OAH Issues Statement Opposing Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

April 16, 2004

April 2004

The¬†Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians, the largest professional and learned society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history, including legal and constitutional history, the history of marriage and the family, and the history of civil rights movements, voted unanimously to approve the following resolution in opposition to President Bush’s call for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. This action took place at the organization’s annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, March 25-28, 2004. The OAH has more than 9,000 members including college and university professors, precollegiate teachers, archivists, public historians, independent scholars, and students:

Research by numerous scholars who have studied marriage, sexuality, and kinship throughout U.S. history supports the view that diverse types of families, including families built on same-sex partnerships, have existed across time, even as law and government have accorded some of those families unequal status. Laws and customs regulating marriage, as well as the U.S. Constitution, have not been static, but have tended to increase the number of people entitled to claim the benefits and responsibilities of legal marriage. Because no evidence exists that a viable democracy depends upon defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and because the campaign against same-sex marriage promotes discrimination, the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians strongly opposes a federal constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.