Republicans in muddle on gay marriage
Amendment splits party in Senate
By Anastasia Ustinova
WASHINGTON -- When Senate Republicans recently announced their intent to vote on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it seemed to be a political coup likely to divide the opposition, embarrass Democrats and put presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in a tough spot.
But with a vote on the amendment scheduled for Wednesday, it is the Republicans who find themselves in disarray and scrambling to salvage something out of the fight. As the debate has progressed, it has become clear that supporters would fall far short of the votes needed for passage, potentially signaling the political weakness of their cause rather than its strength.
The original amendment, proposed by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), is garnering so little support that some Republicans have proposed a more moderate alternative. That has split GOP senators into two factions.
On Tuesday the Republicans found themselves blocking a vote on their own proposal, simply to keep it from facing an embarrassing defeat