Nadler Denounces House GOP's Attack on Constitution, Civil Rights

Sep 29, 2004

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, today rebuked House Republicans for forcing a vote on a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. The amendment failed by a vote of 227-186 and previously failed in the Senate. Nadler's statement on the amendment follows:

"House Republicans are trying to write discrimination into the Constitution, for the first time amending our sacred document to deny civil rights to a large number of Americans. It is shameful for them to undermine this country's historic commitment to protect our citizenry's right to equal protection under the law.

"The timing of this vote is an obvious attempt by the Republicans to drive a wedge in the 2004 campaign. Rather than confront and offer remedies to address the historic loss of jobs, the largest deficits in American history, and inequities in public education and health care that have occurred under their watch, the Republicans have chosen to play politics by choosing instead to focus on a federal marriage amendment that already failed in the Senate and therefore has no chance of passage during this session of Congress.

"Let me be perfectly clear: As the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, I take matters of Constitutional integrity extremely seriously. For instance, I do not believe that the government should be in the business of telling any religious organization what it can or cannot do. The right for religious institutions to protect their own destiny is a sacred principle; however, that is not what we are talking about here. What we are talking about is another extremely important Constitutional principle: the right to ensure that all Americans are treated equally under the law. If this amendment were to pass, it would permanently deny a large group of Americans access to over 1,000 rights and responsibilities under federal law that all Americans should enjoy, including access to Social Security benefits, immigration rights, and veterans' survivor benefits."