Marriage Amendment: A Bad Idea Back Again

Washington, DC – People For the American Way (PFAW) President Ralph G. Neas today condemned the reintroduction of the “Federal Marriage Amendment” on Capitol Hill, saying the measure was a divisive political move designed to energize a portion of the GOP’s political base and provide a distraction from other issues.

“This amendment was soundly defeated in the last Congress, and for good reason,” said Neas. “The United States Constitution is the foundation of our freedom, and has never been amended to single out one group of Americans for discrimination. Most Americans support some kind of legal protections for gay and lesbian Americans and their families. We should not disgrace the Constitution by using it to punish some families and deny some children access to basic legal protections.”

Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado reintroduced the measure today with 12 cosponsors, but admitted he did not know whether he has the support of the two-thirds of the Senate necessary for passage. Last year, proponents could not muster enough support to bring the issue to a vote in the Senate at all, and the amendment was defeated on a 227-186 vote in the U.S. House. Neas noted that even President Bush admitted recently that the amendment does not have sufficient support for congressional approval.

“It is always disappointing when political leaders are willing to inflame people’s fears for short-term political gain, regardless of the long term cost to our communities and our country. This measure may never come to a vote in the Senate, and it may never pass. This cynical political ploy looks like the opening shot in the 2006 congressional campaigns by elected officials who hope it will be used to energize Religious Right voters and distract from other issues such as health care, the economy, and the escalating costs of the war in Iraq,” said Neas.

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