- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that a federal marriage amendment is needed because his state is forcing same-sex “marriage” on everyone else.

“Massachusetts has redefined marriage for the entire country,” said Mr. Romney, who threw his support behind the federal marriage amendment that is set for a Senate vote in a few weeks. “I can guarantee there have already been [homosexual] people married in Massachusetts that have moved to other states.”

He said it’s only a matter of time before lawsuits are filed in order to force other states to recognize same-sex “marriages” from Massachusetts, where the Supreme Court ruled last year that the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state began doing so last month.

The Senate is set to vote in a few weeks on a constitutional amendment that would address this issue by defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Although supporters and opponents of the measure acknowledge that meeting the 67-vote threshold to pass the amendment is unlikely, pro-amendment forces still hope to muster the 60 votes needed to stop debate and put senators on the record on the amendment’s merits.

Both supporters and opponents believe there are many undecided senators who can be persuaded.

Congressional Republicans are bringing the constitutional amendment to the Senate floor just weeks before the Democrats hold their convention in Boston, forcing senators to go on the record — particularly Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, who opposes it.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said, “Both supporters and opponents know the [amendment] will fail” in the Senate, and Republicans are just playing politics with the goal of inflicting political damage to those who vote no.

“It’s not about preserving marriage, it’s about preserving a Republican White House and Senate,” Mr. Leahy said.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said many people simply don’t realize the gravity of Massachusetts’s action, and hopefully Mr. Romney’s testimony and the upcoming Senate vote will change this.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, said yesterday the House will wait until a marriage amendment will pass before bringing it up for a vote. He said the Senate should do the same.

“I really think the Senate should vote on this when they have the votes to pass it. That’s what we are trying to do,” Mr. DeLay said, although he said House leaders are looking at other types of votes to put members on the record on marriage.

“If the Senate votes and they don’t pass it, it’s incumbent on the House to pass an amendment to put pressure back on the Senate to vote again,” he said.

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Leahy asked Mr. Romney why it was a “national crisis” when only Massachusetts has acted and there has been no indication that other states will be forced to follow.

“I don’t think the sky is falling,” Mr. Leahy said.

And Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, asked the governor how he can support the federal marriage amendment, which the senator said also would prohibit states from recognizing civil unions among homosexuals.

The Massachusetts legislature has proposed a state constitutional amendment that would allow for civil unions, and Judiciary Democrats said they didn’t know how Mr. Romney could support both the state and federal proposals, which they said contradict.

The part of the amendment in contention reads: “Neither this constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

Mr. Romney said the federal measure won’t prohibit states from allowing same-sex civil unions, and Mr. Cornyn explained that it would simply prevent courts from requiring a state to adopt civil unions. A state legislature or a state’s constitution could do whatever it wanted, he said.

But most Democrats agreed with former Rep. Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican, who testified that states can and should handle the marriage issue by themselves and that a constitutional amendment is simply not the right path.

“[E]ach state should make its own decision without interference from Washington,” Mr. Barr said, who added that, “rumors of traditional marriage’s untimely demise appear to be exaggerated.”

Mr. Romney said although “the sky’s not going to be falling,” the adverse effects of same-sex “marriage” on the raising of children won’t be known or seen for generations.

“Until we understand the implications for human development of a different definition of marriage, I believe we should preserve that which has endured over thousands of years,” he said.

Meanwhile, yesterday, homosexual rights groups touted a Congressional Budget Office report, released this week, that found that homosexual “marriage” would increase federal revenue slightly.

The report said because eligibility for many federal programs such as Social Security, as well as tax liabilities, are affected by marital status, such unions would have both costs and benefits for the government financially.

But on balance, the report said, the federal government would gain about $1 billion per year in each of the next ten years should same-sex “marriage” be legalized in all 50 states and recognized by the federal government.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said it hoped the report will quell claims made by some opponents of homosexual “marriage” that employers, insurance companies and the government will foot the bill for marriage’s financial benefits to homosexuals.

• Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.

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