- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 13, 2004

After months of chaos about the issue of homosexual “marriage,” as renegade city officials defied law and activist judges made it, today the Senate will vote on whether to end debate and move toward a vote on passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) bill. Sponsored by Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, the constitutional amendment would define marriage as the union between one man and one woman, preserving this important institution.

Marriage traditionally has been a matter left under the definition and protection of individual states. In an ideal society, we would prefer to leave it there. However, recent actions by courts force us to depart from our traditional preference for federalism. Despite the rush of state legislatures to codify the preservation of marriage, law-making — rather than interpreting — judges in Massachusetts already have proven that they hold no qualms about overriding the will of the people. Since federalism has proven insufficient, the most effective way to protect this venerable institution is a constitutional amendment.

This page long ago asserted its support for preserving marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In February, President Bush first officially announced his support for a constitutional amendment. Reiterating this support, in a radio address on Saturday, he said, “If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost, and the institution is weakened.” We agree. Numerous studies have shown that children do much better when raised in a traditional two-parent family. The state clearly has an interest in protecting marriage relationships that produce children.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 51 percent of Americans support a constitutional amendment, while 44 percent oppose it. A differently worded Gallup Poll conducted about the same time found that 55 percent said same-sex “marriages” should not be recognized by the law, while 39 percent said that they should. We are aware that it is unlikely, unfortunately, that the FMA will get the 60 votes needed to end debate and move to a vote on the merits of the bill. However, a CBS News poll in May found that a not-insignificant number of voters — 35 percent — would never vote for a candidate who did not share their view regarding same-sex “marriage.”

It is time (before November’s election) for each senator to be on the record as willing to preserve one of the most basic building blocks of society, or not. Mr. Bush repeatedly has stated his commitment to upholding marriage. Sen. John Kerry is on the record against the FMA. But voters in all 50 states have a right to know where their senators stand on this central issue of our culture. Let the vote proceed, and the chips fall where they may.

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