Gay Marriage Amendment Battle Now Focuses On House
Tue. July 13, 2004 12:00 AM by 365gay.com
GOP Supporters of the proposed amendment are setting their eyes on a vote just prior to the November election.
In the meantime, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is pushing two pieces of legislation that would strengthen the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
One bill would prevent the Supreme Court from hearing challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act. The other would stop the District of Columbia from recognizing gay marriages performed in other states.
"If DeLay has his way, no federal court would ever be able to review one of the most important laws affecting the rights of married couples and their families," the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement Tuesday.
"DeLay and Republican leaders do not understand the word "no." They are now considering a proposal that would take away the right of the District of Columbia and its 600,000 residents to make their own decision on whether to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples married in other states. If his proposal passes, Congress would be forcing discriminatory marriage policy on to the District of Columbia."
Earlier Tuesday, Republicans in the Senate admitted that they do not have the votes to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Despite prodding from President Bush the GOP is deeply divided on the amendment and it is likely to die over procedural issues on Wednesday.
But, that may not be last of the amendment if it gains support in the House. Should the amendment pass the House, a companion bill could be reintroduced in the Senate. The same scenario could also occur if DeLay's bills make through committee and passage.
The Human Rights Campaign Tuesday warned that even though the amendment appear likely to fail, gays should not abandon lobbying.
"The larger the margin the clearer the message will be that the politics of discrimination will fail," HRC spokesperson Steven Fisher told 365Gay.com.
Fisher said that a resounding defeat in the Senate would also send a message to the House leadership.
by Doreen Brandt
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