House Anti-Gay Bill Unconstitutional Groups Warn
by Paul Johnson
Washington Bureau Chief
(Washington) Two leading LGBT civil rights groups warned Wednesday that The Marriage Protection Act is unconstitutional and if it is passed Thursday they will fight it to Supreme Court.
The bill would block federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from hearing cases challenging federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee July 14 by a vote of 21-13 the same day that the Federal Marriage Amendment lost in the Senate. Its sponsor, Tom DeLay (R-Texas), says Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to remove issues from federal courts' jurisdiction.
But, Lambda Legal said that it was never intended to be used to prevent an identifiable group from being blocked from the judicial system.
"In attacking both gay people and the historic role of courts, this bill clearly violates our Constitution and will never be allowed to stand," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal.
Lesbian congressional candidate loses bid for Georgia seat
Democratic congressional candidate Cathy Woolard was hoping to become the South's first openly lesbian candidate elected to federal office. But with all precincts reporting after Tuesday's Democratic primary, Woolard's leading opponent, former representative Cynthia McKinney, had 51% of the vote, eliminating a runoff and giving McKinney the nomination in the fourth district, a heavily Democratic section east of Atlanta. McKinney, a firebrand legislator who spent eight years in the House, was upset two years ago by Denise Majette, a little-known state court judge, in the Democratic primary after McKinney made incendiary comments about President Bush, in which she accused the presidnet of ignoring warnings about the 9/11 terrorist attacks becuase his cronies could profit from war. Woolard, a former Atlanta city council president who raised the most money in the campaign, was expected to force a runoff in the primary, which in the absence of any strong Republican contenders in the fall would have basically decided the election.
Democrats seen more open to gay marriage
By GENARO C. ARMAS
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
WASHINGTON -- Democratic convention delegates generally are more open to the prospect of gay marriage than are John Kerry and John Edwards, their presumed nominees for the presidential ticket.
An Associated Press survey of Democratic National Convention delegates found that roughly 41 percent said they favored marriage for same-sex couples, while about 21 percent opposed it. Most of the remaining delegates said their position didn't fit into a "favor" or "oppose" response, or refused to answer the question.
Kerry and Edwards oppose gay marriage itself but also are against a constitutional ban on same-sex nuptials, wanting to allow states to decide the issue. Kerry backs civil unions, which would give same-sex partners the same rights as married couples without wedding.
President Bush, like Kerry, opposes gay marriage. Unlike the Massachusetts senator, the incumbent Republican supported the proposed constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage that failed in the Senate last week.