Kansas Sets April Vote on Marriage; Homosexual-Rights Activists 'Excited' by Failure of Measure in Idaho

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Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Kansas House of Representatives yesterday approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage only as the union of one man and one woman, and outlaws civil unions.

The amendment, which cleared the state Senate last month, goes before Kansas voters April 5.

If it passes, Kansas would become the 18th state with a constitutional marriage amendment.

Supporters of traditional values were pleased by the vote.

"What a great victory for traditional values," said Tamara Cooper, executive director of the Kansas Republican Assembly, on the group's Web site after Kansas House members approved the amendment 86-37.

Kansas state Rep. Bill McCreary said yesterday he expects it to pass "by an overwhelming margin."

"This is a very conservative state, and I think they deserve the right to vote on this issue," he said.

In Idaho, however, it was homosexual-rights supporters who were celebrating yesterday after the state Senate voted down its marriage amendment, 21-14, a few votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.

"We're very excited by these results ... we, of course, have been fighting this," said Jim Smith, co-chairman of Your Family, Friends and Neighbors, a homosexual-rights advocacy group.

The Idaho Senate vote essentially kills the marriage issue for this session, as Idaho House leaders said they wanted any such amendment to first pass the Senate.

The nation has been struggling with the issue of same-sex "marriage" since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November 2003 that its state constitution allows such unions. …