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Frist sets Marriage Protection Amendment vote for June; says ‘values are under attack’

WASHINGTON (BP)–Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Feb. 10 that he would bring the Marriage Protection Amendment to the floor for debate the week of June 5.

The amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 1, would protect the traditional definition of marriage by preventing federal and state courts from legalizing “gay marriage.” It currently has 29 sponsors.

“When America’s values are under attack, we need to act,” Frist, R.-Tenn., speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, said, according to The Washington Post.

The amendment is needed, Frist said, to prevent “the whims of a few activist judges” from overriding “the common sense of the American people.”

Currently, the only federal law protecting the traditional definition of marriage is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That law prevents the federal government from recognizing “gay marriage” and also allows individual states to refuse to recognize another state’s “gay marriages.”

Two federal lawsuits have been filed against DOMA. Although Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “gay marriage,” either lawsuit could result in the other 49 states presumably being forced to legalize “gay marriage” or recognize those “marriages” from the Bay State. The Marriage Protection Amendment would trump any court ruling.

“This June, the American people will be watching to see if their senators will step up to the plate and take a stand in defense of marriage,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement. “The Marriage Protection Amendment is the only tool the American people have to ensure that the definition of marriage remains one man and one woman.”

Massachusetts’ highest court issued its ruling legalizing “gay marriage” in 2003. Washington state’s highest court is set to issue a ruling on “gay marriage” in the coming weeks. New Jersey’s highest court will hear oral arguments in such a case Feb. 15. And New York state’s highest court is expected to hear a “gay marriage” case later this year or next year.

All total, nine states are involved in “gay marriage” suits. Homosexual activists believe that wins on the state level will strengthen their chances of a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, but they don’t have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society,” Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, which drafted the proposed amendment, said in a statement. “Americans want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family, and their future.”

Constitutional amendments require the support of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths (38) of the states. The Senate debated the marriage amendment in 2004, and a procedural vote netted 48 votes for the amendment, resulting in essentially a filibuster. The amendment needed 60 votes to block a filibuster and force an up-or-down vote. But since that 2004 vote, several more conservative senators have been elected.

The proposed amendment states: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only 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.”
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.

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