Carper Statement on Senate Defeat of Gay Marriage Amendment

WASHINGTON, DC (June 7, 2006) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which was rejected today by the U.S. Senate. “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. When I was governor of Delaware, I signed legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Forty-four other states besides Delaware have similar laws. When President Clinton was in office, he also signed a law that would prohibit states from having to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Those laws are working. No state has been forced to recognize gay marriages performed in Massachusetts or gay civil unions performed in other states. As such, I’m not convinced that we need to take the extraordinary step of amending the Constitution to define marriage. Since the Bill of Rights was approved in 1791, more than 10,000 Constitutional amendments have been considered, but only 17 have been approved. Amending that sacred document is something we should do only when it’s absolutely necessary and when the need is absolutely clear. For the past 200 years, states have controlled and granted marriage rights. States have been the ones to determine who can marry and at what age, as well as the rules of divorce, alimony and child support. This amendment, however, would usurp that tradition. We should stick with what has worked and let states continue to define marriage as they see fit. There are plenty of issues the Senate needs to be addressing – instability in Iraq and Afghanistan, our over-dependence on foreign oil, rising healthcare costs, and our growing national debt, to name but a few. It’s my fervent hope that after today’s vote, we turn to those issues and work together to find solutions to put America back on the right track.”