Week Ending September 26, 2003
Religious Freedom Coalition
September 26, 2003 5:44PM EST
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 26, 2003
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 26, 2003
CONGRESS IN SESSION
Back on September 4, 2003Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) chaired a hearing titled, "What is Needed to Defend the Bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act of 1996?" Senator Cornyn is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. Although the hearing drew relatively little media attention it touched upon an important issue, the viability of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA)
As chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition I worked very hard to have DOMA passed by the House and Senate. There was tremendous pressure from the media and the far left to kill the bill. Those opposed included the ACLU, the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way and a vast number of homosexual groups. Once on the floor for a vote not many Senators or congressmen wanted to side with the homosexual minions who opposed it. As a result the Senate passed DOMA 85-14 and the House passed it 342-76. As these were veto proof votes, President Bill Clinton was forced to sign DOMA into law.
DOMA had two major sections. First and foremost DOMA defined marriage for federal purposes as being between one man and one woman. Secondly DOMA stated that no state was required to honor a "same sex" marriage license from another state. Thus if Hawaii or Vermont were to issue a marriage license to a "same sex" couple no other state would be forced to recognize it. Numerous states passed their own versions of DOMA defining marriage as between one man and one woman. (See Senator Conryn’s statement.)
But in America the laws passed by elected members of state legislators and the Congress mean very little anymore. Tired old men in long black robes who have been appointed for life now determine the laws of the land. Knowing this, the liberals and the homosexuals immediately challenged various aspects of the DOMA at the state level. At the time we passed DOMA we were warned by legal scholars that Federal courts and perhaps the Supreme Court would invalidate it at some future time. Since the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas legalized sodomy that time is now near. Thus the need for Senate hearings conducted by Senator Cronyn. While some believe DOMA will prevail, most believe it will fall to court challenge.(SEE MORE ON MARRIAGE IN THE HOUSE SECTION)
Several months agoMayor Anthony Williams and President George W. Bush held a press conference at the Kipp Academy in Washington, DC which I attended and reported on. The purpose was to promote a small experiment to allow kids in the failing DC schools to have the same choice of schools as do the kids of congressmen and Senators. The idea was to issue 2,000 vouchers to low-income kids in those failing schools. Washington, DC spends $12,046 per child compared to an average of $7,079 nationwide and still lags back at last place in virtually everything from SAT scores to reading ability at fourth grade level. President George W. Bush is a strong supporter of school choice.
It has become a number one priority of the NEA (the huge national teachers' union) to stop this program. They fear that if it works the idea will spread and the monopoly they have on the nation's schools will be lost. The NEA is willing to spend millions of dollars to lobby against this small program. Their campaign went so well that the DC vouchers passed the House by just one vote. Senator Ted Kennedy led the fight in the Senate to stop the vouchers. Two liberal Senators, Feinstein (D-CA) and Landrieu (D-LA) have been swayed by Mayor Anthony Williams to vote for the vouchers. Yesterday a final vote was put off until next week. I have high hopes for the bill now.
The reaction to freshman CongresswomanMarilyn Musgrave's proposed Amendment to the Constitution to protect marriage has split the conservative community in Washington, DC. The original problem began because the language of the amendment was never presented to or discussed with more than a handful of conservative leaders before it was officially proposed. It was presented as "Here it is, support it," with virtually no discussion. Many groups found the second paragraph of the amendment a major problem because it specifically tells states that they don't have to, but that they may, enact civil unions or give benefits to same sex unions. Thus the Amendment says that marriage is for one man and one woman only, but two men may have a civil union and receive all the rights and benefits of marriage if so granted by a state as long as it is called something else. This was added to satisfy economic conservative groups that are strongly in favor of states' rights, but had the effect of turning away key social conservative groups. Some groups who support the language claim the second section does not have that effect. That is the problem. The Amendment was originally written by Judge Robert Bork to mimic current constitutional language. It is a very short amendment and I believe in the future can be reinterpreted by judges who may find a "conflict" between it and other articles of the Constitution.
Next week the major conservative groups including the RFC will meet to iron out their differences on the Amendment and perhaps more specific language will be added.
There will be aMarriage Protection press conference at the National Press Club here in Washington on Thursday morning where every major group supporting marriage between one man and one woman will be represented. I will speak on behalf of the Religious Freedom Coalition. It is my prayer, and I hope yours also, that a consensus language on a Constitutional Amendment will be reached by the various conservative groups prior to the news conference.
Dissension among conservatives on theFederal Marriage Amendment is causing great displeasure at the White House and Republican Party headquarters. The Republican Party chairman, Ed Gillespie, wants opposition to homosexual "marriage" to be a major part of the Republican platform in 2004. Polls show the vast majority of Americans oppose homosexual marriage. Mr. Gillespie understands that social conservatives are energized by this issue and will vote next November for the party that stands up for the traditional institution of marriage. But, as of now, there is no rallying point because of the division among conservative groups over amendment language. Perhaps next week's meetings among conservative groups will change that. (For general reference see Bill Bennett's Mending the Hearth)
HOUSES OF WORSHIP FREE SPEECH ACT
Congressman Walter Jones now has 161 cosponsors for theHouses of Worship Free Speech Act (HR 235). A special Internet site set up to support the bill states: "HR 235 was introduced to liberate clergy from the muzzle imposed by the absolute ban on all speech that may be regarded as "political," and thereby enable them to speak out on all vital moral and political questions of the day. It will free houses of worship from the fear and anxiety and uncertainty created by the threat that the IRS will impose financial penalties or revoke tax-exempt status altogether." The RFC has prepared a downloadable MS Power Point presentation in support of the HR 235. Click here to view Power Point. If your congressman has not co-sponsored this important legislation please contact him. View a list of current congressional sponsors here. Please contact your congressman if he has not signed on as a co-sponsor with Congressman Jones.
To the surprise of many European leaders,President George W. Bush came down hard on the sex trafficking industry during his speech to the United Nations this past week. His comments were a direct insult to many European Union nations who call prostitutes "sex workers" and offer them government benefits rather than jail cells. It is nations such as France and Germany who have fueled sex trafficking and sex slavery by legalizing prostitution. We applaud the President for publicly addressing this evil practice at the United Nations General Assembly. Below are the President's comments:
There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade. This commerce in human life generates billions of dollars each year -- much of which is used to finance organized crime.
There's a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life -- an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery. - President George W. Bush(SEE FULL REMARKS)
RELIGION OF PEACE
The rhetoric from the White House declaring Islam as a "religion of peace" has somewhat subsided. This phrase has irritated me since the 9-11 Jihad attack against us. Osama bin Laden is a real follower of Mohammed and a true Muslim. A "moderate Muslim" is sort of like a "pro-abortion Catholic," in other words, not really a Muslim at all. Shortly after 9-11, I called on the government to examine the security clearance of all Muslims who were associated with Mosques that had radical Imams. I was ridiculed by the establishment. The FBI, CIA and the military actually recruited Muslim translators for sensitive work after 9-11. I found this very odd considering that of the 7 million Americans of Arab descent, 6 million are Christians and only 1 million are Muslims. Why not hire Christians who speak Arabic?
Now we are faced with the results.A Muslim Captain in the US Army is under arrest as is an Airman; both are under suspicion of espionage. At least two more Muslims are under investigation for espionage. At the beginning of the Iraq war a Muslim in our army tossed a grenade into a tent full of officers, killing two. Still the military, the FBI and the CIA recruit Muslims as translators rather than Arab Christians. I guess we must remain politically correct even if it costs us the security of our troops and of our nation.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COALITION ACTIVITIES
CHRISTMAS STORE OPEN
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William J. Murray, Chairman -Religious Freedom Coalition
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