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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Heinz Kerry: U.S. marriage views ‘evolving’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The wife of Democratic presidential frontrunner John Kerry said Feb. 24 she thinks same-sex “marriage” eventually will be accepted in America as the nation continues to “evolve.”

“I think with time and without a lot of politicization of this, we’ll get there,” Teresa Heinz Kerry said, according to the Associated Press. “I think our country is basically a tolerant country.”

Heinz Kerry’s comments came the same day that President Bush backed a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage. Her husband opposed the amendment, although he says he would support a state constitutional amendment in Massachusetts that would ban same-sex “marriage” but legalize civil unions.

“I think culturally we’re going through a huge change,” Heinz Kerry said. “I look at it in a human context because I have friends in those situations, and it’s terrible. All we owe people is dignity, respect and civil rights. I think the country will evolve.”

AMENDMENT SUPPORT GROWS — Two Republican Senators, Trent Lott of Mississippi and Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois, have signed on as co-sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment. The number of Senate supporters is now 10, the number of House supporters 116.

ROSIE BASHES BUSH — Former TV talk show host Rosie O’Donnell “married” her girlfriend Feb. 26 in San Francisco, joining a list of more than 3,000 homosexuals who have received marriage licenses from the city. State law explicitly bans such unions.

“I think the actions of the president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president,” O’Donnell said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” referring to Bush’s endorsement of an amendment. “I am stunned and I’m horrified.”

Polls show that Americans oppose same-sex “marriage” by a margin of 2-to-1.

LANGUAGE CHANGING? — Alliance for Marriage President Matt Daniels says the language of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment might be tweaked so as to clear up any confusion about its meaning. While he says the amendment would leave the issue of civil unions up to the states, others disagree, saying that the amendment would infringe on states’ rights.

The confusion centers on the amendment’s second sentence: “Neither this Constitution, nor the Constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”

Bush backs an amendment that would take a hands-off approach to civil unions.

“We, the group that drafted the text and introduced it into the House and Senate,” Daniels said in The New York Times, “are fully open to minor changes to the wording to make it clear, explicit and unambiguous.”

LAWSUIT IN FLORIDA — The battle to overturn state bans on same-sex “marriage” has moved to Florida, where Miami lawyer Ellis Rubin filed suit in state court Feb. 25 seeking to overturn Florida’s marriage law. Florida is one of 38 states with a law explicitly banning same-sex “marriage.”

Similar lawsuits are pending in at least four other states: Arizona, California, Indiana and New Jersey.

INDIANA STALEMATE — Republicans in Indiana’s House aren’t giving up on passing a constitutional marriage amendment, despite the fact that Democratic House Speaker Patrick Bauer says the issue will not be dealt with this year. The amendment already has passed the state Senate and reportedly has the votes for passage in the House.

Republicans began a boycott Feb. 23, walking off the floor each time Bauer refused to recognize them or allow a vote, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The amendment is bottled up in a House committee, and Republicans are attempting to force a floor vote.

The House has adjourned until March 1.

SETBACK IN GA. — The Georgia state House defeated a marriage amendment Feb. 26. Needing a two-thirds vote, the amendment fell three votes short. The vote was 117-50.

But the issue may come up again soon because 12 members were absent from the vote, the Associated Press reported. The amendment already has passed the Republican-controlled Senate. If it passes the Democrat-controlled House, it will go before voters in November.

UTAH AMENDMENT PASSES — A marriage amendment passed the Utah state House Feb. 24 by a vote of 56-16. If it passes the Senate, it will go before voters in November.

LOTS OF ACTION — Three state legislatures saw constitutional amendments advance out of committee Feb. 24-25.

In Iowa, a Senate committee passed an amendment by a vote of 7-6. It must pass two consecutive legislative sessions before going to voters, The Quad City-Times reported.

In Michigan, a House committee passed an amendment by a vote of 6-0 with three abstentions. If it passes both chambers it will be before voters this fall.

In Wisconsin, a state assembly committee passed an amendment by a vote of 6-1, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The amendment must pass two consecutive sessions of the legislature before it goes to voters, which would be 2005 at the earliest.

IDAHO INACTION — The Idaho state House passed a constitutional marriage amendment, but Sen. Sheila Sorensen, a Republican, says her chamber will not consider the amendment in light of Bush’s backing of a federal marriage amendment, according to KIFI-TV in Idaho. She chairs the Senate’s State Affairs Committee.
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  • Michael Foust