US senate rejects gay marriage ban

Republicans are to take their fight for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to the House of Representatives, despite a senate defeat and little chance of successs in the full Congress.

    George Bush is doing badly in the polls

    Democrats said that the vote, in which the ban was defeated by 49 to 48 but needed 60 to pass, was merely an attempt by Republicans to rouse conservative supporters before congressional elections in November and divert to attention from presidential woes.

    Republicans say the House of Representatives will take up the marriage amendment in July even though they do not expect it to get the two-thirds majority that a constitutional amendment requires for passage.

    The mainly Republican senators who voted in favour of the ban said it was necessary to amend the constitution to prevent judges from annulling existing state bans on gay marriage.

    But Democrats such as Edward Kennedy said it was designed to divert public attention from more important issues such as the war in Iraq.

    Widespread restriction

    "It is a cynical attempt to score political points by overriding state courts and intruding into individuals' private lives," he said on Tuesday.

    Forty-five states have passed laws or amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage, and the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act allows states to refuse to recognise marriages performed elsewhere.

    Several of those bans have been lifted by state judges and legal challenges are pending in nine states.

    The bill's sponsor, Wayne Allard, a Republican, said judges would override what is in many states overwhelming public sentiment against gay marriage if the senate did not act.

    "If we fail to define marriage, the courts will not hesitate to do it for us," Allard said.


    Massachusetts is the only state to fully recognise same-sex marriages and 8,000 couples have been wed there since 2004.

    SOURCE: Reuters


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.