Congressman Steve King
Congressman Steve King
May 9, 2013

The Daily Times Herald and Jefferson Bee & Herald recently interviewed U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in Greene County. The following is an exchange on marriage policy.

Daily Times Herald: The report of the U.S House on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act explained its purpose this way: "Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval with homosexuality." Do you agree with that statement?

Congressman King: I haven't made such a statement. I would want to read that whole House report and see what it says on balance. I'll tell you my position instead - and I've long said it's a legal position. If there's going to be a change in marriage, first, thousands of years of human experience say that a man and a woman joined together, especially in holy matrimony, is the ideal way to transfer our values into the next generation.

That's why society promotes affirmatively marriage between a man and a woman. That's why I wrote the article that's posted in National Review now that defines why we have a marriage license. You've probably heard me make this argument. But I've not been rebutted so I'm going to say I think it's a really sound one. That is that a license is by definition a permit to do that which is otherwise illegal. Hunt, fish, drive, brain surgery, cut hair, whatever it might be. Join the bar or own one, I wrote in that article. So I thought that was a nice little piece of philosophical alliteration. Society provides licenses for all those things and many more.

Every license out there requires that you meet the conditions and the requirements of that licensure. For example, I'll never be a brain surgeon. I can't meet the standard. I may be able to be a barber, but it would take a lot of practice. But I'd have to meet those standards and then receive the license. Nobody complains about qualities, qualifications for licenses, and yet that seems to be the complaint about a marriage license.

I think the critics of marriage between a man and a woman have this whole tone wrong, and that tone is a marriage license is something that's affirmative. It's a promotion of, not a discrimination against. So I make that case strongly.

Each of the state institutions that have done that have come down on those lines. Motives for other people to support marriage between a man and a woman, under whatever their motives might be, that's up to them. But I come down on this side consistently, and I'm not making a moral judgment on others.

(Editor's Note: More stories and commentaries on the 45-minute interview with Congressman King, which covered a wide swath of issues from politics to immigration reform to foreign policy to agriculture, were published in the print version of the Daily Times Herald. Those stories are archived online at