TOPEKA, Kan. (BP)–A constitutional marriage amendment in Kansas cleared its first hurdle Jan. 13 when it passed the state Senate with one vote to spare.
Needing a two-thirds majority of 27 votes, the amendment passed 28-11 and now moves on to the state House. Amendment supporters are hoping the House will deal with the issue soon so that it can appear on the ballot April 5. For that to happen, the House would have to pass it by Feb. 11. It would need 84 votes in the 125-seat chamber, according to the Associated Press.
Supporters of the amendment, which would ban both same-sex “marriage” and civil unions, say it is needed to protect against Massachusetts-type court rulings. That state’s high court legalized same-sex “marriage.”
“Can we be sure that no activist judges or officials exist in Kansas?” Sen. Dennis Wilson, a Republican and an amendment supporter, said, according to the Associated Press. “An amendment to our constitution is the only way to protect the sacred institution.”
Southern Baptists applauded the Senate vote.
“[Marriage] goes to the very core of who we are as a civilization,” Pat Bullock, director of missions for the Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association, said, according to the AP. “When you change the definition of marriage, you change the definition of morality.”
Critics of the amendments argued that Kansas already has a law banning same-sex “marriage.” But supporters countered by saying current law could be struck down by a state court. Washington state’s law against same-sex “marriage” was overturned by a state court last year.
Kansas courts would be bound by the text of a marriage amendment.
Kansas House Speaker Doug Mays, a Republican, said Jan. 14 that the House likely would take up the amendment within the next week.
“I think most members in the House understand exactly where they stand,” he said, according to the AP.
Thirteen states passed marriage amendments in 2004 with an average of 70.8 percent of the vote.
Although, state amendments protect against state court rulings, they are vulnerable in federal courts. Nebraska’s amendment is being challenged in federal court. For that reason, pro-family leaders are promoting a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The same-sex “marriage” movement has made most its progress in the courts. Nine states are defending their marriage laws in lawsuits brought by homosexual and liberal activists.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage