Remarks at a House Appropriations Committee hearing.
Thank you very much. And then I just have one other comment that I want to share with you. This month you will hear cases that are of the utmost importance to many American families, that is whether gay Americans have the same constitutional rights to marry as straight couples, and whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of Federal recognition and benefits. I mention this not because I expect either of you to speak to this issue. In fact, I know you will not. President Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA into law and now requests its demise, recently wrote, the question of these cases rests on, “Whether it is consistent with the principles of a Nation that honors freedom, equality, and justice above all, and is therefore unconstitutional.”
In the time that has passed since 1996, my views, along with President Clinton and Obama's and many of my colleagues, the country's, the face and makeup of our families have all changed for what I think is for the better. Those of us in Congress, regardless of religion or party, represent human beings in loving relationships who wish to have the rights granted to those of us sitting on this podium today. I cannot in good conscience tell my constituents that their country does not value their bond, their commitment, or their family. I ask you just to consider my words, and thank you again. It is a privilege to have you before us today. Thank you.