Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment Falls Far Short in House, Courageous Reps. Stand Up to Election Year Demagoguery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2004

Contact: Nathan Richter or Peter Montgomery

at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Today’s 227-186 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment fell far short of the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the House.

GOP leaders’ cynical push for a vote they knew they would lose is evidence that the amendment strategy is driven by election-year politics and the desire to create fodder for anti-gay campaign attacks on Members of Congress, said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. Neas praised those representatives who showed the courage to stand up to bullying from Religious Right leaders.

“Today’s defeat for the Republican leadership prevents the defacing of the Constitution for now,” said Neas. “but the vote should never have been held. This vote was engineered for short-term political gain by those who care little about the long-term harm they are causing to individuals and communities. The White House and its political allies are all too willing to foment and exploit unfounded fears in hopes of distracting voters and energizing their political base. It is crass and destructive politics at its worst.”

Neas noted that a broad coalition of religious, civil rights and other public interest organizations have opposed the effort to amend the Constitution for the first time to single out one group of Americans for discriminatory treatment.