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Marriage Protection Act of 2007


Marriage Protection Act of 2007

Marriage Protection Act of 2004
Long title An Act to amend title 28, United States Code, to limit Federal court jurisdiction over questions under the Defense of Marriage Act.
Enacted by the  108th United States Congress
Effective September 7, 2004
Public Law 108-614
Title(s) amended 28: Judiciary and Judicial Procedure
U.S.C. section(s) amended Chapter 99 § 1632
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as

The Marriage Protection Act (MPA) was legislation introduced in the 108th Congress, the Republican-controlled House passed it in 2004, but it did not pass the Senate.


The version approved by the House of Representatives would have added this text as Section 1632 to Chapter 99 in Part IV of § 1632), governing the judiciary and judicial procedures:

No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, section 1738C or this section.

§ 1738C forbids requiring any state or any other political subdivision of the United States to credit as a marriage a same-sex relationship treated as marriage in another state or equivalent government.

Major actions

On October 16, 2003, the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by John Hostettler (R–Indiana) and immediately referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. The bill was co-sponsored by Ron Paul of Texas.[2] The legislation passed the House by a vote of 233 to 194. The Senate referred the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 7, 2004, where it died in committee.

Hostettler reintroduced the legislation as H.R. 875 with 26 cosponsors. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law and the Subcommittee on Constitution.


The proposed legislation raises Constitutional questions in relation to the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Joanna Grossman, writing for FindLaw, emphasized "the need for the federal courts to weigh in", rather than for states to continue making a public-policy exception when deciding the status of same-sex relationships independently of the decisions of other states, as states have been permitted to do in the case of incestuous marriages.[1] The Act was designed to protect DOMA by prohibiting federal courts from hearing cases like that of Nancy Wilson, who sued to have her relationship with Paula Schoenwether treated as marriage in Florida because it had been treated as marriage in Massachusetts. In that case, the federal court upheld DOMA.[3]

The U.S. Constitution permits Congress to make exceptions to court jurisdiction. The degree to which such exceptions may undermine federal separation of powers, the Equal Protection Clause, or the Due Process Clause, may render the Marriage Protection Act unconstitutional, according to Grossman.[1]

See also


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