New Bill Banning Same-sex Marriage Only Needs Simple Majority to Pass

( [email protected] ) Jul 24, 2004 05:55 PM EDT

A bill introduced on July 22, called the National Marriage Law, could supercede all state laws and ban same-sex “marriage” nationwide, including in Massachusetts. Already, the bill has 37 sponsors and only needs a simple majority to pass.

The first sentence of the bill, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman,” is identical to that of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which was filibustered by the Senate in mid-July.

Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), who introduced the bill, ultimately wants a constitutional amendment to protect marriage but supports the National Marriage Law as a temporary fix.

"I support the Federal Marriage Amendment, but amending the Constitution is a difficult, lengthy process," Mr. Istook said. "This is a backup plan. We need to act now to protect this all-important building block of our society, until we can get the stronger protection of a constitutional amendment."

On July 22, the House passed the Marriage Protection, which strengthens the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to a consitutional level. Under DOMA, federal courts cannot order states to recognize same-sex “marriages” that took place in other states but state courts are still allowed to legalize same-sex "marriage."

The National Marriage Law will accomplish what DOMA cannot – define marriage in the United States as only between one man and one woman.

"This is the only [bill] which will stop same-sex marriages from occurring immediately," Micah Swafford, press secretary for Istook, told Baptist Press. "It will supercede state laws."

In a statement, Istook explained how his bill would supercede state laws.

"Federal statute preempts most state laws under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and states are prohibited from enacting laws, constitutions or other provisions that are inconsistent with the federal statute,” he said. “This applies but is not limited to issues such as consumer leases, credit billing, hazardous substances, motor vehicle safety, traffic safety, and over-the counter drugs."

"We need a national standard for marriage,” Istook said in a statement. “The institution of marriage is too important to our families and to our society to let a few activist judges control this issue."

The bill is HR 4892.