Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Senate Rejects Gay Marriage Ban For Second Time

The Senate today blocked a vote on the Family Marriage Amendment (FMA) by a vote of 49-48 just as it did in 2004. Seven Republicans joined Democratic opponents in voting against a cloture vote, which would have ended debate and permitted the proposed constitutional amendment to be voted on by the full Senate. Republican Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Judd Gregg, Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee and John Sununu all voted against the cloture vote. Only two Democrats, Sens. Ben Nelson and Robert Byrd, cast a vote in support of the amendment.

During the debate, an interesting exchange took place between Sen. Edward Kennedy, an opponent of the amendment, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a proponent of the amendment. The AP reports:

"The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution," said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2003. "A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."

In response, Hatch fumed: "Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?"

That's exactly what Sen. Kennedy meant Sen. Hatch. Anyone who would support writing discrimination into the Constitution against any group of Americans is obviously exhibiting bigotry towards the affected group of Americans. Indiana's Senator Richard Lugar chose to side with the bigots, while Sen. Evan Bayh, at least on this vote, sided with supporters of equality.

Notwithstanding today's defeat in the Senate, House Majority Leader John Boehner says the House will take up debate of the amendment next month. "This is an issue that is of significant importance to many Americans," Boehner told reporters. "We have significant numbers of our members who want a vote on this, so we are going to have a vote."


Anonymous said...

Watching the vote take place on C-Span, I was particularly pleased to see several courageous Republican moderates voting against invoking cloture, hence rejecting this divisive pandering by the President and their own Senate “leadership.” Too bad Senator Lugar did not see fit to join Senators Chafee, Collins, et al, but judging by Lugar’s near-perfect record of support for the Bush agenda over the past five years, he has never been anywhere near as moderate as the image he and his handlers have cultivated so assiduously.

Lou Dobbs of CNN is not exactly a fire-breathing liberal, but he wrote the following in his commentary dated today: “[The gay marriage amendmend issue] is an insult to the intelligence of every voter, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative.” Unfortunately, to paraphrase the late H. L. Mencken, no politician every lost an election for insulting the intelligence of the American electorate. The theocratic demagogues who are promoting this amendment are hoping to whip their religous right-wing base into a holy frenzy while diverting everyone else’s attention from the “bread and butter” issues affecting our lives and families. And they will probably succeed. Amidst all the gay marriage hoopla, is anyone paying attention to the proposed repeal of the federal estate tax, which the Senate will also be debating today? If this passes, we will see another $800 billion added to the federal deficit over the decade beginning in 2012--the same period when millions more baby boomers with begin receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits.

afb said...

I read the Dobb's piece and felt it to be a pretty reflective of what most Americans feel about this issue.

Disapointed in Lugar and grateful to Bayh. I agree with what you wrote about writing discrimination into the constitution. Unfortunately many Americans still don't get it.