Jul 19 2006
05:55 pm

Lincoln's problem is that nobody who knows him would put it past him. On the whole, though, after reading the part of the speech that was snipped from Think Progress, I think Lincoln is on the right side of the issue, which is against using religion to score political points. His problem is exactly as an astute friend of mine has said: Lincoln is an exact mirror of his District....

30% progressive

40% FundXtian

15% Damfino

25% batshit crazy 

(Text after the jump)


Floor Speech on H.J.Res. 88, the Marriage Protection Amendment

Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-TN), July 18, 2006


I thank the gentleman for yielding.  Mr. Speaker, while I am a cosponsor of the amendment, I rise today with some serious concerns.


Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the use of faith and marriage to score political points.  I am also concerned about the scope of the amendment.


First I will talk about the amendment's scope.  In my opinion, the amendment limits its ability to truly protect marriage.  As written, the amendment defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  Sounds good, but I don't think this alone will be enough to totally protect marriage.


Mr. Speaker, it is my belief that the amendment does not go far enough.  If we truly want to protect marriage, which I think we all do, then we must go after the other evils that threaten each and every one of our marriages.  These are the evils of divorce, adultery, and abuse.  The amount of divorce that occurs in this country has to be a threat to marriage.  What do our children learn when they see folks getting divorced left and right only to remarry and then get divorced again?  What kind of example does this set? This occurrence clearly undermines the values that are at the foundation of every marriage.  Of course I am speaking of the commonly recited tenet, "Till death do us part."  Marriage is for life, and this amendment needs to include that basic tenet.  Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I think we should expand the scope of the amendment to outlaw divorce.


Going further Mr. Speaker, I believe infidelity, adultery is an evil that threatens the heart of a marriage, which is commitment.  How can we as a country allow adulterers to go unpunished and continue to make a mockery of marriage?  Again, by doing so what lessons are we teaching our children about marriage?  I certainly think it shows we are not serious about protecting the institution.  This is why I think the amendment should outlaw adultery and make it a felony.


Additionally Mr. Speaker, we must address spousal abuse and child abuse.  Think of how many marriages end in divorce or permanent separation because one spouse becomes abusive.  And, Mr. Speaker, I personally think child abuse may be the most despicable act one can commit.  This is why, if we are truly serious about protecting marriage to the point where we will amend the Constitution, we should extend the punishment of abuse to prevent those who do such a heinous act from ever running for any elected position anywhere.  We should also prevent those who commit adultery or get a divorce from running for office.  Mr. Speaker, this House must lead by example.  If we want those watching on C-Span to actually believe we are serious about protecting marriage, then we should go after the other major threats to the institution, not just the threat that homosexuals may some day be allowed to marry in a state other than Massachusetts.  And elected officials should certainly lead by example.


Now, for my second concern: Mr. Speaker, as a person of faith who has been blessed with a wonderful marriage for forty-two years, I am deeply troubled that some may be using this amendment to score political points with their base.  Why else would we be voting on an amendment that has no chance of becoming law since the Senate has already rejected it?  Why else would we vote on an amendment that may not be necessary when you consider that 45 states have enacted either constitutional or statutory bans on gay marriage, and other states, like my home state of Tennessee, have put such bans on the ballot in November?  Why too would CQToday, in their July 17, 2006 issue report that this amendment is "part of the legislative 'values' agenda rolled out  . . . to rally the GOP base in the run-up to the November elections?" 


Mr. Speaker, this is very concerning to me.  Just as one should not take the Lord's name in vain, I also believe a good value for folks is to never undermine religion or marriage by using them to score political points with a base in order to win elections. 


In closing Mr. Speaker, I think it is time for both parties to stop pandering to bases that live on the political fringes, and instead remember that there is one true base-the American people. The American public deserve more than talk.  They deserve action. The people I represent would be more motivated if we would address the $3 a gallon gasoline and cut the cost in half, reduce the cost of health care for a family of four, from the $1000 it currently costs for health care insurance for four, increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, address illegal immigration, reduce budget deficits, and balance our budget.


I yield back the balance of my time.

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