[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 20 (Tuesday, February 7, 2012)]
[House]
[Pages H550-H554]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         NATIONAL MARRIAGE WEEK

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Yoder). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. 
Nunnelee) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority 
leader.
  Mr. NUNNELEE. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
  Today begins the observation of National Marriage Week. It is a week 
that begins today, February 7, and will go through Valentine's Day, 
February 14, next week. Around the Nation, in fact, indeed around the 
world, there are those organizations and individuals who will be 
conducting events around National Marriage Week.
  So I think it's all too fitting and proper that we take this hour on 
the floor of the House of Representatives to recognize the importance 
of marriage and the importance of homes. Tonight, we will be having a 
series of speeches that will reflect the importance of marriage and the 
home, and we will also recognize National Marriage Week.
  Mr. Speaker, for the first of those speeches, I would like to 
recognize my friend, my colleague from Mississippi (Mr. Harper).
  Mr. HARPER. I thank the gentleman for the opportunity to speak on 
behalf of National Marriage Week. What a special time it is for us. I 
will also say what an inspiration you and your wife are to my wife and 
myself on the way that you live that marriage.
  As we look and see how our society is today and as we see the 
prevalence of divorce and the breakdown of the family, I think it's 
very fitting that we talk for a moment about the importance of marriage 
and what it means in our lives. While it is not attainable for some 
family situations or some situations, it should always be our goal to 
keep that family unit together and to hold that bedrock of our society 
together.
  My experience with marriage came from watching my mom and dad. My dad 
was a gunner in a B-17 in World War II. He came right after World War 
II to Columbus Air Force Base, which is in Congressman Nunnelee's 
district, and met my mother at a dance when she came down from Lackey, 
Mississippi, outside Aberdeen. From that point forward, my dad decided 
he would move his allegiance from Oklahoma to the State of Mississippi.
  I watched that marriage through my life. While no marriage is always 
easy or trouble free, they stuck together through thick and thin. I 
know, for us--my dad, my late father, being a petroleum engineer--we 
transferred quite often from kindergarten through the 12th grade. I was 
in 10 different schools in four different States--and we actually spent 
another summer in a fifth State--but Mississippi was always home. That 
bond that we had was very special because, as long as Mom and Dad and 
my brother and I were together, there was that protection, that safety 
that came from that; and how I watched them as they handled things that 
came up in their life inspired me.
  Then in that last move that we had from the State of California back 
to Mississippi, I wound up in a high school in the 10th grade with a 
great friend of mine whose conduct and behavior indirectly led me to 
accept Jesus Christ as my savior at the end of my 10th grade year. He 
got me going to his church, and it was there that I spotted this 
beautiful young lady; but I had to wait until she broke up with this 
boyfriend, and then I moved in for the kill.

                              {time}  1700

  So I started dating my wife Sidney when she was 15 and I was 17. We 
dated 5\1/2\ years before we got married. We would have gotten married 
sooner but we were afraid to stay by ourselves, so we had to wait just 
a little while. But we've now been married 32 years. And I can tell you 
that I can't imagine not being married to Sidney.
  As I look and we talk about National Marriage Week, and you look at 
the joys and the troubles that you go through in life--and for us, part 
of that was having a son with special needs. Our son Livingston has 
Fragile X Syndrome, and the difficulty of going through that with him 
is something I could have never done without that bond of marriage and 
that strength that came not only from the Lord but from my relationship 
with my wife. We've been blessed with our son Livingston, what a 
wonderful son, and our daughter Maggie. And having that family together 
and them having us together, I think, helps us as we build our society 
and we move forward.
  I want to commend the gentleman from Mississippi for having this 
event today where we can come and speak on that. And I want you to know 
that I'm a very smart husband too because I'm giving this speech, 
wearing the tie that my wife gave me for Valentine's Day last year. So 
hopefully that will score points.
  But I want to say, as we look at this, let's try to encourage people 
that are going through difficulties in their marriage to stay together, 
to keep that family together. And this is something that we can build 
on that will benefit our society.
  Mr. NUNNELEE. Thank you, Mr. Harper.
  Now I would like to call on my friend Mr. Lamborn, the gentleman from 
Colorado.

[[Page H551]]

  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Mississippi for 
putting this time together. And I rise today in support of National 
Marriage Week.
  In so many ways, from so many sources, marriage is under attack in 
America. When we consider the many social problems facing our country 
right now, the erosion of marriage and family is at the core of many of 
them. Scholar Michael Novak once famously referred to the family as the 
``original Department of Health, Education, and Welfare'' because of 
its role in providing for the needs of all its members and, 
particularly, the next generation.
  Study after study has shown the tremendous advantages for children 
and society as a whole when there is a sustained presence of mothers 
and fathers in the home. Families in which mothers and fathers strive 
to nurture their children together have advantages over every other 
family form that has been studied to date.
  Today we are seeing that marriage is increasingly in trouble in 
America. High rates of divorce, nonmarital childbearing, and single 
parenthood were once problems primarily concentrated in poor 
communities. Now the American retreat from marriage is moving into the 
heart of the social order, the middle class. There is a widening gulf 
between the middle class, where a sharp decline in marriage is at work, 
and the most educated and affluent Americans, where marriage indicators 
are either stable or are even improving.
  As unwed childbearing continues to climb, risking continued social 
breakdown and increased government dependency, national leaders should 
be encouraging stable family formation, not redefining marriage. I call 
upon Congress to recognize the intrinsic good that results to all of 
society when husbands and wives strive to uphold their marriage vows 
and raise children in loving and stable homes.
  I again want to thank the gentleman from Mississippi for putting this 
time together on such an important issue.
  Mr. NUNNELEE. Thank you, Mr. Lamborn.
  Mr. Speaker, I now recognize the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Lankford).
  Mr. LANKFORD. I thank the gentleman for hosting this time.
  This is a conversation at the end of the day, after all the votes are 
over on the House floor and all the hustle and bustle and everything, 
and we get a chance just to shut down and be able to talk about issues 
like this week being National Marriage Week. Just for a moment, to be 
able to pause on an area that we really do agree on, as a Congress, and 
so many people can gather around to celebrate marriage, what marriage 
has meant in our own families, and what it means in our Nation.
  Twenty years ago this May, I watched my bride walk in with her 
wedding dress, and I could never begin to explain the emotion of that. 
It's a moment I will never forget, seeing her smile and thinking, For 
the rest of my life, I'm going to get to spend it with that lady.
  Love is an amazing thing. But marriage is not just love. It is 
commitment. It is the foundation of our culture. It is the very essence 
of what we call family. For me, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I also 
understand that marriage is one of the few things to survive the fall 
of man. Marriage existed in the Garden of Eden, and it still exists 
today.
  I fully appreciate and understand the dynamics of single parenting--
growing up in a single-parent home myself, I watched my mom dedicate 
her life to myself and my brother, and how hard she worked. But I can 
tell you, from her perspective and from no person I have ever met, have 
they picked up a newborn child and looked into that newborn's face and 
said, I hope this child grows, gets great grades, goes to a good 
college, gets married, and then gets divorced. No one does that 
because, as a culture, we understand the value of marriage. It's 
intrinsic within us that we get it, and we honor that. We see an 
elderly couple in the park and see them smiling at each other, and we 
wonder about how many decades they've spent together. And we honor 
them, as a culture, because they have strived for so many years and 
have been committed for so many years to each other. It is to be 
honored. And it's a good thing for us to stop for just a moment in the 
hustle of this day to honor marriage again.
  And let me just say, as a government as well, marriage is a big deal 
to us because there's a direct correlation: The weaker our families 
are, the more government has to stand up and provide services. The 
stronger our families are, the less there is a need for government. 
You'll see it in law enforcement. You'll see it in social services. 
You'll see it in food stamps. On and on and on, the stronger our 
families are, the less government we need. And as our families 
collapse, we have an acceleration of government to try to fill in the 
gaps. It is this uniting aspect of our culture--white, black, Latino, 
Asian, American Indian, every race, faith. Family is the key, and 
marriage is the essence of that.

  A quick story. A few weeks ago at the Martin Luther Day festivities 
in Oklahoma City, Paco Balderrama, who works the gang unit within 
Oklahoma City's police department--he is a fantastic officer with a 
terrific reputation in our community--stood up, and he began to talk 
about marriage and about families. And he made a statement. He said, of 
all the gang arrests that they do and of all the gang interventions 
that they do in Oklahoma City, he said, 1 percent of the gang members 
that I pick up come from married, intact families, 1 percent. The more 
our families fall apart, the more government has to rise up.
  In intact families, you have a lower use of drug use in those kids, 
of crime in those kids, of poverty, and passing on poverty to the next 
generation. They have safer homes with less abuse. They have less risk 
of early sexual activity, all because they have come from a family that 
is married and committed to each other. We should maintain that in our 
Federal policies, that in every way possible, we support marriage, not 
discourage marriage.
  A great example of that is the marriage penalty that's in SSI right 
now. If you are on disability insurance and you are single, you get one 
payment. But if you are married, it's much lower. If you are single, 
you can have one amount, and you can have one amount of assets, but if 
you are married, it's less. So it basically is a disincentive for a 
person on SSI to be married.
  I have personally interacted with people in Oklahoma City that have 
been living together for years. And when I asked them about it, and 
said, Why don't you get married? Why don't you settle this commitment? 
His response to me was, I can't afford to do that. I'll lose part of my 
SSI benefits.
  We, as a government, should do everything we can to make sure there 
are no marriage penalties in any of our social service programs because 
the best thing that can be done to pull families out of poverty is a 
stable, strong home. And when there's a stable, strong marriage, that 
will build up families. And the more we step in as a government and 
say, I know your family's falling apart, but we're just going to 
subsidize you. In fact, we'll subsidize you to a level that you don't 
have to get married. In fact, we discourage you from getting married. 
It's absurd on its face.
  The cultural thing that pulls us all together--every race, every 
religion--is the marriage being the center of that home. And for every 
family that I have ever talked with, their hope for their children is 
that they get married, and they stay married.

                              {time}  1710

  It is still a core foundation of our culture. Many marriages have 
fallen apart, but we should as a Nation stand beside marriage. It's a 
great week. It is always a great week to celebrate National Marriage 
Week.
  Mr. NUNNELEE. Mr. Speaker, it is my honor to participate in National 
Marriage Week, along with my bride of 30 years, Tori. In fact, it was 
February 13, 1980, that she and I went out for the first time. And on 
that night I found a friend, a friend that would be a life partner. A 
couple of years later we were married.
  Now the purpose of National Marriage Week, as has been articulated 
here on the House floor tonight, is to recognize the benefits and the 
stability that strong marriages bring to society. Now, it's purpose is 
not to belittle those who have never been married. Neither is it's 
purpose to make those

[[Page H552]]

who may have previously been married feel like their value to America 
is somehow not important. I recognize tonight there are thousands of 
single parents struggling. They're struggling every day to make ends 
meet. They're trying to balance two tough full-time jobs--jobs being 
the sole breadwinner and provider to a family, and the full-time job of 
being a parent. But it's also important that we not forget to recognize 
the importance of strong marriages in our society.
  The home is the fundamental unit of society. The home is the system 
whereby values are transmitted from one generation to the next. Studies 
have shown that children raised in intact, married homes are more 
likely to attend college. They're physically and emotionally healthier. 
They're less likely to be physically or sexually abused. They're less 
likely to use drugs or alcohol. They're less likely to be involved in a 
teenage pregnancy. The home was the first institution established on 
Earth. In fact, it's older than the institutions of religion, of 
government, of education. The home is the only institution we have on 
Earth that is exactly the same as it was before sin entered the Earth.
  And today, we stand on the foundations of the homes created by our 
ancestors. And a strong America in the next century begins with strong 
homes today. Strong homes begin with strong marriages. I have known 
this to be true in my own life. While their story is not unique, in 
fact it's a story that is replicated throughout America.
  Next week, there's a couple in Tupelo, Mississippi, who will 
celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. They married as children in 
1957. She was 17. He was an old man of 19. If their compatibility had 
been put into one of the matchmaking computer programs that's available 
today and all of their data had been input, those computers I'm 
convinced would have spit out a three-word message: Are you kidding?
  He had lived all of his 19 years of life on a small and poor farm in 
Pontotoc County, Mississippi. He had rarely traveled from the place of 
his birth. On the other hand, she was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
She lived there until her family was transferred to Mississippi as she 
was to begin the 11th grade. The summer after she graduated from high 
school, they met. She canceled her plans to attend college because she 
had met what would be her life partner. While their backgrounds had 
very little in common, their families shared two very important values: 
a strong faith in God and a commitment to the family unit.
  Their first night together, they got down on their knees and they 
committed their marriage to God, and they committed themselves to each 
other. Over the ensuing 55 years, they've shared many good days: the 
birth or adoption of seven children; her graduation from college, an 
event that had been delayed by almost two decades; his becoming very 
successful in the life insurance business, including becoming the 
president of one of the State's largest and most successful life 
insurance companies; the birth of 14 grandchildren; seeing all seven of 
their children given the opportunity to attain a college education.
  But just like in so many families, every day has not been a bright 
one. Trying to raise children while building a sales territory, there 
were a lot of times when there was not a lot of money left at the end 
of a long month.
  They've held hospitalized children, some hospitalized with routine 
childhood illnesses, others with life-threatening conditions, and 
they've had long nights in the hospital not knowing if that child would 
make it to see the morning.
  They've had to console a grieving daughter as she was consoling a 
son, a grieving daughter who was far too young to be a widow. They 
leaned on each other as he was terminated from the company that he'd 
built. He was the casualty of a corporate merger.
  Through the good days as well as the bad, the commitment they made to 
God, the commitment they made to each other, has endured. While the 
word ``retirement'' is not in their vocabulary, they are beginning 
their eighth decade on Earth, and they are beginning it each day with 
each other.
  Their seven children are scattered from Knoxville to San Antonio, and 
each are contributing members of their communities. One of them lives 
in Mississippi, but works part-time in Washington, D.C., and tonight 
he's proud to stand on the floor of the United States House of 
Representatives and on behalf of their children, their grandchildren, 
and their great grandchildren, say thank you. Thank you for your 
commitment to each other, because your commitment to each other, your 
commitment to your family will not be measured by years, but rather, it 
will be measured by generations.
  This story is not unique. In fact, it's representative of the 
millions of stories told by millions of families that have made America 
great. But as we stand here tonight, we need to be mindful that because 
of the value that strong marriages bring to society, the policies of 
government should support strong marriages and not oppose them.

                              {time}  1720

  All too often, whether it's in tax policy, housing policy, or the 
policy of Federal benefits, the policies of government are stacked 
against families. If we truly believe that families are the foundation 
of a strong America, we need to make the policies of government support 
and enhance those families.
  Mr. Speaker, let me now recognize the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Gohmert).
  Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you.
  I appreciate my friend, Mr. Nunnelee's, effort in recognizing the 
role that America has had in fostering the greatest building block any 
society has ever known--marriage, plain and simple. I was blessed to 
have had two parents that loved each other, loved each other enough to 
fuss at each other when they didn't feel like the other was doing the 
right thing. But, as Mr. Lankford from Oklahoma pointed out, it's not 
all about love. It's also about commitment. And as anybody who has 
studied sociology and really wants to be honest about the history of 
the world knows, the greatest societies in the history of the world 
have had as their building block the marriage between a man and a 
woman.
  Now, my wife was blessed to have been born and raised by a couple who 
loved her as her natural parents and loved each other, and the 
commitment was always there. Her dad passed away a few years ago, and 
her mother is still alive and blesses us. My dad remarried a year after 
my mother died in 1991, and they've been a blessing to both of us and 
to our children.
  It was certainly a great blessing to me when I met Kathy, when I was 
in law school and she was an undergrad at Baylor. And somebody again 
this weekend said, Your wife is so cute; I had no idea. And I have to 
explain to people that's because she met me and married me while I had 
hair. I realize I couldn't get somebody cute nowadays if Kathy and I 
weren't together. But back then, I had hair, and I know it's hard to 
believe, but I actually looked okay when I had hair. But, anyway, she's 
stuck with me for 33\1/2\ years now, and we have been truly enriched to 
have three wonderful daughters.
  I've learned so much about the nature of God by being a father. I 
learned a little more by being a judge, but marriage just has been 
truly the enhancement, beyond my faith in Christ, the number two thing 
in my life as far as the blessings that I have received.
  When we look at the laws regarding marriage, we know there's a great 
deal going on. The court, as I understand it, today struck down a law 
that said marriage is between a man and a woman. It's interesting that 
there are some courts in America where the judges have become so wise 
in their own eyes that they know better than nature or nature's God.
  It was interesting seeing what happened in Iowa a year and a half 
ago, after an Iowa Supreme Court unanimously--well, they held en banc. 
Having been a chief justice of a court of appeals, sometimes that means 
that nobody wanted to be out there signing the decision by themselves 
so that perhaps behind the scenes they may have said, Hey, look I 
helped you on that by making that a full decision en banc and so help 
me out here by all agreeing to this. Well, three of them came up for an 
up-or-down vote, and for the first time in Iowa's history, the voters 
in Iowa voted to terminate the time as judge of three of the nine 
judges--or seven. Three of them were up, and they were terminated.

[[Page H553]]

  One of the things that I found interesting as I went on a bus trip 
across Iowa--I loved the Iowa folks. All I had to do was pull out the 
decision written by the Iowa court and read in that decision how those 
judges in Iowa had become so wise in their own eyes that they said that 
even though the State of Iowa raised as one of their issues that there 
was biological evidence that supported a marriage being between a man 
and a woman, that they, the Supreme Court, so wise beyond nature, so 
wise beyond nature's God, they could not find any evidence whatsoever 
to support the notion of marriage being between a man and a woman. Iowa 
voters would often start laughing, and some would just gasp in shock 
that people that had so many years of education, at least 18, 19, 20 
years of education, had studied and looked at the evidence and could 
not find any indication that nature or biology supported marriage 
between a man and a woman. Well, nature seemed to like the idea of an 
egg and a sperm coming together because of procreation. Apparently, 
they thought the sperm had far better use some other way biologically 
combining it with something else. But the voters of Iowa came back and 
said, Do you know what? If you're not smart enough to figure out actual 
plumbing, as my friend Steve King explained it, then perhaps we need 
new judges, and that's what they did.
  Now, it is the Bible, the biblical statement that the two shall 
become one flesh, and the two become one. It's amazing. In fact, I 
wrote a song for my wedding in which I pointed out that we would use 10 
senses from henceforth instead of five. And you do. You learn from the 
senses of your mate. You grow together.
  A good example of this growth is there was a prosecutor who 
prosecuted in my court when I was a judge, and he had had a couple, 
both the man and the woman, the man and wife were on the same jury 
panel from which the jury of 12 was to be drawn; and he was asking the 
husband, sir, the laws of Texas require that you cannot be on a jury 
unless you can independently vote your own conscience. So I have to ask 
you, sir, you're under oath, will you be able, if you were on a jury 
with your wife, to vote your own conscience? And the man said, Yes, of 
course, I can vote my own conscience. I'll ask my wife what's my 
conscience and then I'll vote it. It won't be a problem.
  We two usually grow to become one, as the Bible points out.
  It broke my heart to hear testimony on sentencing of a gang leader in 
Tyler who had been convicted of murder who was being harassed about his 
gang membership. He had heard all the testimony about his gang, and he 
pointed out, Look, you keep saying all these bad things about gangs, 
but let me tell you, my mother was never around. I never knew my 
father. The gang--my gang is the only family I've ever known. They're 
my family. You're trash-mouthing my family. They cared about me. They 
supported me. We cared about each other. And it led to murder. It led 
to all kinds of crimes.

                              {time}  1730

  There's a reason that the most important building block of a stable 
society is a marriage between a man and a woman.
  I was in the Soviet Union as an exchange student in 1973 visiting a 
day care before anybody even heard of day care really in the United 
States. In Mount Pleasant, Texas, we had Momma Stark. And if my mother 
had to go somewhere when we were little bitty--when we were old enough 
to go to school, then mother went back to teaching; but before then, 
she'd drop us off at Momma Stark's. She'd take care of us. We didn't 
know it was called day care at the time.
  At the time I went to the Soviet Union as an exchange student, I was 
appalled. It was actually shocking to the conscience to see a place 
where the government had dictated what every child should know about 
relationships, about the lack of religion--because they preached 
atheism. They taught the children what the government believed they 
should know about everything.
  We were told that it was so important that each child be taught only 
what was permissible to the government that if it were ever learned 
that a parent was teaching or telling a child anything at home that was 
not in accordance with the teachings and dictates of the government, 
that the child was then removed from the home and the parents were not 
allowed to have any contact with what was deemed to be an asset of the 
government and nothing to do with the home. That was because in that 
society--before it failed, as it always would--they believed marriage 
was not that important. It was the government that was the be-all, end-
all. It was the government that would teach and would raise the 
children, and they were only loaning them to parents until such time as 
they did something the government didn't like and then they took them 
away. It was not normally any type of sexual abuse. The worst offense, 
it seemed to be from what I heard from people I talked to there, was if 
you taught something that was not in keeping with what the government 
taught.
  I thanked God that I lived in a country where my parents could teach 
me things that were true and things that were right, and not some 
government that would be wishy-washy and changed depending on who was 
in charge of the government, not some government that would perhaps 
take away the rights that were an endowment from our Creator. It was 
the parents that would train and teach out of love.
  Then you find out, as I have over the years, our government, ever 
since I got back from the Soviet Union, year after year has moved as if 
it's an adversary of marriage. Yet as my colleagues before me who've 
pointed out, the studies Mr. Nunnelee has pointed out, of course we 
have some of our greatest citizens come from single-parent homes. But 
if you want to play the odds, the odds are that a child is more 
appropriately adjusted if they come from a two-parent home, a loving 
mother and father playing two different roles.
  And yet we find out, gee, for decades now there has been instituted 
what's called a marriage penalty, so that if a wife and a husband are 
married and they are both working, then they are going to pay extra in 
taxes. The message being, subconsciously, our government thinks you're 
better off not married, just live together.
  As Mr. Lankford pointed out, with Social Security, we do the same 
thing. You talk to elderly people who would love to be married because 
they believe in marriage from a religious standpoint and a doctrinal 
standpoint, and yet if they get married, they lose government benefits, 
indication that the government thinks it's better to live together 
rather than be married.
  Not only that, but we have seen it over and over since the mid-
sixties, a Congress who simply wanted to help. When a deadbeat father 
wouldn't help with the financial raising of his children, Congress 
said, You know what? Let's help these single moms that are trying to 
make it. Let's give them a check any time they have a child out of 
wedlock. After over four decades, we've gotten what we paid for, where 
between 40 and 50 percent of all children born are being born to a 
single mom, despite the evidence that more children are better adjusted 
if they have a mother and father in a well-adjusted home.
  So, I get to Congress as a result of my wife, Kathy, being a full 
partner. She taught for awhile. She has her master's in business 
administration, in accounting. She taught for awhile while I was 
running, but we saw, if this is really what we believed was appropriate 
for our marriage, for our lives, to try to get this country back on 
track, it was going to take a partnership. So she left teaching and 
came on board and was a full-time campaigner with me as my partner. We 
could hit two places at the same time. And I was never shocked to hear 
that people loved Kathy more than they loved me and they would just as 
soon have her over me. So that went on.
  We cashed out every asset we had except our home. I practiced a 
little law when I could and made a few bucks, but at the same time we 
cashed out every asset, paying higher penalties, so we could live on 
that. I didn't see it was a big risk because I knew if I didn't get 
elected, I could go back and make more money than I ever would in 
Congress. I've done it before; I could do it again. But at the same 
time, this is what we believed we were supposed to do.

[[Page H554]]

  We were allowed to continue that partnership after I got elected 
because you can't avoid having a campaign office because you've got to 
keep raising money. It's part of getting reelected. You've got to keep 
campaigning basically for the whole 2-year period between each 
election. So we kept my wife on for the same thing she had been making 
at teaching.
  After 2 years of a true partnership--I mean, we were true partners. I 
was fighting the battles here in Washington and she was taking care of 
things in our district, going to all events that I couldn't attend, as 
my partner. And then when Speaker Pelosi took the gavel, our friends 
across the aisle determined that we wouldn't allow things like that 
because there were some people who, in a corrupt manner, had overpaid 
family members to do nothing.

  So, the message went back clearly that my wife could no longer be my 
partner and take care of the campaign issues. I could no longer pay her 
the same thing she got as a teacher, that she had to go back. And since 
we had cashed in all our assets, and since I did not want my children 
to be coming out of college completely encumbered with massive debt 
from loans, and since the money that we had tried to save for college 
had been expended, we still needed her to work. We've still got college 
loans to be paid even now. But she's no longer my partner as far as 
this enterprise because this Congress said, under Speaker Pelosi, we 
don't want wives working as the campaign partner of a Member of 
Congress. So it seems like, over and over, the message keeps coming 
back that Congress wants to be an enemy of marriage.
  Then we get the President's Jobs Act last fall. And although the 
President said he was going after millionaires and billionaires, if you 
looked at the pages that concerned the increased taxes, the President 
revealed his true heart, and that was that he considered you to be a 
millionaire or a billionaire--and obviously you're not--if you make 
$125,000 a year, because under the President's Jobs Act, if you make 
$125,000 a year, you're going to get popped not merely with an 
alternative minimum tax, you're going to get popped with an extra tax 
on top of that.

                              {time}  1740

  And that didn't matter if you were married, filing singly, or married 
filing jointly. Either way, a married person could only claim $125,000 
as income before he got popped with President Obama's extra tax. Not 
exactly a millionaire or billionaire; but, apparently, the President 
felt if you are going to have the inappropriate conduct such that you 
would get married, then you'd have to get taxed more than others.
  How do you know that? Because in the President's same section, if 
you're not married and you are filing, you could claim either a 
$200,000 exemption, or a $250,000 exemption. Therefore, if you were 
single and lived together, then you could claim either a $400,000 or 
$500,000 exemption under the President's Jobs Act.
  And I was always wondering, and I hope some day the President will 
make clear, why he had such animus toward marriage between a man and a 
woman. He seems to be happily married. He seems to have a wonderful 
wife. Why would he want to penalize others in the country simply 
because they are married?
  I didn't understand it. I still don't understand it. And I'm hoping 
before this year is up that enough people across America will make 
their voices heard that, you know what, we've gotten away from it, but 
the studies keep making it impossible to avoid admitting marriage 
between a man and a woman is a good thing. It is the building block of 
a stable society.
  And as those who took an oath to uphold our Constitution, in essence, 
do all we could for this country, we owe it to the country to do what 
we can for marriage. I do appreciate my friend, Mr. Nunnelee, so much 
for taking the whole hour and for giving some of the rest of us a 
chance to come speak with him with one voice.
  Mr. NUNNELEE. Thank you, Mr. Gohmert.
  As we wrap up this hour, recognizing the importance of National 
Marriage Week, I want to conclude, recognizing, first of all, my own 
life's partner.
  February 13 will mark the day, a little over three decades ago, that 
I thought I was going out to eat dinner for a blind date. What I was 
doing was being introduced to a friend, a lifelong friend. As we talked 
that night, we found out that the things we shared we wanted to share 
with one another.
  And I've learned so much from my now bride of 30 years, Tori, but I 
think one of the things that I've learned from her that applies to 
National Marriage Week, I've heard her say, time and time again, love's 
not a feeling, it's an action. You can't help how you feel about 
something. You can help how you act.
  There's another young family that I'm reminded of as we celebrate 
National Marriage Week, a young couple that, a little under 6 years 
ago, I sat at a church, watched their families smile with excitement, 
watched them exchange promises to one another. And here, in their early 
years of marriage, they've had words introduced to their vocabulary 
that they didn't think would be part of their everyday conversation, 
words like ``biopsy,'' ``radiation.''
  As I talked to that young bride over the Christmas holidays, I told 
her, I said, you didn't sign up for this, did you? She looked at me and 
smiled and she said, yes, sir, I did. But I committed for better or for 
worse, in sickness and in health. I did sign up for this. No, I 
wouldn't choose it, but I'm here, and I'm committed.
  So, Mr. Speaker, as we conclude our recognition of National Marriage 
Week, I'm reminded of the observation of old, the observation that God 
saw it was not good for man to live alone, so God put us in families. I 
thank God for those families.
  I hope and I pray that the policies of this government will continue 
to support marriages and families so that we can have a strong America.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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