MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–The national movement to ban same-sex “marriage” continued March 10 when Alabama legislators sent a constitutional marriage amendment to voters.
The Alabama Senate passed an amendment by a vote of 30-0, two days after the House passed it 85-7. It will go to voters during the next statewide election, which right now is in June 2006. It will go to voters this year if a special election is held.
This year alone legislatures in three states have sent amendments to citizens. Kansas citizens will vote on an amendment April 5, while South Dakotans will vote on one in the 2006 general election.
A marriage amendment has never failed at the ballot box. Last year voters in 13 states passed amendments with an average of 70.8 percent of the vote.
The amendments are in reaction to events in Massachusetts, where that state’s high court issued a ruling legalizing “gay marriage.” Massachusetts did not have a marriage amendment.
Alabama state Sen. Hinton Mitchem, a Democrat, said same-sex “marriages” are bad for society.
“It’s not good for our children to see,” he was quoted as saying in an Associated Press story.
All total, 16 states already have passed such amendments. A 17th state, Hawaii, passed an amendment that gives the state legislature the power to ban same-sex “marriage.”
The amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings. But because the amendments are vulnerable in federal court, pro-family leaders are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Nevertheless, the amendments are a critical layer in the effort to stop the same-sex “marriage” march. Washington state’s high court heard a “gay marriage” case March 8. That state has no marriage amendment.
“We must take the steps necessary to protect the institution of marriage,” Alabama state Rep. Gerald Allen, a Republican, said, according to the AP.
Alabama’s proposed amendment reads, in part:
“Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting this unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state.”
The amendment also bans any “union replicating marriage,” a phrase which could be interpreted as banning Vermont-style civil unions.
Approximately 20 others states are considering passing marriage amendments.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage