Originally published on Advocate.com February 27 2004 1:00 AM ET
Legislation to amend Kentucky's constitution to ban same-sex marriages was withdrawn abruptly amid a push to force a vote by the full house. The proposed amendment, if ratified by voters, would have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It was introduced in early January but had
languished in committee.
A group of legislators Tuesday filed a "discharge petition"--a device to sidestep a committee and bring a bill to the full house. Before the petition could be debated, majority leader Rocky Adkins made a motion to withdraw the bill at the request of Democratic representative J.R. Gray, its primary sponsor. Gray said he asked to have it withdrawn "rather than the thing become a political football" with a discharge petition.
Republican minority leader Jeff Hoover then accused top Democrats of abusing house rules. Hoover said Democrats "pulled a trick" to prevent the petition from being debated. Democratic speaker pro tem Larry Clark said the general assembly enacted a law in 1998 to ban same-sex marriages by statute. Clark then accused Republicans of a ploy to "smear" Democrats in the November election by claiming Democrats had refused to vote against gay marriages.