US marriage amendment abandoned
Attempts by Colorado Republicans to bring forward an amendment to the United States Constitution banning same-sex marriage will not be repeated in the current Congress.
The Pueblo Chieftan newspaper reports that Representative Marilyn Musgrave and Senator Wayne Allard admitted last week that they are not planning any further legislation.
The pair were responsible for a number of attempts to begin the process by which the US Constitution can be amended.
For the first time since 1994, the Democrats are in control of Congress, and the Republican legislators have decided to shelve their proposals.
The 2004 Presidential election was dominated by the issue of same-sex marriage, and President Bush was a strong and vocal supporter of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.
It was one of the ‘wegde’ issues, along with the war in Iraq and opposition to stem-cell research, that the incumbent used to energise support among conservative Americans.
In 2005 it emerged that the Bush White House and a government department had paid journalists to write articles in favour of the amendment.
The proposed change to the US Constitution was opposed by eight senators from the President’s party, among them likely presidential candidate John McCain.
Many Americans felt that the definition of marriage should be an issue to be resolved by individual states, among them Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian.
The amendment was passed several times in the US Congress, but never came close to gettting the 60% of senators required to move the process forward and was always far short of the two thirds required to trigger votes in individual states.
The last serious attempt, in June 2006, saw a 49-48 split in the Senate.
The President made his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress yesterday. He appealed to Americans to give his new Iraq strategy time to work and called for a 20% reduction in petrol use by 2017.