States Lining Up to Outlaw Same-Sex 'Marriage'; Nine Proposing Constitutional Amendments to Go before Voters

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

States Lining Up to Outlaw Same-Sex 'Marriage'; Nine Proposing Constitutional Amendments to Go before Voters


Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The next round of proposals to amend state constitutions to define marriage will begin in a few weeks as lawmakers in as many as nine states promise to get such measures before voters.

In Texas yesterday, state Rep. Warren Chisum "pre-filed" a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Virginia lawmakers have pre-filed a similar amendment, while state legislators in Washington, Idaho, South Carolina and Alabama have said they will introduce marriage amendments as soon as possible.

Marriage amendments already are being processed in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Tennessee, where they require a second legislative approval to go before voters.

The 11-for-11 election victories for marriage amendments Nov. 2 "will encourage legislators in other states to follow suit," said Glen Lavy, a lawyer with the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, which is involved in many legal battles over same-sex "marriage."

Last week's vote "was an overwhelming endorsement of the idea that marriage is what it always has been - [the union of] a man and a woman," he said.

The amendment votes should give state legislatures "some confidence that this is an issue that the American people are behind and are willing to support," said Joshua Baker, legal analyst at the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy in Washington, which tracks same-sex "marriage" issues.

However, at least one marriage amendment is expected to have a bumpy ride. Last spring, the Massachusetts legislature passed, by a 105-92 vote, a compromise amendment to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples and create civil unions for same-sex couples.

Neither traditional-values groups nor homosexual rights groups were pleased with the amendment.

It now has to go before the new legislature and win at least 101 votes before it can go before voters. But the odds that the Massachusetts amendment will pass lengthened Nov. …

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