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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Calls lead congressman to change vote

WASHINGTON (BP)–When supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment flooded U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson’s office with phone calls, the Mississippi Democrat listened.

Thompson had planned on voting against the amendment in the days leading up to the Sept. 30 House vote, but changed his mind when his constituents called his office.

“I vote the interests of my district,” Thompson told Gannett News Service.

Thompson was one of approximately 125 House members included on a “high priority” list released by the Family Research Council. The Washington-based pro-family group urged amendment supporters to call representatives on the list.

“I heard from a significant group of people,” Thompson said.

His press secretary told Gannett that their office received some 7,000 calls for the amendment, 20 against it.

The amendment — which would protect the traditional definition of marriage by banning same-sex “marriage” — fell short of the required two-thirds majority (290 votes) but did receive a majority vote. The final tally was 227-186. Constitutional amendments require the passage of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states.

Several pro-family leaders called the majority vote a “good start” in what is expected to be a lengthy process.

Supporters warn that without an amendment, homosexual activists will sue in federal court to force same-sex “marriage” on all 50 states. This summer, a lesbian couple “married” in Massachusetts sued in a federal court in Florida, seeking to have their license recognized nationwide. Massachusetts is the only state with legalized same-sex “marriage.”

CANADIAN COURT LISTENS — The Canadian Supreme Court began hearing arguments Oct. 6 in a case that could decide the legality of the government’s same-sex “marriage” proposal.

The federal government, controlled by the Liberal party, wrote a bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” nationwide and sent it to the high court for a non-binding review. That review began Oct. 6.

Five of the nation’s 10 provinces — in addition to the Yukon territory — already have legalized same-sex “marriage.”

Lawyers for the government argued for the bill while religious groups and the attorney general of Alberta spoke against it.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops asserted that the proposal infringes on religious freedom.

“[T]his proposed legislation would impose a social and moral orthodoxy that contravenes freedom of conscience and religion,” the bishops said in a statement. “At the heart of the demand for same-sex marriage, the CCCB argues, is a demand for respect and moral approval of the underlying sexual relationship, a demand that could only be met by many Canadians through abrogation of their religious beliefs.”

A ruling is expected in 2005, the Associated Press reported.

CANADIANS SPLIT — A new poll shows that Canadians continue to be split regarding the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” The Ipsos-Reid poll of 1,000 adults shows that 44 percent of Canadians support “same-sex couples being allowed to marry and register their marriage with their provincial government,” while 43 are opposed.

The support varies wildly according to the province. The provinces of Quebec (62 percent), Ontario (56 percent) and British Columbia (53 percent) support same-sex “marriage.” Meanwhile, support is less than 50 percent in the Atlantic provinces (48 percent), Alberta (41 percent) and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (39 percent).

DELAY IN N.J. — In a victory for pro-family groups, the New Jersey Supreme Court had decided that a same-sex “marriage” case in that state must make its way through the appeals court. The homosexual activist group Lambda Legal had hoped to bypass the appeals court and have the case heard by the high court.

Last November a New Jersey judge tossed out a suit seeking the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Lambda Legal chose to appeal directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court, but the justices unanimously turned down the request Oct. 6, the Star-Ledger newspaper reported.

Assuming the high court eventually hears the case, pro-family leaders are not optimistic about the outcome. The New Jersey Supreme Court is the one that in 1999 ruled that the Boy Scouts could not prevent homosexuals from becoming troop leaders. That decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

AMENDMENT POLLS — New polls in Oregon, Montana and Ohio show that constitutional marriage amendments there are favored by a majority of citizens. All three states will have amendments on the Nov. 2 ballot.

In Oregon, the amendment there is winning by a margin of 51-40 percent, according to an Oregonian/KATU-TV telephone poll of 624 registered voters. Homosexual activists believe their best chance at defeating an amendment is in Oregon. The dates the poll was conducted were not listed.

In Montana, the amendment is supported by a margin of 61-32 percent, according to a Mason-Dixon telephone poll of 625 likely voters. The poll was conducted Sept. 20-22.

In Ohio, the amendment there is supported by a margin of 63-30 percent, according to a Columbus Dispatch poll by mail of 2,858 registered Ohio voters. The poll was conducted Sept. 22-Oct. 2.

As many as 11 states could vote on marriage amendments Nov. 2.

State marriage amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings legalizing same-sex “marriage.” But state amendments can be overturned in federal court, where Nebraska’s marriage amendment is being challenged. For that reason, pro-family groups are supporting a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

WASH. STATE POLL — A poll in Washington state shows that voters there oppose same-sex “marriage” by a margin of 50-43 percent. The poll of 406 registered voters, conducted for four newspapers, was conducted Sept. 17-20.

Two Washington state judges this summer issued rulings legalizing same-sex “marriage,” although both rulings are being appealed. The Washington state Supreme Court is expected to hear the case within the next year.

Pro-family groups are pushing the state legislature to pass a state constitutional marriage amendment.

SENATORS OPPOSED — Ohio’s two Republican Senators, Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, say they will vote against that state’s constitutional marriage amendment on the grounds that it will hurt the state’s economy.

The amendment’s second sentence has attracted controversy. Opponents say it could prevent private businesses from giving same-sex couples the financial benefits of marriage. Amendment supporters disagree, saying it would affect only state benefits. The amendment would ban both same-sex “marriage” and civil unions.

DeWine and Voinovich both voted for the U.S. constitutional marriage amendment.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust