Before expected defeat, confusion for federal marriage amendment
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 voteand here's the key phraseso 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 ...1
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