Senate Opens Debate on Gay Marriage Ban
Senate Opens Debate on Constitutional Amendment That Would Ban Gay Marriage
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON July 9, 2004 — Senate Republicans opened debate Friday on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, highlighting their differences with Democrats on the emotionally charged matter.
The amendment aims to settle conflicts in state legislatures and courts over gay marriage by adding language to the Constitution that states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."
President Bush planned to devote his Saturday radio address to the "sanctity of marriage," and the first hours of Senate debate hinted at the political pressure boiling under the issue.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., disparaged Republicans as using the Constitution as "a bulletin board for campaign sloganeering."
"Somehow we should find a way to restrain the impulse of some to politicize the Constitution," he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said it was a "phony argument" to accuse the GOP of bringing the issue to a vote to make an election-year statement. Hatch then accused Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of holding inconsistent positions on marriage.