Getting married in the U.S.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

The United States Senate on Wednesday of last week took up and failed to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment which would make same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

This action effectively ended consideration of the Federal Marriage Amendment until after the presidential election, but I am confident that the issue will be brought up again in the future.

Several constituents in our state senate district have written urging me to &uot;vote for&uot; the Federal Marriage Amendment, and I have had to explain to them that, as a state office holder, I do not have a vote on this issue.

The only elected officials from Alabama who cast a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment are United States Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions.

Although I do not have a vote on this issue, I do strongly support a ban on same-sex marriages.

In my judgment, such &uot;marriages&uot; are already unconstitutional but several courts across the land have stated otherwise which makes it a very important national issue.

The state of Virginia recently passed what they refer to as the Affirmation of Marriage Act.

It became effective on July 1 and expressly bans same-sex marriage.

The measure also voids any &uot;civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same-sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage.&uot;

I think Virginia’s action will probably be a trend among the states.

In the most recently concluded annual session of the Alabama Legislature a bill was introduced, which I strongly supported, to declare same-sex marriage in Alabama unconstitutional.

The bill passed the Senate but did not receive consideration in the House of Representatives.

I am confident this measure will be introduced again when we next meet in session.

The dictionary definition of marriage is &uot;the mutual relation of husband and wife; wedlock; the social institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependency for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.&uot;

The Biblical creation account indicates clearly that the family is the central unit in society and that its character and maintenance is determined by marriage.

The metaphor of marriage is used in the Bible as descriptive of the intimate relationship between God and Israel and between Christ and the Church.

So the rite of marriage was instituted by God Himself who declares the alliance to be between a man and a woman, a male and a female.

The significant references to marriage throughout the Old and New Testaments make clear the importance of acknowledging and respecting this institution, and none of us has the authority to change what God has ordained.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.