who also testified today, Rep. Barr said: "Thus, the governor is pleading for this Congress and the federal government to protect him against the Massachusetts state constitution, the Massachusetts legislature, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and most ironically, the people of Massachusetts if they eventually ratify the proposed Massachusetts constitutional amendment." Barr went on to urge the Committee to "have Massachusetts resolve its own problems without invoking the full weight of the federal government."

"The people of Massachusetts want their leaders focused on health care, unemployment and stronger schools, not hurting families," said Jacques, a former Massachusetts state senator.

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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