Tennesseans will get a chance to vote on whether to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage after the house on Thursday overwhelmingly approved putting the question on the 2006 ballot. The vote in favor of the resolution, which says marriage will be defined as the union of one man and one woman, was 88-7, with one member not voting. The senate approved the measure 29-3 last month.
When it goes before voters, the measure will need more than a simple majority. Amending the Tennessee constitution requires passage by a number of votes that equals a majority of ballots cast in the governor's race. "I feel I'm doing right," said Republican representative Bill Dunn, sponsor of the resolution. "It's proper for government to be involved and put a stamp of approval between a man and a woman." Tennessee law already defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but legislators are trying to prevent courts from ruling the existing law unconstitutional and to forbid legal recognition of gay marriages sanctioned by other states.
Democratic representative Beverly Marrero said she voted against the bill because she feels it writes discrimination into the state constitution. "I'm proud to vote against this because I don't want my children or grandchildren to say I voted to take away people's rights." (AP)