Scott Walker: Constitutional Amendment May Be Necessary to Thwart Marriage Equality

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Scott Walker: Constitutional Amendment May Be Necessary to Thwart Marriage Equality

Governor of Wisconsin makes it clear that GOP is nowhere near ready to ditch its anti-gay platform

Scott Walker laughs before riding in the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Parade in Milwaukee on Aug. 31, 2013. He was riding a motorcycle again this weekend, but still found time to let the country know that gay people should not have the same rights as heterosexuals do. (Photo: Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin who this weekend was called the GOP's current presidential frontrunner, thinks that the best way to block full-blown marriage equality at the federal level will be to amend the U.S. Constitution in such a way so that states will be empowered to forbid marriages that are not between one man and one woman.

Though he has not officially announced his bid for the nation's highest office, the New York Times suggested Walker is now "leading the pack" of Republican hopefuls which has now grown to a field of fifteen or more declared or likely candidates. With the competition stiff, it's possible that Walker—though he rejected the idea he was the GOP's top dog—is trying to appeal to the party's religious conservatives and anti-gay base by taking a firm position against the  increasingly mainstream and accepted idea of gay marriage.

"I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman," Walker said during an interview on ABC's This Week on Sunday morning. "If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment."

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As the Huffington Post reports:

Same-sex marriage is legal in Wisconsin. Walker has said that he voted for the state's constitutional ban on marriage equality in 2006, which was overturned eight years later by the courts.

In April, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president, introduced legislation to establish a constitutional amendment protecting states that want to bar same-sex marriage.

Walker refused to give an opinion on the transition of Caitlyn Jenner and her Vanity Fair cover when asked about the topic Sunday morning.

This week, the Republican Party's historic commitment to opposing rights for the LGBTQ community has been highlighted by the controversy surrounding former GOP Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert who is now facing increasingly strong questions—and possible criminal charges—surrounding allegations of sexual abuse against male students when he was a teacher and wrestling coach even as he later pushed anti-gay legislation in Congress. According to the Huffington Post on Saturday:

Hastert wasn't a strident culture warrior during his time in Congress. But he was a vital cog in the anti-gay political machinery that the GOP deployed for political benefit. And now it appears his involvement carried the same elements of duplicity and deceit as that of other Republican operatives of that era.

"The hypocrisy is breathtaking in its depth," said Elizabeth Birch, former president of the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

As speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, Hastert didn't just go along and vote the party line on various bills; he decided which pieces of legislation made it to the floor for a vote. During his tenure, he was a clear foe of the LGBT community.

Toward the end of his presidency, Bill Clinton was trying to broaden the federal hate crimes statute to cover acts of violence motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity. Calls for such legislation had picked up steam after the horrific assault and killing of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man, in 1998. But Republicans, led by Hastert and other GOP leaders, repeatedly barred any such measure from passage.

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