NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Senator Orrin Hatch has signed on as a co-sponsor of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, signaling an important step forward in its passage.
In recent weeks Hatch, R.-Utah, had floated the idea of passing an alternative amendment that would give individual states the right to define marriage however they wish — essentially a constitutional version of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That proposal, if passed and ratified, would result in a patchwork of marriage laws nationwide.
In March, Hatch said there “may be other approaches that warrant our consideration,” according to Bloomberg news service.
While it is not known if Hatch would still support such an amendment, his backing of the current version is significant if the Federal Marriage Amendment has any chance to pass the Senate. It needs 67 votes there, meaning that support from nearly all of the Senate’s 51 Republicans is essential.
Hatch signed on as a co-sponsor April 7, bringing to 11 the number of Senate supporters. Only one of them, Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, is a Democrat.
The Federal Marriage Amendment, re-introduced with new language by Sen. Wayne Allard in March, reads: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
PROTEST IN OREGON — Focus on the Family’s James Dobson led a rally of some 2,000 evangelical and pro-family supporters in Clackamas, Ore., April 5, opposing same-sex “marriage” and supporting an effort to amend the state’s constitution to protect the traditional definition of marriage. The Portland area remains the only locality in America issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, although they are doing it in violation of state law.
“This is the Waterloo, this is the Gettysburg,” Dobson said, according to The Oregonian. “If lost, it will be like a mirror shattered. Once it’s broken, it will not be able to be repaired.”
The rally was held at New Hope Community Church. Pro-family leaders in the state are organizing a petition drive in an attempt to put a marriage amendment on the ballot this fall. They have launched a website: www.defenseofmarriagecoalition.com.
AND IN SAN FRAN. — Some 1,000 Catholics held a rally in San Francisco April 3, protesting the city’s decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Archbishop William J. Levada helped lead the rally, the Associated Press reported.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” one of the protesters, Madeleine Veneklase, said, according to the AP. “That’s how God made us and that’s the way to true happiness in a relationship.”
Last month, the California Supreme Court ordered a halt to the city’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
ORE. REPUBLICANS PRO-FAMILY — The Oregon Republican Party has asked the state legislature to send a marriage amendment to voters, providing hope that there may be a second way to put an amendment on the ballot. Traditionalists in the state already are organizing a petition drive, with the goal of gaining 100,000 signatures by early July to force a vote this fall.
The Oregon Republican Party’s resolution asks the legislature to tackle the issue in June, when legislators already are scheduled to meet in a special session relating to tax reform, The Oregonian reported.
MASS. VOTERS SPLIT — Massachusetts voters are split on their support for a compromise marriage amendment passed recently by state legislators, according to a new poll. Forty-seven percent of residents support the amendment, 47 oppose it, according to the University of Massachusetts poll. The amendment would ban same-sex “marriage” while legalizing civil unions. However, because of the state’s lengthy process for passing an amendment, it wouldn’t go before voters until 2006. It must pass in another legislative session before going to voters.
The poll interviewed 463 people between March 30 and April 4.
JESSE JACKSON, PART II — Jesse Jackson rejects comparisons between the civil rights movement and the homosexual rights movement, but nevertheless opposes a proposed Massachusetts constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage” while legalizing civil unions.
“We must measure human rights by one yardstick: Marry who you want to. And leave when you’re ready,” he told The Boston Globe.
Speaking at Harvard in February, Jackson did not say whether he supported same-sex “marriage” but criticized civil rights-homosexual rights comparisons. He told The Boston Globe that such analogies are “a stretch.”
MICHIGAN PETITION DRIVE — Having failed in the state legislature, Michigan pro-family leaders are beginning a petition drive to put a constitutional marriage amendment before voters this fall. Leaders, who have organized into a group called Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, must collect some 317,000 signatures by mid-July, according to the Detroit Free Press.
A March vote in the Michigan House fell short of the required two-thirds majority. Needing 73 votes, the bill received 65 in favor, 38 against.
VIDEO GAMES, TOO? — The issue of same-sex “marriage” apparently has made its way into the popular youth realm of video games. According to Armchairarcade.com, Atari’s role-playing game “The Temple of Elemental Evil” contains a scene where the player is offered the love of a male homosexual. The game is part of the Dungeons and Dragons series.
The character, a pirate named Bertram, promises a “lifetime of love and happiness” if he is rescued, the review states.
“The party can elect to take Bertram with them or, more likely, allow him to remain in Nulb where he will pleasantly pass the hours until the player finishes the game,” the review states. “He shows back up in the concluding scenes if the player rescued him. A portrait is displayed with two men embraced, and the narrator levelly explains that you and Bertram were married and lived, as they say, happily ever after.”
For more information about the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit