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Senate Votes to Block Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

In a vote that fell far short of the three-fifths majority needed, the Senate overwhelmingly blocked attempts to move forward on the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. The vote on cloture, which would have ended debate on the proposed amendment and stymied Democratic filibuster efforts, garnered only 48 of the 60 votes necessary. The vote crossed party lines, with six Republicans – Campbell (CO), Chafee (RI), Collins (ME), McCain (AZ), Snowe (ME), and Sunuu (NH) – voting against the cloture, and three Democrats – Byrd (WV), Miller (GA), and Nelson (NE) – voting for it. The New York Times reports that this vote did not reflect the full measure of opposition as some Republicans who oppose the amendment followed their leadership on this procedural vote. Most Senators, both Democrat and Republican, believe that marriage should be a state issue and not regulated by the Constitution. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told the New York Times that he found this amendment contrary to the fundamental Republican philosophy of states’ rights: “It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed, and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them.” In fact, many Democrats in the Senate challenged the Republican leadership’s timing in forcing a vote on an issue they didn’t think they could win as nothing more than a political ploy and the result of election-year scheming, reports the New York Times. Debate is far from over on the topic of same-sex marriage. The Human Rights Campaign reports that 25 states have introduced legislation during 2004 that would in some way prohibit same-sex marriages, with 11 states poised to vote on amendments to state constitutions in November. Additionally, the House is currently considering legislation that would prevent federal judges from hearing cases challenging laws against same-sex marriage, according to the House Judiciary Committee. JOIN the Feminist Majority

Sources:

New York Times 7/14/04; HRC press release 7/14/04, marriage statistics 7/8/04, House Judiciary Committee press release 7/14/04, US Senate Vote 155