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MARRIAGE DIGEST: FMA tally finds 29 yes votes, many unknowns

WASHINGTON (BP)–Let the headcount begin.

With the Senate scheduled to take up the Federal Marriage Amendment the week of July 12, supporters on both sides of the issue have begun counting heads to see if the amendment has the 67 votes needed for passage.

So far, it doesn’t, but there is an unknown number of undecided senators.

The latest headcount, conducted June 22-24 by the conservative political group Human Events, has 29 senators for the amendment, 18 against and eight undecided. The remainder of the senators did not respond to Human Events’ survey. All but one of the “yes” votes are Republicans; all but two of the “no” votes are Democrats.

But the number of “no” votes undoubtedly is somewhat higher. A handful of Democratic senators — such as John Kerry, Edward Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer and Russell Feingold — who are known to oppose the amendment did not respond to the survey. If they are included, then amendment opponents are close if not beyond the 34 votes needed to defeat it.

Nevertheless, Human Events’ headcount revealed some interesting results.

Four Democratic senators are listed as undecided: Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ernest Hollings (S.C.) and Robert Byrd (W.Va.).

Both Arkansas’ senators, Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, are against the amendment, even though Arkansas voters may vote on and pass a state constitutional amendment this fall. Lincoln faces re-election this year.

Two Republican senators are against the amendment: Susan Collins (Maine) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.).

The complete list, courtesy of www.humaneventsonline.com, follows:

FOR THE AMENDMENT: Jeff Sessions, R.-Ala.; Richard Shelby, R.-Ala.; Jon Kyl, R.-Ariz.; Wayne Allard, R.-Colo.; Zell Miller, D.-Ga.; Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa; Larry Craig, R.-Idaho; Michael Crapo, R.-Idaho; Sam Brownback, R.-Kan.; Jim Bunning, R.-Ky.; Norm Coleman, R.-Minn.; James Talent, R.-Mo.; Thad Cochran, R.-Miss.; Trent Lott, R.-Miss.; Conrad Burns, R.-Mont.; Elizabeth Dole, R.-N.C.; Pete Domenici, R.-N.M.; John Ensign, R.-Nev.; James Inhofe, R.-Okla.; Don Nickles, R.-Okla.; Rick Santorum, R.-Pa.; Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C.; Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn.; Bill Frist, R.-Tenn.; John Cornyn, R.-Texas; Kay Hutchison, R.-Texas; Orrin Hatch, R.-Utah; George Allen, R.-Va.; Michael Enzi, R.-Wyo.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT: Blanche Lincoln, D.-Ark.; Mark Pryor, D.-Ark.; Christopher Dodd, D.-Conn.; Joseph Lieberman, D.-Conn.; Bob Graham, D.-Fla.; Richard Durbin, D.-Ill.; Paul Sarbanes, D.-Md.; Susan Collins, R.-Maine; Carl Levin, D.-Mich.; Mark Dayton, D.-Minn.; John Edwards, D.-N.C.; Ben Nelson, D.-Neb.; Jon Corzine, D.-N.J.; Jeff Bingaman, D.-N.M.; Harry Reid, D.-Nev.; Lincoln Chafee, R.-R.I.; Jack Reed, D.-R.I., Patrick Leahy, D.-Vt.

UNDECIDED: Lisa Murkowski, R.-Alaska; Daniel Inouye, D.-Hawaii; Mary Landrieu, D.-La.; Olympia Snowe, R.-Maine; Mike DeWine, R.-Ohio; Gordon Smith, R.-Ore.; Ernest Hollings, D.-S.C.; Robert Byrd, D.-W.Va.

The remainder of the senators did not respond to the survey, which involved contacting their offices.

In other news related to same-sex “marriage”:

TEST VOTES IN HOUSE –- U.S. House leaders likely will hold test votes related to same-sex “marriage” before they bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to the floor, The Washington Times reported June 24. The test votes would give leaders an indication of where members stand on the amendment.

One test vote could involve a bill that would prevent federal courts from ruling on the issue of same-sex “marriage.” Another test vote could involve a defense of marriage act for the District of Columbia, the newspaper reported.

“We want [the amendment] to win, and we have an opportunity to grow the vote with a two-vote strategy,” Rep. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa., said.

NEW PALTZ AGAIN –- A New York judge has issued a temporary restraining order saying that city officials in New Paltz, N.Y., cannot perform same-sex “marriages.” The June 24 order by Justice Michael Kavanagh came after two town officials, Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler and Trustee Julia Walsh, presided over a handful of “marriages.”

The mayor of New Paltz, Jason West, previously had been barred from presiding over the ceremonies. But that order applied only to West, leaving an opening for other city officials to perform the ceremonies. Kavanagh’s order changed that.

CALIF. ASSEMBLY OPPOSED –- If the Federal Marriage Amendment ever makes it out of Washington, D.C., and to the states, it would face an almost certain defeat in the California legislature. That state’s Assembly passed a resolution by a 42-27 margin June 25 opposing the amendment, the Associated Press reported.

Opponents of the resolution said it thwarts the will of the people. In 2000 California voters passed a defense of marriage law by a margin of 61-39 percent.

SCHWARZENEGGER INDIFFERENT –- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger further muddled his public position on same-sex “marriage” June 24, saying he doesn’t care about the issue.

The comment, reported in The Los Angeles Times, took place in a restaurant after a homosexual man asked the Republican governor his opinion about same-sex “marriage.”

“My opinion is that I don’t care one way or the other,” he responded.

In May, a spokesperson for the governor told The Sacramento Bee: “[Schwarzenegger] has stated pretty clearly that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”

N.M. THE NEXT MASS? –- The New Mexico Supreme Court has requested legal briefs from the state attorney general’s office in the case involving Sandoval County Clerk Victoria Dunlap, the AP reported June 23.

Dunlap wants the high court to dismiss a temporary restraining order that prevents her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state attorney general has opposed Dunlap’s action, saying same-sex “marriage” is illegal in New Mexico.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust