As a national debate rages about whether to outlaw gay marriages in the U.S. Constitution, a Louisiana state representative is proposing a similar amendment to the state's constitution. State law has long held that people of the same sex cannot marry, and Louisiana does not recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson) has filed a bill for the legislative session that begins March 29 to amend the Louisiana constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A similar attempt in Louisiana has failed before. A 1997 attempt by then-senator Phil Short (R-Covington) to get a same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution died on the senate floor. The proposal got an easy majority at the time but not the two-thirds vote needed for approval.