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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Both ‘Red’ & ‘Blue’ states favor amendment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The so-called “Red States” and “Blue States” are divided over their choice for president, but they’re united in their support for a constitutional marriage amendment, according to a new Zogby poll.

The poll of 1,075 likely voters found that voters in the Zogby-designated Red States, those that President Bush carried in 2000, supported a marriage amendment by a 52-43 percent margin, while voters in the Blue States, those that Al Gore carried, favored an amendment by a 50-44 percent margin.

But there were few other similarities.

In an additional Zogby poll of 1,209 likely voters, Red State voters preferred Bush over Democratic frontrunner John Kerry by a 51-39 percent margin, while Blue State voters preferred Kerry by a 46-45 percent margin.

In recent weeks, polling results on a constitutional amendment have varied depending on the phrasing of the question. For example, if the question includes a negative phrase such as “forbidding same-sex ‘marriage,'” voters are less likely to support an amendment.

The Zogby question asked: “The state of Massachusetts now allows gays and lesbians to marry and receive marriage benefits. Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that this law should be reversed by passing an amendment to the United States Constitution that grants marriage only to unions between a man and a woman?”

Only one version of an amendment has been introduced in Congress. Named the “Federal Marriage Amendment,” it has 113 supporters in the House and eight in the Senate. It would add language to the U.S. Constitution protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

Bush has not publicly endorsed it but reportedly has told Republican lawmakers that he eventually will. Kerry opposes it.

Both polls were conducted Feb. 12-15.

JESSE JACKSON ON MARRIAGE — Jesse Jackson, appearing at Harvard Law School Feb. 16, said he supports “equal protection under the law” for same-sex couples but did not say whether he supports same-sex “marriage.” But Jackson said he disagrees with some comparisons between the civil rights movement and the so-called “gay rights” movement.

“The comparison with slavery is a stretch in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution … and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the rights to vote,” Jackson said, according to The Boston Globe. “What is the same is that we all as citizens have the right to choose our partners.”

Jackson said he’s supporting the Democratic nominee for president.

AMENDMENT PASSES IN GA. — The Georgia state Senate passed a state constitutional amendment Feb. 16 by the required two-thirds vote, 40-14. The bill now moves to the Democrat-controlled House. Republicans control the Senate.

If it passes by two-thirds of the House, it will go before voters in November. Although Georgia already has a statute defining marriage, an amendment is considered greater protection against court rulings.

AND IN UTAH — Like Georgia, Utah has a statute defining marriage but is considering a state marriage amendment. The Utah House Judiciary Committee passed such an amendment 8-3 on Feb. 17. If it passes two-thirds of both chambers, it will go before Utah voters in November, according to the Associated Press.

BUT TWO BILLS DIE — Attempts to pass same-sex “marriage” bans in Maine and Wyoming failed Feb. 18.

Wyoming, one of 12 states without specific protections against same-sex “marriage,” saw its Senate Judiciary Committee defeat a bill by a 3-2 vote. Two Democrats and a Republican voted against it, while two Republicans voted for it, AP reported.

In Maine, the state House voted 73-63 against requiring the legislature’s judiciary committee to develop a constitutional marriage amendment, AP reported. The Judiciary Committee is composed of members from both chambers.

Maine is one of 38 states with a defense of marriage act, although its law is a statute, not an amendment.
For more information on the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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  • Michael Foust