Supporters, foes sound off on marriage law repeal
At a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, opponents of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act leaned on arguments they made for its enactment 15 years ago while supporters said the time has come to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, cited a 1947 Supreme Court case that declared, “Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.” He said sanctioning same-sex marriage could lead to marriages between “fathers and daughters… mothers and sons” and “poly-amorous relationships.”
Sen. Charles Grassley, also an Iowa Republican, derided the name of Feinstein’s bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, as Orwellian.
But Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., countered that discrimination against gays and lesbians is akin to the legalized racial segregation of his childhood in the South, of separate drinking fountains and restaurants for “coloreds.” He said the government should “encourage people to love, not hate.”
The Senate’s largest hearing room overflowed for the first-ever testimony on repeal, at a time when an estimated 80,000 married same-sex couples live in the United States, and six states and the District of Columbia allow such unions.