Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas believes that Americans know in their hearts the best place to raise children is in a household with a man and a woman.
Brownback, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, is a Republican who has served in Congress for 10 years. He fights to protect traditional marriage and has proposed the Federal Marriage Amendment. He fights to control abortion through the Unborn Child Awareness Act and the Prenatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act. Brownback also advocates judges who strictly uphold the Constitution.
Although Brownback addressed the federal deficit, the immigration system, abortion and the tax code, the majority of the senator’s speech at Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Conference on April 20 was devoted to the issue of marriage.
Marriage is a foundational institution between a man and a woman, Brownback said. He advocates a Constitutional amendment to protect that definition, but his definition was not popular with everyone in the audience.
“I don’t understand how the federal government can play a role in people’s personal lives,” Brian Vaughan, 21, of Springfield said. “Someone who claims to uphold the strict interpretation of the Constitution should know that the federal government doesn’t have the right to get involved.”
Marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution, Kevin Pybas, a political science teacher at Missouri State pointed out, adding his opinion that legislators often think that there are issues that they need to play a role in, and marriage is one of them.
In support of traditional marriage, Brownback said that children need to be raised in intact families. He cited studies showing that the best place for children is with heterosexual families.
Vaughn disagreed. “People can find studies supporting anything they say,” he said. “I’m sure that plenty of experts feel that homosexual couples are capable of raising children.”
Although Brittni Ruble, 19, of Springfield thinks that it is important to respect homosexual rights allowing them the right to civil unions, she agrees with Brownback with her comments: “I think it is important that actions are taken to protect the tradition of marriage” “Studies show that a healthy marriage enhances one's life, creates a positive psychological environment for children, and just makes people happier in general."
Brownback also expressed the significance of marriage in relation to poverty. The next step in welfare reform is urging people to get married, he said. He believes that by getting married, the number of people living in poverty will decrease.