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Protection Amendment defeated in Senate vote

Marriage
Protection Amendment defeated in Senate vote

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The Marriage Protection Amendment was defeated this morning when the United States Senate voted not to send the measure to a final vote.

The Marriage Protection Amendment was defeated this morning when the United States Senate voted not to send the measure to a final vote. The proposal to ban same-sex marriage garnered only 49 votes, well short of the 60 needed to end debate before an official vote could happen--and one fewer than the 50 votes the amendment received the last time it was voted on in 2004. The 49 votes were even fewer than the majority its Senate supporters expected the amendment to get, since there are five new Republican senators who were voting on the measure for the first time, the Associated Press reports. All five had replaced opponents of the measure. But two veteran Republican senators--Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire--changed their votes from 2004, voting against the amendment this time. They were joined by five other Republican senators, including John McCain. Of the Senate Democrats, all but Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted against the amendment, with West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and Connecticut's Chris Dodd abstaining. "President Bush and the Republican leadership gambled their dwindling political capital on a discriminatory amendment and came up empty," Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "With the addition of senators Specter and Gregg, not only did every senator who voted against discrimination in 2004 stand with us today, but momentum is on the side of equality. This is a resounding defeat against discrimination." Said Log Cabin Republicans executive director Patrick Guerriero in a separate statement: "Supporters of this amendment couldn't even get 50 senators supporting the procedural vote. It's laughable to say this amendment is gaining support. It takes 67 votes to pass this amendment, and more than half of the Senate have said they couldn't support this on an up or down vote." And Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean emphasized the legislative distraction the amendment has created, saying in a statement that "the time that Senate Republicans wasted debating a divisive federal marriage amendment is time that should have been used to find ways to reduce gas prices, help Americans find health insurance, make America energy-independent, create jobs that stay in America, or come up with a plan for success in Iraq." The next hurdle for the weakened amendment is a House vote, which Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, is planning for July, the AP reports. (The Advocate)

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