U.S. senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota said Monday that he doesn't agree with some GOP colleagues who argue that a constitutional amendment is necessary to prevent gay marriage in the United States. "At this point, it's a little premature," Coleman said in a telephone interview. Shortly after the Supreme Court threw out a Texas law banning gay sex, Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said he would support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Frist later backpedaled, however, saying he would take a "wait and see" approach favored by President Bush, who said the amendment is not needed "yet."
Coleman noted that Congress has already passed the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law allowing states not to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Coleman said he supports that law. "You don't need to rile up these waters right now," he said. "That's the law of the land, and at this point it's not necessary to talk about a constitutional amendment. The law is pretty clear." Still, the drive for the proposed amendment has picked up steam since the Supreme Court decision. It has 45 cosponsors in the House. It has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
Coleman, who ran last year as an inclusive Republican promising to bring people together, said he opposes gay marriage but agrees with the Supreme Court ruling. "Principally, the nature of the marriage relationship is very special and deserving of protection," he said. "That doesn't stop people from living together, it doesn't stop people from doing a lot of things. What individuals want to do on their own, in the privacy of their homes, that's their prerogative." He declined to say whether he would vote for the amendment if it came up on the Senate floor, calling the question hypothetical.