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Idaho legislature sends marriage amendment to voters

BOISE, Idaho (BP)–Idaho’s Senate Feb. 15 sent a state constitutional marriage amendment to voters, making it the fifth state to place such an amendment on the ballot for 2006.

Idaho joins Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee — all of which are scheduled to vote on state marriage amendments this year. That list is expected to grow. Virginians almost certainly will get to vote on a marriage amendment. Other states, including Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin and West Virginia, may join the list.

The Idaho Senate passed the amendment by a vote of 26-9, giving it two more votes than the 24 needed for the required two-thirds majority. The Idaho House previously had passed the amendment, 53-17. The successful legislative vote comes one year after a similar amendment failed to pass the state Senate when it fell three votes short of the required supermajority.

The proposed amendment would protect the natural definition of marriage by preventing Idaho courts from legalizing “gay marriage.” Only 23 words, it states: “A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”

Nineteen states have adopted marriage amendments, and it is possible that by the end of 2006 a majority of states will have passed them. Incredibly, the amendments have passed by an average of more than 70 percent of the vote. An amendment has never failed at the ballot.

Massachusetts’ highest court issued a decision in 2003 legalizing “gay marriage.” The highest courts in New Jersey and Washington state are considering similar lawsuits. None of those states have marriage amendments.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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