U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. House of Representatives

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Ryan Votes for Marriage Protection Amendment


September 30, 2004

WASHINGTON –  Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan today voted in favor of a Constitutional amendment maintaining that marriage in the United States consists solely of the union of a man and a woman.    A majority of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the amendment (227-186), although it did not achieve the necessary 2/3 vote required under the amendment process.    

“I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and I have heard from many of the people I represent who are concerned about activist judges abusing their power and rewriting our society’s definition of marriage,” Ryan said.  “I had hoped that this amendment wouldn’t be necessary, but increasingly it appears that laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act will not be sufficient to protect marriage from certain courts that distort state and federal constitutional law.”  

“Marriage is not simply a legal arrangement between individuals.  The institution of marriage is an integral part of our civil society and its significance goes well beyond eligibility for benefits and similar considerations.  Its future should not be left to a few overreaching judges or local officials to decide,” Ryan said.  “That’s why I support this effort to amend our Constitution to protect marriage.”          

In addition to clearly defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the federal marriage amendment would leave the matter of the creation of civil unions, domestic partnerships and other nonmarital arrangements to the state legislatures to determine. 

In order to become part of the U.S. Constitution, this amendment must gain approval through one of the following two routes:

  1. Both houses of Congress pass an amendment by a two-thirds majority. Once the amendment has passed both houses, it must be passed by three-fourths of the states’ legislatures.

  2. A Constitutional Convention can be called by two-thirds of the states’ legislatures to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions. So far, this method has not been used to pass a Constitutional amendment. 

Print version of this document Contact: Kate Dwyer 202-225-3031
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