Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Like Senate, House Fails to Pass Gay-marriage Ban

Expand Messages
  • umcornet
    President Bush, in a statement released after the vote, suggested that the defeat marked the beginning of a bigger fight. ... Like Senate, House Fails to Pass
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      President Bush, in a statement released after the vote, suggested that
      the defeat marked the beginning of a bigger fight.
      --------------------

      Like Senate, House Fails to Pass Gay-marriage Ban
      By Robert Marus
      Associated Baptist Press
      October 1, 2004

      WASHINGTON (ABP) -- The House of Representatives followed the Senate's
      lead Sept. 30 in defeating a proposed constitutional amendment that
      would ban marriage -- and, arguably, marriage-like benefits -- for
      same-sex couples.

      A House version of the Federal Marriage Amendment proposal failed to
      receive the necessary two-thirds vote for passage, though it did
      receive a majority of 227 to 186. Twenty-seven Republicans joined most
      Democrats in voting against the amendment, while 36 Democrats crossed
      the aisle to vote in favor of it.

      A similar proposal failed a procedural vote in the Senate in July,
      when supporters of the marriage ban failed to muster even a simple
      majority.

      Many Congress observers had predicted ahead of time that the House
      vote would fail, and the earlier Senate failure led many Democrats to
      accuse Republicans of playing election-year politics with the bill.
      Even if it had passed the House, its defeat in the Senate means the
      amendment almost certainly would have gone nowhere until next year.

      "This is a partisan exercise to distract the American people from the
      Republicans' record of failure," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.),
      the House minority leader, during debate on the bill. "And it's
      unworthy of a party that claims to be associated with Abraham
      Lincoln."

      Many opponents of the proposal said it was designed to make
      election-year life difficult for moderate Democrats who oppose the
      amendment on principle. Prominent Religious-Right organizations have
      announced that they will give heavy weight to House members' votes on
      the amendment when compiling election-year "scorecards" to hand out in
      churches.

      But several recent court decisions on gay-rights issues forced the
      House leadership's hand, Pelosi's Republican counterpart argued. "Many
      of us in the House would prefer not to have this debate," said House
      Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). "The question of the future of
      marriage in this country has been forced on us by activist judges,
      legislating from the bench."

      DeLay referred specifically to a 2003 decision by the Massachusetts
      Supreme Judicial Court that legalized same-sex marriage in that state.
      As a result, the commonwealth became, in May, the first in the United
      States to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

      DeLay and other opponents of same-sex marriage argued that federal
      lawsuits would ultimately lead to the invalidation of laws banning
      same-sex marriage in other states -- meaning a federal constitutional
      amendment is the only way to prevent the legalization of gay marriage
      nationwide.

      "Kids are what this debate is all about," said Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.).
      "It's not about civil rights or the rights of same-sex couples."

      "A family is a man and a woman that can create children and rear
      them," DeLay said. "There are wonderful families being raised by gay
      people, there are wonderful families being raised by single moms. But
      they are not the ideal."

      The amendment's opponents, however, cited the arguments of many legal
      scholars who said that, if enacted, the amendment could ban not only
      marriage, but civil unions and other marriage-like legal relationships
      designed to protect gay couples and their children.

      The amendment, as proposed, read, "Marriage in the United States shall
      consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this
      Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to
      require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon
      any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

      Gay-rights and civil-libertarian groups said the final vote vindicated
      their work against the amendment.

      "President Bush and the Republican leadership looked down the barrel
      of the biggest defeat for anti-gay extremists ever," said Laura
      Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington
      office, in a statement released shortly after the vote. "They played
      fast and loose with the Constitution in a cheap election year ploy,
      and they lost. Like the Senate did before, the House today said that
      discrimination has no place in the Constitution."

      But the proposal's supporters vowed to bring it up again in the next
      Congress. "This is only the beginning, I'm telling you, because this
      body will protect marriage," DeLay said, to rare applause from the
      House visitors' gallery. "We will take it from here, and we will come
      back, and we will come back and we will never give up."

      President Bush, in a statement released after the vote, also suggested
      that it only marked the beginning of a bigger fight.

      "Today, a bipartisan majority of U.S. Representatives voted in favor
      of a constitutional amendment affirming the sanctity of marriage as a
      union between a man and a woman," the statement read. "Because
      activist judges and local officials in some parts of the country are
      seeking to redefine marriage for the rest of the country, we must
      remain vigilant in defending traditional marriage. I welcome the
      important debate underway across America on this issue."


      -30-
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.