Human rights activist Joe Solmonese criticised Senate majority leader Bill Frist for attacking gay Americans with the upcoming debate on gay marriage.

The Federal Marriage Amendment, to be debated on June 6 2006, would define marriage as the union between a man and a woman, thereby making any same-sex marriage in the US illegal.

Mr Frist told Fox News: “It’s important to the heart and soul of the American people.

“That union between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of our society. It is under attack today.”

Mr Solmones, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “Senator Frist and his right wing allies can’t credibly campaign for re-election on real solutions to America’s real problems, because they have no solutions and they created the problems.

“Instead, Frist and his right wing friends are playing politics with the Constitution and bashing a single group of Americans. That’s not an agenda any American is talking about at the gas pump, the emergency room, or veterans’ hospital. It’s time for Senator Frist to listen to Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, John Danforth and other Republican leaders and put the American people ahead of his discriminatory politics.

“The American people know that marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the high cost of gas, the war in Iraq or the prohibitive price tag on health care. The consequences of immoral leadership are a one-two punch: as they scapegoat hard-working Americans and try to put discrimination in the Constitution, the challenges facing are nation go unanswered – it’s shameful.”

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