Republicans Propose Constitutional Amendment To Mandate Marriage Discrimination

Making good on his threats, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) filed a proposed constitutional amendment Friday to ban same-sex unions. Thus far, 28 of his colleagues — all Republicans — have signed on as cosponsors.

Huelskamp, who sponsors the Kansas marriage inequality amendment in while serving in the state’s senate, ironically fashions himself as a defender of liberty and religious freedom. But his so-called “Marriage Protection Amendment” would strip same-sex families of their federal rights, override state definitions of marriage, and prevent state court from protecting the equal rights of same-sex couples even when their state constitutions mandate so doing.

If ratified, the amendment would enshrine discrimination into the Constitution as follows: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

Among the proposal’s supporters are Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), Walter Jones Jr. (R-NC), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is also a co-sponsor, even though his state backed same-sex marriage last November in a popular referendum.


With 30 percent of Americans living in states with legal civil marriage equality — and polls showing 63 percent of Americans supporting federal recognition of those unions, the measure appears to be a last stand for the dwindling pro-discrimination forces. Even in 2006, when most Americans still opposed same-sex marriage, a similar effort fell 54 votes short.

This year’s proposal, however, is a non-starter. In order to send a constitutional amendment to the states for ratification, it must receive a two-thirds vote in both the U.S. House and Senate. With 54 Senators and 185 Representatives on record in support of marriage equality, threshold is impossible.