POLITICS
04/12/2013 03:06 pm ET | Updated Apr 12, 2013

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Indiana Republican, Says Marriage 'Not a Civil Liberty,' Gay Marriage Harmful

A Republican Congressman who has made no secret of his opposition to same-sex marriage, is now arguing that marriage is a God-created institution and not a "civil liberty."

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) spoke with the socially conservative Family Research Council's (FRC) Tony Perkins Wednesday as a guest on Perkins' Washington Watch radio program. The show was centered on themes of homosexuality and gay marriage -- an issue the FRC has vocally opposed.

Perkins told Stutzman that he felt the issue of same-sex marriage boils down to an attempt to fundamentally redefine America.

"That’s exactly right," Stutzman replied. "This is not about marriage, it’s not a civil liberty, it’s an institution, it’s above. It’s something that God has created and is a cornerstone of civil society. It’s vitally important that we protect marriage as something unique."

"Every American should be treated with dignity, with respect, we must protect the civil liberties of every American. But it goes both ways," Stutzman said, implying that legalizing same-sex marriage would infringe on the rights of those who oppose it.

Merriam-Webster defines "civil liberty" as the "freedom from arbitrary governmental interference (as with the right of free speech) specifically by denial of governmental power and in the United States especially as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights."

The term has been used on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, with gay marriage advocates, such as the ACLU, arguing the right to marry a same-sex partner is a civil right that does not negatively impact marriages between straight partners.

Since taking office in 2010, the Indiana Republican has insisted on multiple occasions, however, that marriage must only be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

In March, Stutzman released a statement timed to coincide with Supreme Court oral arguments regarding a California ban on same-sex marriage. The statement read, in part:

Regardless of any ruling, referendum, or law, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Washington cannot redefine marriage any more than it can govern gravity. As the cornerstone of society throughout history, marriage is a unique institution and the safest environment for raising children.

He also co-sponsored a bill that would prevent courts from having jurisdiction on cases under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as well as a bill to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

(h/t Right Wing Watch)

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