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Idaho Republicans
"flip-flop" and approve same-sex marriage ban

Idaho Republicans
"flip-flop" and approve same-sex marriage ban

Voters will be asked whether to ban same-sex marriage after the Idaho state senate passed the measure on Wednesday.

Undoing a dramatic defeat of a similar bill last year, the Idaho state senate on Wednesday passed a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the measure to appear on the ballot this November. Reacting to what some described as intense political pressure, five Republican senators who voted to kill the measure last year switched their votes this session, the Idaho State Journal reports.

Idaho voters will now have the right to vote on whether to constitutionally ban same-sex marriages this fall. "In politics, you always want to find an evil that's a minority so there's not a lot of votes [at stake]," said Republican senator Gary Schroeder. "This is all about politics and votes."

"The measure will preserve all rights afforded Idahoans," said Republican senator Bob Geddes. "There will be nothing taken away." Geddes, the leader of the senate and the man who sponsored the measure, pledged that he had done no political arm-twisting in the days leading up to the vote. But the flip-flopping of five Republican lawmakers surprised even many political insiders, who had predicted perhaps one or two might vote yes this time around.

Geddes and other supporters of the measure said descriptions of the effort as a hateful wedge were untrue, though one lawmaker described the state as caught in the midst of a "culture war" against "provocative and unnatural behaviors."

Democratic senator Edgar Malepeai, the only minority member of the senate, delivered a heartfelt address on what he perceived as the intent behind the anti-same-sex marriage crusade. "The constitution doesn't discriminate, people discriminate," said the Highland High School teacher, who was the only eastern Idaho legislator to vote against the measure. "At one time I couldn't have married my wife, and if I remember correctly, at one point Mormons couldn't vote." (Advocate.com)

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