Person of the Week: Marilyn Musgrave

ByABC News
August 30, 2004, 2:37 PM

Feb. 27 -- When President Bush called on Congress to support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union only between a man and a woman, the debate about redefining American marriage was set on a whole new path.

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's name will always be associated with the possibility of revolutionary change.

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman," said Musgrave, R-Colo., reading her proposal for a constitutional amendment that would also forbid the courts from imposing a solution.

Musgrave's proposal was actually introduced in Congress last June. She did not quite imagine getting this much attention.

She believes America is in a culture war. She is deeply opposed to gay marriage, though she wouldn't say why.

"I do have an opinion on the issue, but I don't think that it's appropriate to bring that into this arena because I'm not a minister. I'm a lawmaker, and I function as one. When people [sponsor legislation about] Medicare or prescription drug benefits, no one wants to delve into their souls," she said.

Musgrave thinks her proposed amendment might not stop at gay marriage.

"I really think that if we redefined marriage, if we blur those lines of the definition of marriage that the next step is polygamy or group marriage."

Private Woman, Public Business

Musgrave appears to be a contradiction in some ways. She claims to be very private, but politics is the most public business. She is reserved with a stranger but wants to be a public player in the Congress.

She has already taken on her party seniors, challenging a Republican proposal for a federal gas tax and the president's AIDS package for Africa.

"If you would have told me 15 years ago that I would be where I am today, I would have found it very hard to believe," said Musgrave. "Before I ran for office, I was a stay-home mom. My life was centered around my children and my husband."