Dear Mr. Hedo:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding a proposal to amend the Constitution for the purpose of defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I appreciate hearing your comments on this important matter.
In 1996, the Congress passed and the President signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I supported the passage of this legislation. This law has two important facets. First, the law defines marriage for the purpose of the Federal government as a union between one man and one woman. Second, it provides that no state or local jurisdiction may be forced to recognize a legal union created in another state or jurisdiction, if the definition of that union is contradictory to their own.
The legalization of same sex marriage in states such as Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts has led many citizens to believe it is necessary to amend the United States Constitution in order to protect traditional marriage. Although I support traditional marriage as defined in DOMA, and although I appreciate the goal of the proposed amendment, I do not believe it is necessary to amend the Constitution at this time.
I believe this is an issue most appropriately addressed at the state level, and most states are working hard to protect marriage. Indeed, nearly every state has enacted statutory or constitutional protection for traditional marriage. Furthermore, DOMA ensures those states will not be forced to recognize unions created in the handful of states with legalized same-sex marriage. Therefore, I believe it is premature to amend our founding document at this time.
Thank you for contacting my office regarding proposals to amend the Constitution to protect traditional marriage. Rest assured I will keep your thoughts on this issue in mind if the Senate considers this issue or any related issue. Should you have any further questions, please contact my office or visit my website at www.specter.senate.gov.
Now, I know that Arlen Specter favors DOMA and banning marriage equality at the state level now, but given the way this primary has gone I'm pretty sure that in a week or two he will be demanding that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell immediately sign an executive order legalizing gay marriage.