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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Amendment introduced in U.S. Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The move to protect the traditional definition of marriage within the U.S. Constitution took another step forward Nov. 25 when the Federal Marriage Amendment was introduced in the Senate.

Sen. Wayne Allard, R.-Colo., introduced the amendment on the Senate floor exactly one week after the highest court in Massachusetts legalized same-sex “marriage” in that state. The court issued a 180-day state to give the state legislature time to act.

While several senators had expressed support for an amendment in recent months, it had yet to be introduced officially.

“This union is sacred and must remain so,” Allard said, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

The proposal has four cosponsors, all Republicans: Sam Brownback of Kansas; Jim Bunning of Kentucky; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The proposed amendment now goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This summer Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R.-Colo., introduced the amendment in the House, where it has 107 cosponsors. It needs passage of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and ratification of three-fourths of the states.

But so far Democrats have been cold to the idea, and on Nov. 23 Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D.-S.D., said he is opposed to an amendment.

The Democratic National Committee’s website has an entire section on “gay and lesbian” issues where it asserts that an amendment would “force states to discriminate against groups of their own citizens.”

Two polls released since the ruling show that more than 60 percent of Americans oppose same-sex “marriage.” Additionally, three major polls this year — all taken before the Massachusetts ruling — showed that between 54 and 58 percent of Americans support a constitutional amendment.

The Constitution provides a second method for adopting an amendment that would bypass Congress, although it has never succeeded. In this method two-thirds of the states would call a constitutional convention, where support from three-fourths of the states would be required for an amendment’s ratification.

The proposed amendment reads: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”

AFFIRMING DOMA — Sen. Don Nickles, R.-Okla., introduced a resolution affirming the Defense of Marriage Act Nov. 25. While non-binding, the resolution would force senators to show where they stand on something that is already law.

Signed into law in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act protects states from being forced to recognize another state’s same-sex “marriage.”

Nickles’ resolution has six cosponsors.

NEW POLL — A FOX News poll released Nov. 21 shows that Americans oppose same-sex “marriage” by a margin of 66-25 percent. The poll of 900 registered voters was conducted Nov. 18-19.

Americans also opposed marriage-like civil unions by a margin of 48-44 percent.

NO SUPPORT? — Following the Massachusetts ruling, some members of the media, quoting a Pew Research poll, said that only 10 percent of the public favors amending the Constitution to ban same-sex “marriage.”

However, the poll did not ask a yes-or-no question on the subject. Specifically, the poll asked: “Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to ban gay marriage, or is it enough to prohibit gay marriage by law without changing the Constitution?”

Ten percent said the Constitution should be amended while 42 percent said prohibition by law was enough.

However, there is no federal law banning states from legalizing same-sex “marriage.” The Defense of Marriage simply says the federal government will not recognize such “marriages” legalized in states. Conservatives fear it will be ruled unconstitutional.

This summer an Associated Press poll showed support for an amendment at 54 percent while a FOX News poll showed it to be at 58 percent.

NOT YET — The city council of Cambridge, Mass., voted Nov. 25 to support same-sex “marriage” — but to wait until the court-ordered 180 days is expired before issuing licenses.

In the days following the decision one city councilman said he favored the city issuing marriage licenses immediately.

Several conservative groups, including the Center for Marriage Law and the Alliance Defense Fund, threatened a lawsuit if the city did not wait.

MESSAGE FROM ARIZONA — Jake Flake, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, wants his body to pass a resolution urging Washington politicians to pass a constitutional amendment.

“We hope to be the first state to get this to Congress,” he said, according to The Arizona Republic newspaper.

Flake will try to fast-track the bill in January, the paper said.

MINN. MOVING — Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and state Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum want to see a state constitutional amendment passed protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

Although Minnesota has a defense of marriage act in law, a constitutional amendment is considered an even stronger protection against a state court ruling.

“We think it will repel any legal challenges here,” Pawlenty said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper.

If Massachusetts had such an amendment, the court would not have been able to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

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  • Michael Foust