View From the Capitol - Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's Newsletter for the Week of June 24-28, 2013
This week, I introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would allow certain off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to protect our children on school grounds. The bill, the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, is a common-sense measure that addresses an issue on all of our minds: how do we best keep our children safe?
This bill would afford our children an extra layer of protection from those men and women who have faithfully served our communities. However, federal law currently prohibits law enforcement officers from protecting our schoolchildren when they go off-duty. One of my constituents, a 30-year veteran police officer, brought this issue to my attention. Despite decades of work protecting his community, and annual testing and requalification with a firearm, once he clocks out of work he is prohibited from using his training to protect his grandchildren when he visits them at school. This does not make sense. The Police Officers Protecting Children Act would eliminate a federal barrier, and allows local school boards to decide how to best protect the children at their schools. The bill has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee for their review. While I do not serve on this committee, I am hopeful that the House will act quickly on this common-sense bill.
On another matter, the Supreme Court released their decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. I led several colleagues in a press conference responding to the Court’s decision.
I believe that the Court got these decisions wrong. The Court’s activist ruling on DOMA ignored the vote of a bipartisan majority of Congress. This sets an alarming precedent, disempowering Congress from making national policy with respect to marriage. I will continue to work to defend the rights of Americans to make marriage policy. We should work to promote the truth of marriage between a man and a woman, ensuring that our children have both a mom and a dad.
Additionally, the Court ignored the voices of millions of Californians who went to the ballot box to protect marriage with Proposition 8. Not only did the Governor and Attorney General abandon the people of California by refusing to defend them in court, the Supreme Court, by denying supporters of Proposition 8 standing to defend their own initiative, trampled on the people’s rights and left them voiceless. This ruling is a loss for democratic self-government and the rights of the people to stand for marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
While California has silenced their citizens, the Supreme Court has not created a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Missouri’s policy of one-man and one-woman marriage stands. It did set in motion, however, a bureaucratic nightmare as the federal government will have to interpret 50 state marriage laws in order to confer benefits.
We must not forget that 38 states, including Missouri, have spoken out and defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. Thankfully, the Court did not overrule those voters. I believe that the government should work for the people of this country, and five unelected judges should not override the will of the people. We will continue to work to protect marriage laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman across the country. It is best for our country, our society, and our children.
Have a good week.