News Intelligence Analysis





House Passes HR 3313, the “Marriage Protection Act”

With Two More Dominionist Bills to Go


By Katherine Yurica



BELLINGHAM, July 22, 2004—By a vote of 233 to 194, the House of Representatives took the first step in U.S. history, to change the system of checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution. Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader said, “This bill will impact the very foundation of our government. It impedes the uniformity of federal law, it sets a dangerous precedent, and it does grave damage to the separation of powers.”


Speaking on behalf of the “Marriage Protection Act,” Michael Schwartz, a spokesman for Concerned Women for America said of the bill, which passed the house on July 22, 2004, “The House has done its part today to build a wall of defense around the institution of marriage. Congress will not allow federal judges to use the Full Faith and Credit clause as an excuse to overturn the governing bodies of states that choose to defend marriage from the wildfire that activists have started in Massachusetts. Now we need the Senate to act quickly to pass this legislation.”


The “Marriage Protection Act,” H. R. 3313, removes jurisdiction from all federal courts to hear challenges to the Full Faith and Credit section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that says that states don’t have to recognize marriages from other states that violate state law or public policy. It also takes jurisdiction from federal courts to hear challenges to HR 3313.


Nancy Pelosi said the act in no way protects marriage. “In fact, I think it is not a protection of the rights of Americans.” Pelosi explained, “This court stripping bill is not about reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act, or even about gay marriage. The fundamental issue in this bill is whether we want to undermine the Supreme Court, the federal judiciary and our system of checks and balances.”


In 1982, Senator Barry Goldwater spoke against a court stripping bill, warning his colleagues in the House, that it was a “frontal assault on the independence of the federal courts, and it is a dangerous blow to the foundations of a free society.”


Nancy Pelosi said H.R. 3313 will “constitute the first time in the over 200 years of our country’s history that Congress has enacted legislation totally eliminating any federal court from considering the constitutionality of federal legislation.” The bill allows only state courts the ability “to decide questions related to this provision of a federal statute.”


House Judiciary Committee Chairman, F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), said, “This legislation ensures the people and the States will have a say in marriage policy. The American people will be protected from a single federal judge or a few federal judges attempting to impose same-sex marriage upon this nation.”

Two similar bills have also been introduced in Congress: HR 3920, (“Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004”) which grants Congress the power to overturn a Supreme Court decision that rules an act of Congress is unconstitutional, and HR 3799 (S 2082) the “Constitution Restoration Act of 2004,” which limits the power of the Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary system to hear certain cases based upon “religious faith.” Chuck Baldwin, a right-wing reactionary columnist said, “The passage of H.R. 3799 and S. 2082 should be regarded as the most important item on the conservative agenda this year! It is no hyperbole to say that the passage of this bill is significantly more important than who wins the White House this November. Yes, I really mean that.”



Katherine Yurica is an investigative reporter and the publisher of the Yurica Report.

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