House Conservatives Respond To SCOTUS Rulings With Push For Constitutional Amendment

Several House Republicans have responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage by renewing the call for a Constitutional Amendment that would define marriage as being between only between and a woman:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, and other conservative members of Congress say they will attempt to introduce in the coming days a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling deeming the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, several Republicans expressed their disappointment with the decision and vowed to take action. Apparently, this means an amendment to the Constitution.

“This Court has taken it upon itself the radical attempt to redefine marriage,” Huelskamp said, standing outside the Supreme Court. “I think what gets lost in this judicial attempt to short-circuit the democratic process is the needs of our children…. Every child deserves a mommy and a daddy and with this decision they undercut the needs of our children.”

And although the likelihood of that amendment passing is bleak—amendments need a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, and then ratification by three-fourths of the states—Huelskamp urges congressional leadership to allow the amendment to go to the floor.

That’s unlikely to happen, of course. The Amendment has been proposed many times in the past and has never actually gotten to a floor vote even when the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. Even if it did, it would never get the 2/3 of vote in the House that it would nee to move on to the Senate, where it would die anyway. However, this is hardly the message that Republicans should want to be sending to a nation where same-sex marriage is becoming more and more widely accepted by the public. Yes, it will appease their base, but it will do so by reaffirming one of the many things about the GOP that makes it less liked by the public as a whole. Of course, they’re essentially doing the same thing with immigration reform so one never knows what will happen.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    They are more than welcome to spend their time and money on a process that will take years and require 38 states ratify. Go for it, bring it on.

    The GOP rebranding effort continues …

  2. stonetools says:

    This is a typical conservative response: When you lose, double down. That worked in 2010-dunno if it will work now.I think it more likely that it drive away the young and independent voters who favor, or at least made their peace, with SSM.

  3. Sam Malone says:

    Republicans, and the country, would be far better served by paying attention to this:
    …rather than f’ing around with things that will never succeed, like this amendment, or the 37th vote to repeal Obamacare.
    The GOP is incapable of governing. They need to resign en masse for the good of the Republic.

  4. Mark Ivey says:

    GOP re-branding effort WooT

  5. Michael Demmons says:

    Please do this! The more these conservatives talk, the more people walk away from them!

  6. James Joyner says:


    This is a typical conservative response: When you lose, double down.

    I actually think it’s a perfectly rational response when 1) the “loss” is in court, not the ballot box and 2) it’s on a deeply held issue. Both apply here. The problem is that, in this case, the court is behind the politics. Thus, they’re fighting for a lost cause, not just against a setback imposed by judges.

  7. legion says:

    Well, after every Republican has a chance to earn their “I voted to repeal Obamacare!” merit badge, they’ll need some other windmill to tilt at. I suppose an amendment to outlaw Teh Gayz is as useless as anything else they could be doing…

  8. anjin-san says:

    they’re fighting for a lost cause

    I think it goes even deeper than that. They are fighting for it to be 1950 again (IMO)

  9. al-Ameda says:


    I think it goes even deeper than that. They are fighting for it to be 1950 again (IMO)

    Ah yes, the good old days …. When blacks knew their place and knew better than to want to vote or have equality under the law, women had few career opportunities and limited economic power, and the top marginal income tax rate was 91%. All of this is deeply moving, it brings tears to my eyes.

  10. ptfe says:

    @James Joyner and @al-Ameda: In short, a lot of these conservatives are somehow still 3 civil rights movements behind, so don’t anticipate them catching up anytime soon.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @anjin-san: I think it goes even deeper than that. They are fighting for it to be 1950 1850 again (IMO)

    FTFY… Get the century right Anjin!

  12. Caj says:

    OMG! Here we go again. Will these Republicans ever learn? They show contempt for the gay community just as they do for Latino’s and women. Why are still a party? The country must be sick to the back teeth of them, I know I am!

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s no wonder these wonders are in politics. Where else can you accomplish absolutely nothing for 9 months of the year, go on tax payer funded vacations fact finding trips for the rest of the time, and get paid $174,000 a year (not to mention the generous pension and health care they get).

    Pretty sweet gig if you ask me.

  14. David in KC says:

    State rights! State rights! State rig…. Wait, what? Gay marriage? Screw state rights.

  15. Pinky says:


    I think it goes even deeper than that. They are fighting for it to be 1950 1850 again.

    Wrong party.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    As predicted (by me) Republicans will try to hurt as many vulnerable people as they can, and do as much damage to the truth as possible in the time remaining to them. The party is a wounded beast, growling, lashing out, capable of inflicting some pain, but ultimately impotent.

  17. Barry says:

    @Pinky: Perhaps you should read up on post-WWII political history.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Wrong party.

    In a sense, I agree. We ought to be calling it the Dixiecrat party.

    But, then again, that party became today’s Republican party, so …

  19. David in KC says:

    You’d think that these “conservatives” would be smarter with all the mental gymnastics they go through.

  20. Good info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

  21. ernieyeball says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Pretty sweet gig…

    Sounds like a sinecure to me.
    So will you be challenging the Hon. Roy Blunt or the Hon. Ms. McCaskill to afford yourself this gravytrain?

  22. Kylopod says:

    I love Huelskamp’s response to a reporter who pointed out the amendment’s lack of popularity:

    “A majority of Americans don’t like President Obama as president, but he’s still the president,” Huelskamp said.

    I actually had to look that one up; I found that most current polls show a slight plurality of Americans disapproving of the job Obama is doing right now, but on Rasmussen it recently broke 50 percent. That must be the poll he has in mind.

    Of course, the analogy is as moronic as you can get. You only need a bare majority to be elected president, and sometimes not even that. If presidents had to get two-thirds of the vote to be elected, Obama could never have reached the White House–nor, probably, could anyone else on the planet. Amending the constitution is (as it was expressly designed) extremely difficult to do even for proposals that are popular. That’s why it’s only happened 27 times in its 224-year history. The Federal Marriage Amendment failed in Congress back when polls showed a majority of Americans opposing same-sex marriage; the idea that it stands a better chance of succeeding now, after that opposition has collapsed, is insane. But even if by some miracle it got through Congress, it would then need to be ratified by 38 states, which would have to include at least one that has already legalized same-sex marriage.

    Do Huelskamp and other supporters of the amendment really believe what they’re saying? Or is it just an attempt to excite conservative voters in their district, while knowing full well their proposal is going nowhere? Personally, I suspect that even Bush in 2004 never expected the FMA to succeed. That’s the trick with proposing constitutional amendments: it’s a way of pandering to a constituency without having to worry that your policy will ever actually be implemented. In recent decades this seems to be a game played far more often by the GOP than the Dems, and by now it fits perfectly with the party whose signature accomplishment is repealing Obamacare for the 37th time. Since they have come to value noise over governance, these types of stunts are as natural as they claim SSM isn’t.

  23. Tyrell says:

    No. We do not need any constitutional amendment one way or the other. We do not need the Federal government, and that includes the so called “Supreme” Court, activist judges, the Dept. of “Justice”, the President, Attorney General Holder. Let the people in each state decide. Better yet leave it to local towns and communities to set their own standards and rules. Everyone would be happier and feel better. That way San Francisco and the swinging town of Possum Foot can do their own thing, whatever makes them happy. That is the way it is with alcohol drinks: each town or community can decide and that seems to work fine. Whatever gets your guitar going.