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Religious right-backed marriage amendment fails in House vote.



Religious Right-led efforts to add a "Federal Marriage Amendment The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) (also known as the Marriage Protection Amendment) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. " (FMA) to the Constitution failed Sept. 30 when the House of Representatives was unable to muster the necessary two-thirds vote to approve the proposed revision.

The amendment, H.J.Res. 106, received a majority vote of 227-186 but fell far short of the 276 House votes required to pass a constitutional amendment. The GOP leadership supported the bill, and the tally generally followed party lines. Twenty-seven Republicans broke ranks to oppose the measure, while 36 Democrats supported it.

Had it passed, the amendment still would have had to have won a two-thirds vote in the Senate and achieve ratification by three-fourths of the states before becoming part of the Constitution.

President George W. Bush issued a statement expressing disappointment with the vote.

"Because activist judges and local officials in some parts of the country are seeking to redefine marriage for the rest of the country, we must remain vigilant in defending traditional marriage," Bush said.

Amendment backers knew that the FMA--renamed the "Marriage Protection Amendment" just before going to the floor--had no chance of passage. Observers said the carefully staged vote was an election-year ploy to give the Religious Right a "culture war" issue to use in the November elections.

Americans United blasted the stunt, noting that the amendment had already been voted down in the Senate in July. Given the Senate's rejection of the FMA, there was no compelling reason for the House to vote.

"The Senate has already sidetracked this divisive and unwise amendment," said Barry W. Lynn Reverend Barry W. Lynn (born 1948 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) has been the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1992.[1] , executive director of Americans United. "The only reason for this vote is to give the Christian Coalition and similar groups another line item on their biased 'voter guides.'

"It's sad to see the House act at the behest of extreme groups like the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council," he said.

The constitutional amendment, which was heavily promoted by Religious Right organizations, would limit marriage to one man and one woman, reflecting evangelical church teaching. It is designed to outlaw same-sex marriages, but critics charge that it would also jeopardize civil unions and other legal protections.

During floor debate, proponents mostly avoided religious language and tried to portray the FMA as a necessary step to protect traditional marriage. But one member, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), wandered off message, citing the Book of Genesis Noun 1. Book of Genesis - the first book of the Old Testament: tells of Creation; Adam and Eve; the Fall of Man; Cain and Abel; Noah and the flood; God's covenant with Abraham; Abraham and Isaac; Jacob and Esau; Joseph and his brothers
Genesis
 and asserting, "God created Adam and Eve Adam and Eve

In the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, the parents of the human race. Genesis gives two versions of their creation. In the first, God creates “male and female in his own image” on the sixth day.
, He didn't create Adam and Steve."

Americans United says the proposal, introduced by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), is unnecessary. The watchdog group notes that some religious traditions recognize same-sex unions and some do not. The government, AU says, should not elevate the views and practices of certain faith groups over others.

Lynn noted that during a national meeting of the Christian Coalition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23-25, Coalition activists bragged that they would distribute millions of "voter guides" this year. In addition, the Family Research Council has pledged to include three FMA-related votes on its congressional scorecards this year.

These and other Religious Right groups, Americans United asserts, were eager to get a vote on the FMA, put the results on guides and scorecards and use them to try to tip the balance in close House races around the country.

A wide array of religious organizations oppose the amendment. Prior to the vote, more than two dozen faith groups sent a letter to House members, urging them to reject the FMA. Among the signers were: the Alliance of Baptists The Alliance of Baptists is a fellowship of Baptist churches and individuals espousing moderate-to-liberal theological and social stances. The Alliance was formed in 1987 by congregations in schism from the Southern Baptist Convention as a result of the 1980s ; the American Friends Service Committee The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) affiliated organization which works for social justice, peace and reconciliation, abolition of the death penalty, and human rights, and provides humanitarian relief.  (Quaker); the American Jewish Committee
You may be looking for American Jewish Congress
The American Jewish Committee, also known by its initials, AJC, was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world.
; the Episcopal Church, USA Episcopal Church, USA
 also called Episcopal Church in the United States of America or Protestant Episcopal Church

Descendant of the Church of England in the U.S.
; the Loretto Women's Network (Catholic Order); the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988 by the merging of three churches and currently having about 4. ; the National Sikh Center; the Metropolitan Community Churches; the Office of the General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); the Union for Reform Judaism The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), is an organization which supports Reform Jewish congregations in North America. The current President is Rabbi Eric H. ; the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and the United Church of Christ United Church of Christ, American Protestant denomination formed in 1957 by a merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches (see Congregationalism) and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.  Justice & Witness Ministries.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Americans United for Separation of Church and State
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:People & Events
Publication:Church & State
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
Words:656
Previous Article:America's Legacy of Religious Liberty: pass it on!
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