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


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.