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Justin Amash on Civil Rights

 

 


Repeal DOMA: Government shouldn't be involved in marriage

Amash said that he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, though he wouldn't commit to cosponsor legislation to do that. In an unexpected Twitter exchange with The Huffington Post, Amash, one of the more savvy members of Congress when it comes to social media, began with a tweet stating that the "real threat" to traditional marriage isn't lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, but government itself.

This sparked a series of tweets with HuffPost about where he stands on repealing DOMA. Amash emphasized that his support for repealing DOMA is tied to his belief that government shouldn't be involved in anyone's marriage. Amash's spokesman explained the congressman's libertarian-leaning position on the matter earlier this week: "In his ideal world, the governments--at all levels all together--would get out of marriage. But as a federal legislator, he's in charge of shaping federal law and so he's willing to oppose the federal government's definition of marriage in DOMA."

Source: Huffington Post, "Amash backs DOMA repeal on Twitter" , Mar 29, 2013

Strongly support the federal Defense of Marriage Act

My family and I are committed Christians. My Christian faith is an important part of who I am. It informs my values and principles. Our most important unit of government is the family. When larger units of government attempt to supplant the family, we must say no. I believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage, and I oppose government efforts to redefine this private, religious institution. I strongly support the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Source: 2010 House campaign website, amashforcongress.com, "Issues" , Nov 2, 2010

Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.11 ; vote number 13-HV055 on Feb 28, 2013

Don't elevate gender identity as a protected class.

Amash voted YEA H.Amdt. 1128 to H.R. 5055

Heritage Action Summary: The Maloney Amendment would ratify President Obama's 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from what it describes as "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity" in their private employment policies. In practice, it would have required federal contractors to grant biologically male employees who identify as women unfettered access to women's lockers, showers, and bathrooms.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (5/25/2016): Congress should not be elevating sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class garnering special legal privileges, which is the intent of the Maloney Amendment. The Maloney Amendment constitutes bad policy that unnecessarily regulates businesses. It risks undoing longstanding protections in civil rights law and makes clear that the president's orders are not exempt from them.

ACLU recommendation to vote YES: (5/11/2016): We see today claims to a right to discriminate--by refusing to provide services to LGBT people--based on religious objections. Claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion is not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It's no different today.

Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to impose those beliefs on others.

Legislative outcome: Amendment passed by the House 223-195-15 4/26/16; overall bill H.R.5055 failed 112-305-16 on 5/26/2016

Source: Supreme Court case 16-H5055 argued on May 25, 2016

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Justin Amash on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jun 02, 2019