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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Marriage amendments advance nationwide; vote in Mass. delayed; HRC not slowing in ‘gay marriage’ push

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Faced with the threat of a court ordering the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” state legislatures nationwide continue to propose constitutional amendments.

Legislatures in at least 16 states are considering amendments that would ban “gay marriage,” and amendments in five of those states have made recent progress:

— In Kansas, an amendment passed the House and Senate with the required two-thirds majority and now will appear on the April 5 ballot — making that state the first this year to tackle the issue.

— A marriage amendment in Alabama passed the Senate 35-0 and the House 85-7 on Feb. 8. Because the two amendments are slightly different, the two chambers must now agree on which version to send to voters. The state may hold a special election this year.

— The Virginia House passed an amendment 78-18 Feb. 8, the day after the Senate passed a slightly different version 30-10. Negotiators now will work out the details. It must pass another session before going to voters, which would be 2006 at the earliest.

— In Indiana, a Senate committee passed a marriage amendment Feb. 8 on a vote of 7-4. Indiana’s amending process is lengthy, so a vote by citizens won’t take place until 2008 at the earliest, according to the Associated Press.

— South Dakota House members passed an amendment 55-14 Feb. 3. It now goes to the Senate, which must approve it for it to go to voters in 2006.

The only marriage amendment defeat occurred in Idaho, where one received a majority but fell short of the necessary two-thirds vote.

The debate over the amendments is often passionate, revolving around the meaning of marriage and love.

“[Traditional marriage] is the fundamental building block of our society,” Virginia Delegate Kathy J. Byron, a Republican, said, according to The Washington Times. “Now that definition, that tradition, that foundation is threatened. If we do not act, marriage as we have come to know it will be redefined through the judicial process.”

Democratic Delegate Adam P. Ebbin voted against the amendment, saying homosexuals are treated the same as slaves and Indians were in America’s past. Ebbin is homosexual.

“Today is one of those moments for which we shall one day be ashamed,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “I cannot stand by as this body continues to use gays and lesbians as scapegoats.”

An Alabama legislator even went so far as draw a comparison between the marriage amendment and Nazi Germany.

“The same tactics that are being used in the state of Alabama now by these fanatical religious, right-wing groups were used by Adolf Hitler … and the Nazi movement in Germany,” Holmes said, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “Unless the religious fanatics in this state are stopped now … one day we all will hang our heads in shame.”

The amendments prevent state courts from legalizing same-sex “marriage” — which Massachusetts’ high court did. But because the amendments are vulnerable in federal court, pro-family leaders are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Last year voters in 13 states passed marriage amendments with an average of 70.3 percent of the vote.

Most Alabama legislators — both Republican and Democrat — disagreed with Holmes.

“It will be a safeguard for future generations,” Democratic Sen. Roger Bedford said, according to the Advertiser. “As a Christian, I believe God ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman.”

Said Republican Sen. Larry Dixon: “I don’t think this is anything that should be made into a bipartisan fight.”

DELAY IN MASS. — The Massachusetts legislature apparently won’t debate a constitutional marriage amendment until later this year. The Boston Globe reported Feb. 10 that Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, a Democrat, has delayed the vote so that the legislature can tackle other issues first. Travaglini supports the amendment.

“In informal discussions with the Senate president, we both agree there are a number of other items of importance that should be discussed on the Senate floor before we get to this issue,” Sen. Minority Leader Brian P. Lees, a Republican, told The Globe. “It could come up as late as fall.”

The amendment squeaked by in a constitutional convention last year and must pass once more before going to voters in 2006. It is a compromise amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage” while also legalizing civil unions. A separate amendment that would have banned both same-sex “marriage” and civil unions was defeated.

HRC NOT BACKING DOWN — The nation’s largest homosexual activist group, the Human Rights Campaign, isn’t slowing down in its push for the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” HRC announced Feb. 3 the launch of the Marriage Project, a program designed to accelerate the fight for same-sex “marriage.” It will be led by HRC’s Seth Kilbourn.

“As we stepped back and examined our organizational structure, it was clear we needed to sharpen and galvanize our work supporting equal marriage rights,” Gwen Baba, co-chair of the HRC board of directors, said in a statement. “We’re facing both opportunities and challenges, with unique regional undertones.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust