U.S. Senate Rejects Bid to Ban Same-Sex Marriage
By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A divided U.S. Senate rejected a bid on Wednesday to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, likely killing the measure backed by President Bush for at least this election year.
Proponents failed to muster the needed votes to clear a procedural hurdle raised by Democrats, who accused Republicans of pushing the proposal merely to rally their conservative base for the November presidential and congressional elections.
"We all know what this issue is about," declared Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. "It's not about how to protect the sanctity of marriage. It's about politics -- an attempt to drive a wedge between one group of citizens and the rest of the country, solely for partisan advantage."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said: "Nobody wants to discriminate against gays .... Gays have a right to live the way they want. But they should not have the right to change the definition of traditional marriage. That is where we draw the line."