"Quanta...like spit in the dust of a baseball field" - Cody

July 17, 2004

Barbara Boxer on Gay Marriage

I'm not sure how she got my email address. Possibly from when I sent her, Dianne Feinstein and the President an angry email arguing against a constitutional amendment to take away my civil rights? In any case, here is Senator Boxer's response:

Dear Friend:

The Senate just ended three and a half days of debate on the
Federal Marriage Amendment. In the end, the proponents of the
amendment could not even get a simple majority.

While I considered the debate and the amendment a waste of time
and an insult to many Americans, in the end, I think we learned
something from it. We learned that ultimately, the Senate
would not bow to these election-year high jinks.

Following are some of the comments I delivered on the Senate
floor on this matter. I hope you will contact me if you have
thoughts on this or any other federal matter.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

July 13, 2004

Mr. President, after today, we have 27 legislative days until
adjournment – 27 legislative days to deal with the most
pressing issues facing this country.

We should be passing the Port Security bill and the Rail
Security bill, both of which were approved by the Commerce
Committee unanimously in April. We should be passing the
Transit Security bill, which was approved by the Banking
Committee in May. We should be passing the Nuclear Plant
Security bill, the Chemical Plant Security bill, and the First
Responders bill, all of which were approved by the Environment
and Public Works Committee last year. We could be working on
those bills to improve our safety instead of worrying about two
people of the same gender who have decided to care about each

So there you have it. In the face of all this, what does this
Administration want us to do? A constitutional amendment to
prohibit gay marriage – a constitutional amendment that denies
millions of Americans equal rights because, even if it does not
say so explicitly, it will mean those in domestic partnerships
or civil unions will not get equal rights or equal

An analysis by David Remes, a partner and legal expert at a
well-respected law firm here in Washington, has concluded that
this Constitutional amendment will guarantee legal challenges
to civil unions and domestic partnerships. And many have
noted, including the American Bar Association, that the
language of the Constitutional amendment is so vague that the
amendment could be interpreted to ban civil unions and domestic
partnerships and the benefits that come with them.

This constitutional amendment is divisive to this country. It
is completely unnecessary. And it enshrines discrimination in
the constitution – the constitution – a document meant to
expand rights. We have never amended the Constitution to deny
rights and to deny equality.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this
year, University of Chicago Law School Professor Cass Sunstein
noted that all of the amendments to the Constitution are either
expansions of individual rights or attempts to remedy problems
in the structure of government. The sole exception was the
18th Amendment that established Prohibition – and that attempt
to write social policy into the Constitution was such a
disaster that it was repealed less than 15 years later.

The list of adopted Constitutional amendments is short – but
impressive. There are the first ten amendments – the Bill of
Rights – that guarantee important liberties to the American
people from freedom of speech and the press to the right to be
secure in our homes to the freedom of religion.

There are the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that undo the
terrible injustices of slavery, ensure African-Americans the
right to vote, and guarantee everyone the equal protection of
the laws. There is the 19th Amendment that gave women the
right to vote – the 24th amendment that banned poll taxes to
further ensure minorities the right to vote – and the 26th
amendment that gave 18 year olds the right to vote. Quite an
impressive list – a list that seeks to expand freedom and

The Constitution is a gift we have inherited from those giants
among men who wrote it 217 years ago. As written, it was not
perfect and we have had to amend the Constitution from time to
time. But, it should never be used to take away rights from
decent, loyal Americans. It should never be used to make a
group of Americans permanent second-class citizens.

This amendment would make it impossible for states to say to
two people who love each other, care for each other, and are
willing to die for each other that they have equal inheritance
rights, equal hospital visitation rights, equal benefits under
the law. That’s outrageous.

My state has a domestic partnership law. California’s law is,
I believe, a start. It gives same-sex couples many of the same
rights and responsibilities as married couples. It is not
perfect, and we need to do more. But even this imperfect law
has meant so much to so many people in California. And for
this Congress to take that away from them by amending the
Constitution is wrong and mean spirited.

One of my colleagues says that marriage is under assault from
gay relationships. Well I must tell you straight from my heart
– not one married couple has ever come up to me and said their
marriage was under assault because two people of the same
gender down the street care about each other. If we were truly
concerned about strengthening marriages and strengthening
families in this country, we would pass an increase in the
minimum wage. We would pass a bill to make sure people had the
same health insurance that members of Congress have. We would
pass a bill to make sure that all children have a high quality
education. And instead of freezing the number of kids in after
school programs, we would allow them to partake in programs
that keep them safe until mom or dad comes home from work.

What is really going on here – the real motive here – is crass,
cold, hard politics. This is being done to distract attention
from the real issues facing this country. This constitutional
amendment is being used as a weapon of mass distraction. And
this constitutional amendment is being used as a tool for the
upcoming political campaigns. Shame on us.

The Constitution should never be used as a political football
or as an applause meter before an election. It truly is a
disgrace on the Senate to play politics with the Constitution,
and I hope and pray that the American people see this for what
it is.

Mr. President, we are all God’s children. No two of us are
alike – we have different color eyes; we have different color
hair; we have different color skin; we are different genders;
and yes, we have different sexual orientations. We are all
different, and yet we are all united behind the common cause of
freedom, justice, and equality.

This Constitutional amendment is an attempt to appeal to our
prejudice instead of our compassion – our hate instead of our
hopes – our fears instead of our dreams. This Constitutional
amendment is an appeal to what is the worst in us instead of an
appeal to what is the best in us.

In his first Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln appealed to
“the better angels of our nature.” This amendment flies in the
face of these words. So regardless of what you think about gay
marriage – regardless of whether you are for or against
domestic partnerships and civil unions, which I support
strongly – regardless of whether you support or oppose the law
in your state – this Constitutional amendment should be soundly

I urge my colleagues to do the right thing. I urge my
colleagues to put the Constitution above any possible political
gain. I urge my colleagues to put the Constitution above their
own political well-being. That is the measure of a true
patriot. Voting against this Constitutional amendment is the
right thing to do.

And turning our attention to the awesome, challenging and
difficult issues facing America’s families is what we must do –
for the good of the Senate, for the good of our constituents,
for the good of our country.

Posted by cbsisco at July 17, 2004 02:29 PM