'If Senator Brownback was really concerned about families, today's hearing would focus on families who have lost health care and domestic violence protections because of these measures,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today released a new report highlighting the harm that several state-level constitutional amendments denying same-sex couples the rights and protections of marriage have caused to families, as the U.S. Senate held a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing designed to help further efforts to pass a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Sen. Sam Brownback, R- Kan., called the hearing.
"If Senator Brownback were really concerned about families, today's hearing would focus on families who have lost health care and domestic violence protections because of these measures," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This hearing is an attack on same-sex couples and is further evidence that the far right is controlling the Senate, and keeping our leaders from focusing on issues that strengthen the whole country."
The report highlights four states that enacted constitutional amendments last year - Missouri, Utah, Ohio and Michigan - where governmental entities and/or individuals have interpreted the constitutional amendments to:
ﾴDeny domestic partner benefits, such as health insurance, to unmarried couples - same- and different-sex.
ﾴArgue that domestic violence laws do not apply to opposite-sex unmarried couples.
ﾴAttempt to void a custody agreement between a same-sex couple.
The language of the amendments in the four states is very similar to the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment, S.J. Res. 1. A similar federal amendment was soundly defeated last year in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Today's hearing, entitled "Less Faith in Judicial Credit: Are Federal and State Marriage Protection Initiatives Vulnerable to Judicial Activism?" included testimony from Dr. Kathleen Moltz, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital of Michigan. Moltz, along with her partner, are trying to protect Moltz's domestic partner health benefits in the wake of a state constitutional amendment adopted in November purporting to define marriage as being between a man and woman. Michigan's attorney general has advised that the constitutional amendment bars state and local governments from providing domestic partnerships benefits - including health insurance - to their employees.
"People advocating for discrimination against same-sex couples in the Constitution always try to frame it around so-called 'judicial activism' so they can gloss over the fact that millions of fair-minded Americans - a majority, in fact - oppose discrimination against same-sex couples and their children," said Solmonese.
ﾴDownload the new HRC report
ﾴRead written testimony from today's hearing from Dr. Kathleen Moltz and HRC President Joe Solmonese
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