House Testimony By Long-Time Foes Of Equality Underscores Discriminatory Motives Behind Anti-Marriage Amendment

Today's (6/24) testimony in the U.S. House by two long-time
opponents of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality underscores
the discriminatory motives behind the anti-marriage amendment pending in
Congress, said the Human Rights Campaign.

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum, once spoke out against
allowing gays to be in the food-handling business and has vocally
opposed equal rights for GLBT people, and former Rep. Bill Dannemeyer,
R-Calif., who has compared the GLBT rights movement to Nazi Germany and
called "homosexuality" a "tragic, unhealthy, perverse lifestyle," both
testified today before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution at a
hearing on denying marriage to same-sex couples.

"Featuring testimony by two long-time opponents of equality proves the
argument that this is about discrimination," said HRC President Cheryl
Jacques. "Using the Constitution to deny Americans the right to marry
would undermine the Constitution itself – a document meant to ensure our
freedoms, not take them away."

The hearing, titled: "Limiting Federal Court Jurisdiction to Protect
Marriage for the States," also focused on H.R. 3133. The bill,
introduced by subcommittee member Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., would
amend federal law to remove from all federal courts the jurisdiction to
interpret the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

Constitutional scholar Michael J. Gerhardt testified on the
unconstitutionality of Rep. Hostettler's bill, stating that if Congress
prevented courts from being able to decide the constitutionality of
laws, this would violate basic principles of separation of powers. Even
the constitutional scholar called by the opposing side, Martin H.
Redish, questioned the wisdom of the proposed legislation.

"This bill is not only an attack on same-sex couples, but also an
assault on the independence of the federal judiciary," added Jacques.
"It would undermine the separation of powers at the core of our system
of government."

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