"Any constitutional amendment is a very difficult hill to climb, but I think my colleagues are going to be surprised of the support coming from people back home," he said.
So why push? It's all about the children, who were the victims of last week's Supreme Court decisions, he said.
Here are edited excerpts from the conversation with Huelskamp:
NJ: You've had some time to reflect on this. How do you feel about the Supreme Court rulings?
HUELSKAMP: I still remain disappointed. After looking closer at them, they could have gone much further. They didn't declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. So, it's good to see the Court was not able to garner enough votes for that.
I'm continually amazed at the tortured logic of the two different majorities on those decisions and how they came to the goal they clearly wanted to get to. They're kind of schizophrenic decisions if you put them back to back.
NJ: Well, that's where you come in with your proposal for a marriage amendment. What sort of support are you seeing from your colleagues on this amendment? Any Democratic support?
HUELSKAMP: Too early to tell. In the Republican conference, we have John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers who were here the last time we voted for a marriage amendment. They voted for it and hopefully they'll be back saying the same. Hopefully they haven't changed their positions on that given how strongly the speaker was trying to defend [the Defense of Marriage Act]. Hopefully we'll get some strong support from leadership.
NJ: You've had some experience with this. You were behind the Kansas marriage amendment ban. What sort of lessons do you take from that?
HUELSKAMP: We were watching what was happening in other states and there were plenty of folks on the Republican side in general who wanted to make sure it was a very potent political weapon with the timing of when to put it on the ballot. And I understood all that, but I said at the end it's the issue that matters. And there were Republicans who didn't want to do it, but at the end of the day they said, "OK, if you put it to votes, you're going to make us vote for it." And we got it done. But it took two sessions and one election intervening. A number of folks got beat in 2004 because they were unwilling to put it on the ballot.
When we deal with constitutional amendments, every member of Congress needs to do his due diligence. But at the end of the day, you've got to put it out to the states. States make the decision eventually.
It'll get a full hearing over here. Any constitutional amendment is a very difficult hill to climb, but I think my colleagues are going to be surprised of the support coming from people back home. As much as we follow the decisions, there are only a few thousand people looking at the SCOTUSblog and the real world is still going on. And they hear the news and said, "Really? This is where our country has gone to? And we have 37 states that have this and these five justices will overrule 7 million Californians and this is all pretty strange and pretty nondemocratic." The debate of marriage is just starting. It's not over.