Updated June 17, 10:03 a.m. Eastern
NEW YORK (BP)–Seven months after suffering a surprising defeat at the ballot, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle was given a leadership award June 13 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for his role in defeating the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Daschle, a Democrat from the conservative state of South Dakota, appeared at a leadership awards ceremony in New York City alongside Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), the featured speaker.
Last summer Daschle successfully led Democrats in blocking the marriage amendment from receiving a vote. Needing 60 votes to prevent a filibuster, it got 48.
Although Daschle said at the time he opposed “gay marriage,” his views no longer are so clear. According to the Dakota Voice newspaper, Daschle told the ceremony attendees that “politics should be about hope and unifying people” and that “we’re on the right side of history.”
Here also compared the struggle to legalize “gay marriage” to the struggles to end slavery and overturn bans on interracial marriage.
“Slaves were told they were two-thirds of a person and there was a time when people of different races couldn’t get married,” Daschle said, according to the Gay City News.
Homosexual activists praised Daschle’s leadership.
“Senator Daschle led the successful fight to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in the U.S. Senate,” the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stated on its website. “In doing so, he put his 25-year career in Congress on the line to help wage one of the crucial battles in the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.”
Daschle lost his re-election bid to John Thune, who made Daschle’s opposition to the marriage amendment and President Bush’s judicial nominees central themes.
Daschle said last summer he believed the issue of “gay marriage” should be left to the states.
“There is no argument, in my view … about whether marriage ought to be between a man and a woman,” Daschle said in July during floor debate. “It ought to. The real question is whether we ought to amend the United States Constitution.”
But since then the landscape has changed significantly. Fourteen states have passed constitutional marriage amendments within the past year, showing that opposition to “gay marriage” is widespread on the state level.
Yet those amendments apparently are vulnerable in federal court. In May a federal judge overturned Nebraska’s marriage amendment, saying it discriminates against homosexuals. That ruling was enough to convince Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska to support a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“His position has always been that he thinks marriage should be regulated by the states, and that he would support a federal effort to amend the Constitution only if a federal court overruled a state law,” Nelson spokesman David DiMartino told Baptist Press. “And that has now happened.”
SPAIN, CANADA TO LEGALIZE ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ — The number of countries that recognize “gay marriage” likely will double by year’s end — if not by summer’s end — with Canada and Spain joining the list.
Currently Belgium and the Netherlands are the only countries with legalized “gay marriage.” Canada and Spain would give homosexual activists their biggest victories yet.
A bill legalizing “gay marriage” passed a Spanish senate committee June 14, sending it to the full senate, the Associated Press reported. It already has passed the lower house of parliament. The senate version has a conservative-backed amendment that allows civil officials who object to “gay marriage” to refuse to perform the ceremonies.
In Canada, a bill that would legalize “gay marriage” is on a fast track and has the support of Prime Minister Paul Martin. Thanks to a series of court rulings, “gay marriage” already is legal in seven of 10 provinces and one of three territories.
‘GAY WEDDING’ ON MILITARY BASE — Canada recently had its first “gay wedding” on a military base, further highlighting a deep cultural divide between the U.S. and its northern neighbor.
The two men — one a sergeant, the other a warrant officer — were “married” in a military chapel on a base in Nova Scotia, where “gay marriage” is legal, Canadian Press reported.
Homosexuals can serve openly in Canada’s military. The U.S. has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits homosexuals from disclosing their sexual preference.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage