US: Republican Representative plans constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a Kansas State Representative has said he will try to override this step towards equal rights for same-sex couples through a constitutional amendment.
In response, Republican Tim Huelskamp said he would introduce a Federal Marriage Amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman later this week.
The amendment would have the same effects as DOMA, preventing the federal government from recognising marriages between same-sex couples. If passed it would trump the Supreme Court’s decision that DOMA is unconstitutional, as it would change the US Constitution itself.
It will also be harder to pass the amendment than it would be to pass a federal law like DOMA. Amending the Constitution requires the support of two thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and ratification from 38 States.
Mr Huelskamp told The Huffington Post that the Supreme Court’s decision lacked strength, as they did not fully repeal DOMA. He said: “What did not happen is what the court and then the folks pushing for hoped would happen: that it would end the debate. The debate is not over.”
“It’s very tortured legal logic,” he added. “Today, 37 states still have traditional marriage amendments and laws. Those are not overruled, which is the good side of this.”
An earlier version of the Federal Marriage Amendment was voted on by Congress in 2006, but failed to get the 290 votes needed to pass.
The Supreme Court also voted 5-4 on Wednesday to not take up the case of California’s Proposition 8, saying that petitioners did not have standing to appeal against the district court order which had already deemed that it was unconstitutional.
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