Congresswoman wages battle against gay
By ROBERT WELLER, Associated Press
DENVER (July 2, 10:00 a.m. PDT) - While gays claim victory with a
Supreme Court decision knocking down a ban on sodomy, freshman
Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave insists the real battle is over the
right of homosexuals to marry.
And she is leading a charge to make sure that doesn't happen.
The mother of four from the plains of northeast Colorado has
introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that would
effectively outlaw gay marriage. The bill has 25 co-sponsors and the
endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
"I am firmly committed to keeping marriage as it is now, between
a woman and man," Musgrave said in a telephone interview this week.
Musgrave's proposal, offered May 21, has been referred to the
House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. It says:
"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 under state or federal law shall be construed to require
that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon
unmarried couples or groups."
To be added to the Constitution, the proposal must be approved by
two-thirds of the House and the Senate and ratified by three-fourths
of the states.
State Republican leaders Tuesday shrugged off any controversy.
Gov. Bill Owens said Colorado was not affected by the Supreme Court
ruling and noted the state already has a law banning gay marriage.
State GOP Chairman Ted Halaby said he had not heard of Musgrave's
During her eight years in the Colorado Legislature, Musgrave
co-sponsored a successful 2000 bill that defined a marriage as a
union between one man and one woman.
She also pressed for legislation expanding the right to carry
concealed weapons and requiring doctors to provide brochures and a
videotape to women seeking abortions. The video would include a
Same-sex marriages are legal in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Canada's government announced last month that it would enact similar
legislation soon, following a court ruling that clears the way for
Musgrave cited that decision and the possibility of a similar
ruling by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts as reasons for
proposing the amendment.
"Homosexual activists are wanting to go to unelected judges to
get their way rather than going through the legislative process and
allowing the people to decide," she said.
Some recent polls have suggested opposition to gay marriage is
slipping. But Musgrave appears to have plenty of support in some
Bill Maier, vice president of the conservative Focus on the
Family Christian group in Colorado Springs, said same-sex marriages
threaten "the very foundation of society."
"The Federal Marriage Amendment is the only sure way to protect
the institution of marriage from being dismantled by gay activists
and radical deconstructionist judges," he said.
Rick Cendo, who plans to travel to Canada to marry his partner,
Gary Hamner, said Musgrave and others underestimate the commitment
of gays to their partners.
"I've been with Gary for 11 years. That is not a bad record," he
said. "What are we doing to do that is going to hurt marriage? I am
as much a part of this civilization as anyone else. I don't want it
to go under."
Winnie Stachelberg, political director of the Human Rights
Campaign, said the Constitution has traditionally been used to
expand rights. She said critics should spell out how gay unions will
undermine the institution of marriage.
"This isn't about forcing churches and synagogues to perform
marriages," she said. "It is about civil marriages. Marriage is a