Minnesota Senator Al Franken on Thursday disputed Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's assertions on marriage.

During a Senate committee hearing on repeal of the Defense of Marriage (DOMA), Grassley noted his opposition to eliminating the 1996 law that bars federal agencies and the military from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples by stating that marriage has always been between a man and a woman.

“I just believe you misstated the history of marriage,” Franken said. “Marriage has not existed as a union between one man and one woman for thousands of years in every culture. In many cultures, men have been able to marry many women and even young girls. For centuries, women have been treated as chattel in marriage. Further, if the religious purpose of marriage is for procreation, why would we sanction marriage between an 80-year-old widower and an 80-year-old widow?”

“I just think we need to be accurate when we talk about [the] history of man and woman, the history of our institutions,” Franken added. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Franken added that he had great respect for Grassley.