GOP Retreats on Gay Marriage Vote
Mahfuz L. Mehfeh
The GOP-backed plan to add a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was headed for defeat in the Senate Tuesday, as a handful of Republicans broke rank and opposed the amendment.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers said backers of the amendment were struggling to line up even a simple majority of 51 senators on their side. At least five Republican senators openly opposed the amendment and as many as 10 were leaning against it yesterday. At least 60 votes are needed to cut off debate and 67 votes to approve the amendment.
The San Francisco Chronicle characterized the Republican lack of support as a “humiliating defeat.”
"It's a difficult issue," said Sen. Robert F. Bennett (Utah), chief deputy whip for Senate Republicans. There is a "widespread feeling among some Democrats as well as Republicans that traditional marriage is under attack," he said, but members "don't want to be seen as gay bashers."