Before expected defeat, confusion for federal marriage amendment

Churches around the country on Sunday urged their parishioners to call members of the Senate in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which will likely go to the floor tomorrow.

Almost everyone expects the vote to fall far short of the 67 votes needed. (Some sources say it doesn't even have a simply majority yet, with just over 40 Senators promising to vote for it.) But despite this apparent inevitability, dissention continues among supporters over what the amendment should say.

The wording debate is pretty old, but Republican leaders eventually agreed with this text:

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.

On Friday, Democrats said they wouldn't block the vote—and here's the key phrase—so long as no changes are made to the amendment.

But that's exactly what some Republicans want to do. They propose dropping the second sentence entirely, to avoid confusion about the status of civil unions.

A widely quoted but unnamed Republican leadership aide says Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has proposed voting on both versions of the Federal Marriage Amendment, with the first vote on the longer text. Democrats oppose this, and say it's evidence that the Republicans haven't thought this through.

"They can't get their act together; that's clearly the case here," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told The Washington Times. "They can't agree on one version." He told The New York Times that allowing multiple votes would ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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