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Volume 34
Issue 23
 
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Constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples fails in the Senate
Constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples fails in the Senate
"...[T]he Republican majority should stop wasting time on divisive election-year politics..." said Sen. Patty Murray.

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

A proposed constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a women and potentially outlawing marriage-like arrangements, fell to defeat in the Senate on Wednesday. The 49-48 vote was a blow to President George W. Bush and other Republicans who strongly backed the measure.

Although the vote to bring the amendment to a yes-or-no decision was 11 votes shy of the 60 that was needed and the measure is all but dead for the rest of the year, President Bush tried to put a positive spin on the fate of the "Marriage Protection Amendment."

"Our nation's founders set a high bar for amending our Constitution and history has shown us that it can take several tries before an amendment builds the two-thirds support it needs in both houses of Congress," he said.

However, some Democrats - including Senator Patty Murray (D - WA) - believed the vote was more about electioneering, than the institution of marriage the amendment purports to defend.

"...[T]he Republican majority should stop wasting time on divisive election-year politics and start focusing on the real challenges facing the American people," said Murray, in a prepared statement provided to the Transgender.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D - WA) agreed. "I can think of at least 100 things Congress could be doing to make lives better for American families, but the Republicans in control clearly have a different agenda," she said.

Both senators from Washington State voted against the constitutional amendment, because of the moral consequences that stem from "taking away the rights of individuals" and "limit[ing] the rights of any Americans." Aides for the two Senators also suggested that both strongly favor leaving marriage to the states to decide.

"I voted against a constitutional amendment banning Gay marriage because I believe it is wrong to amend our Constitution to limit the rights of any Americans," said Cantwell. "Further, I believe that marriage laws should continue to be decided at the state level."

"I oppose a constitutional amendment that would deny same-sex couples the rights and protections that other Americans enjoy, and I am deeply concerned by this effort to use the Constitution to take away the rights of individuals," said Murray. "That's why, today, I voted against the so-called 'Marriage Protection Amendment,' just as I did in 2004."

The amendment received one vote more than the last time the Senate took up the issue in 2004. Proponents had hoped to secure a 51 vote majority, especially because Republicans had picked up four seats in the 100 member Senate. However, the chances that the proposed amendment who receive the two-thirds majority needed, remained remote.

Twenty-six of the 50 states have passed statutes that limit marriage to a man and a woman. Another 20 have passed constitutional amendments to bar same-sex couples from tying the knot. Alabama voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a state constitutional amendment which not only prohibits marriage, but other forms of family protections for unmarried couples.

The House is expected to take up the issue next month.

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