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Brownback: N.J. marriage ruling deepens "constitutional crisis"


Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Sen. Sam Brownback (R) ![][1][(CNN)New Jersey court recognizes right to same-sex unions:][2] In a decision likely to stoke the contentious election-year debate over same-sex marriage, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples. ... Sen. Sam Brownback a leading social conservative in Congress, said the New Jersey decision "warrants swift, decisive action by Congress in the form of passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment." "Huge social changes should be decided by the people and their elected representatives and should not be forced by the courts," the Kansas Republican said in a written statement. The federal amendment, which President Bush supports, has stalled in Congress. It has so far failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to be submitted to the states for ratification. [(KYW NewsRadio)NJ Gay Marriage Ruling Could Impact Elections:][3] The New Jersey Supreme Court decision on same-sex couples could affect elections across the country. ...Conservatives are again using the phrase "activist judges" in response. Republican Senator Sam Brownback said the decision "deepens" a "constitutional crisis."[(Helsinki Commission) Helsinki Commission to Hold Briefing on Tajikistan's Upcoming Presidential Elections; Witness Added:][4] Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R- NJ), Chairman and Co-Chairman respectively of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), announce the convening of a Commission briefing entitled "Democracy in Tajikistan: Preview of the Presidential Election" on Thursday, October 26, 2006, at 2 p.m. in room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Tajikistan was the only former Soviet state to experience a protracted civil war after the fall of communism. Despite significant poverty, the country has made notable gains since the peace agreement signed almost 10 years ago. The accord created a power-sharing agreement among the warring parties, including the only legal Islamic party in Central Asia.Sen. Pat Roberts (R)![][5][(New York Times) Democratic Donors Optimistic About Senate Prospects:][6] The NRSC reported raising $1.6 million combined from 19 Republican senators. The NRSC received $600,000 from the campaign committee of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, who presumably would succeed retiring Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist as majority leader if Republicans win enough seats Nov. 7 to maintain control of the chamber. ... Notable transfers from the campaign committees of Republican senators:Pat Roberts, Kan.: $50,000. [1]: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/fr/thumb/c/c8/Sam_Brownback.jpg/150px-Sam_Brownback.jpg [2]: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/10/25/gay.marriage/ [3]: http://www.kyw1060.com/pages/114008.php?contentType=4&contentId=230027 [4]: http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=75044 [5]: http://roberts.senate.gov/Roberts-020405-18060-080-CFFflipped.jpg [6]: http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2006/10/23/cq_1689.html


Baille 10 years, 9 months ago

There is no "constutional crisis." So everyone gets treated fairly under the law. So what? Marriage is saved for churches, but the government can not discriminate based on orientation in matters of civil unions. Desegregation was a huge social change that required the Courts to actually apply the US Constitution. The civil righst moevement was a huge social change that required the Courts to actually apply the Constitution. However, changing the consitution to sanction discrimination - to actively promote the opression of a whole class of citizens - is an unwise move.

Further, these decisions are based on state constitutions. Where does a so-called Republican get off on trying to usurp local rule and compromise the rights of the states to chart their own course? Sounds more like big gummint to me.

weterica 10 years, 9 months ago

"Some things change and some things don't. Marriage is one that doesn't."--kansanbyheritage

I agree, marriage hasn't changed at all, never, it is the same in every culture, exactly the same. it has never changed! Contant as the setting sun!

When I was sold for a few hogs to my husband as his forth wife we had this very disussion. He then took my virginity and hung the sheet outside our room for all his relatives to view so to prove that I was indeed a virgin. When he died his brother married me and all my husband's other wives. It was so breathtaking to be part of such an unchanging constant.

napoleon969 10 years, 9 months ago

Honestly, can anyone really believe this jerk (Senator Sam) thinks he's presidential material. Let's all dig in and contribute to a "Send Sam Brownback to be with his buddies, the Taliban," fund. He's becoming an embarassment.

EXks 10 years, 9 months ago

"Procreation is the entire reason for the institution of marriage"

Procreation is only ONE aspect of marriage, NOT the entire reson for the instituion of marriage.

Does this mean that infertile couples who cannot procreate do not have a VALID marriage? What about couples who choose NOT to procreate? Does your logic also mean that sexual consumption is ONLY for the benefit of procreation?

robinrander 10 years, 9 months ago

kansanbyheritage: "Some things change and some things don't. Marriage is one that doesn't."

Check your facts. Polygamy, incest, subjugation of women and property rights, bans on interracial marriage. It's all there in the history of marriage. Not so much now. Marriage evolves. Deal with it.

kansanbyheritage 10 years, 9 months ago

Racial discrimination and violence are matters that should not be tolerated. They are upsetting and demand justice. But should I be upset that I cannot procreate a child with another man? No judge or anyone else can change this (whether you call it unjust or not). And that is the entire reason for the institution of marriage.

This is not an American religious right thing. The religious right in America, unfortunately, recognizes divorce.Don't cloud the issue with bringing up outrageous instances where what should be marriages have failed. My own parents do not recognize the indisolvibility (sp?) of their marriage, but that does not make them right.

Some things change over time; hopefully for the better. Who would have thought the rights of the disabled would be so much improved in the past two decades. But unfortunately many things are changing for the worse because of men(think of the abuse of the natural environment, the unnatural violence everywhere, the prevalence of abortions, the chemicals we are forced to breathe and ingest, our loss of privacy....). Let's not let the natural institution of marriage be changed by men.

EXks 10 years, 9 months ago

Brownback and the GOP have nothing to offer but hyped up hysteria and fear mongering. Their CUT AND RUN record on tax cuts for the average working American, corporate welfare, and failed military adventures speaks for itself.

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't think that the constitution needs amended nor is the institution of marriage in jeopardy if gay marriages are recognized. I personally think it is high time. If you have problems with the word marriage, (as my husband does), call it a civil union. I don't think the wording matters, because gays and lesbians only want the same benefits and rights as straight married couples. The amendment seems like legalized discrimination to me.
I am glad I live in the only county in Kansas which voted against the amendment.

BunE 10 years, 9 months ago

Constitutional Crisis is when the USC stops the counting of votes but instead of agreeing, Gore call for a storming of the Capital. That John and Steve want to recognize their relationship under the law is hardly a crisis. Sammy boy must be hurting for some attention.

drewdun 10 years, 9 months ago

Bottom line: we all know what this is going to be - nothing more than desperate pandering from here until the election to get their crazies to the polls to 'vote agin them gays.' Its really pathetic that the party that has pretty much screwed up everything they have touched has to motivate their base with overt hatred. And there are PLENTY of wingnuts that will eat this crap right up. The only question is, will the independents, who have been breaking strongly against the Pubs thus far, let this non-issue override their anger over Iraq, deficits, immigration, healthcare, etc? I doubt it.

The Pubs have their solid base of approximately 30% (who would follow them over a cliff) which this 'issue' will motivate. Big deal. These 'people' were going to vote (R) anyways. The GOP is still going down in flames, regardless of how much they try to pimp this tired non-issue.

Cait McKnelly 10 years, 9 months ago

Constitutional CRISIS??? That's not a Constitutional crisis! Bush gutting Habeas Corpus is a Constitutional crisis.

verity 10 years, 9 months ago

I think the definition of "activist judges" is that they did not rule the way you wanted them too.

"Constitutional Crisis"? Huh? Am I missing something? Let's talk about real crises, like, say, endless war in the Middle East, Diebold easy to hack voting machines, warrantless wiretaps . . .

kuhusker 10 years, 9 months ago

What is Brownback talking about? There's no constitutional crisis. The only people affected by this ruling live in New Jersey. Kansas has a contitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, so there's no risk that a gay couple will go to New Jersey and come back to Kansas and try to get Kansas to recognize their civil unions -- hell, Vermont has had civil unions for 7 years and this hasn't happened.

Brownback is just being a demagogue...and ironically for someone who who claims to be a conservative, he is trying ot get the federal government to interfere in a matter better left to individual states.

ThomasJefferson 10 years, 9 months ago

Voters need to turn Senator Brownshirt and his Christian Reich congressional co-conspirators out of office before they turn America into a so-called Christian Republic. That is their ultimate goal.

kansanbyheritage 10 years, 9 months ago

Even though this can be so upseting to some of us, I think Brownback is right on. Some things change and some things don't. Marriage is one that doesn't. You cannot really compare it at all to the issue of civil rights for different races. How many civil rights activists would turn over in their graves if they heard of such a comparison. It seems ludicrous to even have to think of amending the constitution or even passing a statute to define marriage as it has existed in cultures for time immemorial, accross all ethnic and racial lines. But for any judge to do so just goes to show what crazy times we live in and a constitutional amendment might be the unfortunate necesscity to regain sanity.

ksmoderate 10 years, 9 months ago

Brownback is too busy being a homophobe.

Baille 10 years, 9 months ago

And what about those post-menopausal women that would like to get married? I guess we should pass a law that prohibits geriatric marriages.

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm uncertain what the logical connection between the constitutional crisis of a President who has set himself up as a monarch, broken our laws, and defied God's moral laws has to do with a nice lesbian couple from Hackensack, New Jersey, who want to set up house together (and if polls can be believed, do so with the approval of the majority of Jerseyans).

But then I've learned to not take Brownback very seriously about anything that matters. There's something a little odd about being aghast at idea of responsible same-sex couples wanting to protect their and their childrens' interests but dancing a little jig at the idea of, say, opposite-sex murderers who might want to tie the knot (and would face no legal barrier).

What's wrong Sam? Carefully-timed terrorism alerts not packing the electoral punch they once did?

ronwell_dobbs 10 years, 9 months ago

I would think someone that works in and around the laws should have enough brains to recognize that the NJ Supreme Court was working exactly in the way that strict constructionists like Alito and Scalia would expect them. They simply said that there is no law on the books in New Jersey that prohibits same sex couples from enjoying the benefits of marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy. Period.

It now goes to the Legislature in NJ that makes that laws that (hopefully) represent not only the will of the people, but ideas like human decency, natural law, historical recognition of past discriminatory mistakes, etc. I somehow doubt this is how it will shake out, though.

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

So Kansan, you don't think that all couples deserve the same rights, because one couple happens to be of the same sex? These are just people who want a recognized union, and there more people upset about that than the fact that over 40% of the straight marriages end in divorce.
I don't see why marriage needs to be protected by this amendment.

EXks 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks mom_of_three for your post!

I'm proud of Douglas County for taking a stand against intolerance and discrimination.

I wish I could introduce my neighbors, a same sex couple who have been together for 30 years, both ex-Vietnam veterans who served their country with pride, pay their fair share of city, state and federal taxes, mind their own business and go bowling every Thursday night to those who argue 'against' marriage EQUALITY for same sex couples. They do not ask for 'special rights,' but rather ask for nothing other than to be treated equally.

For those who argue against marriage equality, they have yet to provide a single rational VALID arguement (other than religious) as to why that same sex couple are not entitled EQUAL treatment.

Tychoman 10 years, 9 months ago

Kansan, marriage IS a civil right. To say that the greatest civil rights leaders in history would be spinning in their graves if they heard the discrimination/civil right argument is one of the biggest insults anyone could say. Procreation is far from being the entire reason for instituting marriage. Thanks for New Jersey for coming around.

Brownback is a bigoted hack. Get him out of office!

ronwell_dobbs 10 years, 9 months ago

Actually, let's get this one right. Marriage has its roots in preservation of familial wealth and influence. Marriage represented the equivalent of a business transaction between families, often without the input of the bride and groom.

Word to kansanbyheritage: History predates the United States of America. If you are going to make sweeping statements claiming historical considerations should dominate then you need to hang up the whole religious aspect of marriage. Marriage was often sanctioned (read "approved") by the Church if the Church felt that the particular arrangement was in the interest of preserving the power structure of the society (not to mention if the Church was to receive part of the dowry for "services rendered").

Oh, and don't bother quoting the whole St. Paul thing and Christ marrying the church, blah, blah. Read Bart Ehrman's book to get an idea about how those passages were later manufactured by scribes as needed to support their ideas.

kansanbyheritage 10 years, 9 months ago

I stand corrected on my erroneous comment that procreation is the entire reason for marriage. It is the primary reason, but not the only reason.

Nevertheless, the inability to procreate is an impediment to marriage. There are differing opinions about whether a geriatric marriage is valid. The answer I have heard given contrary to those that argue such marriages are invalid is that there have been instances in history where women thought to be past child bearing years in fact had children.

I know a lot are mad at me for having the opinions that I do. I am no saint and know that some of my personal actions over time have gone against my own beliefs (which is really MUCH worse than someone's else's actions which--regardless of my opinions--are at least consistent with their own beliefs). I know I am not an expert in history, though I do not know if I am any worse at it than others commenting. I am sure some things I believe can be refuted in various ways, so perhaps I should not be allowed to say them. And I will be the first to admit that I have never gotten over my parents not being together--so perhaps that "chip on my shoulder" adds to things. But it is something I feel strongly about and I want to express my opinion: marriage, which I consider a sacrament, should be publicly restricted to one man and one woman. It is what it is.

In spite of my deficiencies and failings, then, I am against domestic abuse; against pre-marital sex; against divorce; against adultery; against pornography; against artificial birth control; against smoking; against drug use; against pollution; against dating at an early age; against polygamy; against same sex marriage. Where I have failed, I will do better, but the fact I fail, does not change what I believe.

I would like to say I am against technology, but here I am on the internet...

Tychoman 10 years, 9 months ago

So you're against two people who love each other spending their lives together?

Classy. I'm really flattered to be able to share the moniker "Kansan by heritage." sarcasm

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

My parents divorced when I was 10, which has nothing to do with what I believe about this subject. I believe everyone has a right to be happy and live their lives as they want. I don't know what difference does it make whether a married couple be a man and a woman, two men or two women. Do I deserve more rights than another woman because I married a man? NO.
If the government is so worried about the sanctity of marriage, then it should be worried about the divorce rate and the number of deadbeat dads and moms.

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

Then allow civil unions, don't use the word marriage and let the equality begin.

BlueRoom 10 years, 9 months ago

I think its not as much about the definition of marriage but about the rights of two people who decide to become a "union" and live their lives together. they should have the same benefits as a married couple.

Celeste Plitz 10 years, 9 months ago

I honestly don't know why people get so worked up about the marriage thing. Big deal, Bob and Brian want to get married. Let them! When there is so much true evil in this world, it makes me sick that politicians are focusing on such a non-issue. What about education? what about crime? War? Homelessness? Hunger? Domestic violence? Child abuse? All things I would think are much more important than who marries who. And to even think about changing our nation's constitution to put in that marriage is between a man and a woman only? Give me a break!

Those gay and lesbian couples out there just want the same rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. There is no harm in that. They are not monsters. They are people with the same hopes and fears, love and dedication that heterosexual people have. Why is love such a bad thing here? Don't we need more love in this world? If we had more of it, maybe the world would be better off, don't you think?

Baille 10 years, 9 months ago

"There are differing opinions about whether a geriatric marriage is valid."

Maybe among the more dogmatic among us, but not according to the law. Grandma's second marriage is just as valid as her first.

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"Nevertheless, the inability to procreate is an impediment to marriage. "

Please list one state where "the inability to procreate is an impediment to marriage." Offhand, I cannot think of one. I don't believe its even a question on the application.

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