- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lawmakers in Wisconsin and Kansas yesterday pushed ahead efforts to amend their state constitutions to ban homosexual “marriage,” with a similar measure dying in Idaho.

The actions came two days after Utah’s Legislature agreed to put its own homosexual “marriage” amendment before voters, countering efforts elsewhere to legalize such unions, including nearly 3,600 same-sex “marriages” performed in San Francisco in the past three weeks.

The proposal approved by the Wisconsin Assembly 68-27 would prohibit same-sex “marriage” and civil unions. It now goes to the state Senate. More approval from lawmakers and voters would also be required for it to become law.

In Kansas, the House voted 88-36 for an amendment to ban homosexual “marriage” and the granting of benefits associated with marriage to other relationships. It would need a two-thirds vote in the Senate and majority of the vote in November to become part of the constitution.

The Idaho proposal, which would have banned same-sex “marriage,” failed on a 20-13 vote to come out of committee. Amendment opponents emphasized during the debate that the state had passed a law in 1996 banning homosexual “marriage.”

Meanwhile, a state judge yesterday barred the mayor of New Paltz from performing more same-sex “marriages” for a month, stating Mayor Jason West was ignoring his oath of office to uphold the law.

So far 14 states are seeking to amend their constitutions to ban the “marriages.” States in recent years have acted broadly in opposition to same-sex “marriage,” passing so-called Defense of Marriage laws in 38 states. And four have already amended their own constitutions to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

President Bush is supporting a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution, citing decisions by Massachusetts’ top court that prohibiting same-sex “marriage” would violate that state’s constitution. The court rulings cleared the way for full-fledged homosexual weddings by mid-May and sparked the parade of “marriages” in San Francisco.

Lawyers for San Francisco planned yesterday to answer efforts by California’s attorney general and homosexual “marriage” opponents to invalidate its already performed weddings. The lawyers expected to tell the state Supreme Court that nothing in the state constitution requires local officials to obey laws they believe are unconstitutional.

County and local officials in liberal spots in Oregon, New Mexico and New York have followed suit, though Mr. West said yesterday he will postpone a second round of same-sex “weddings” that had been planned for today so he can talk to state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer next week.

Wisconsin statutes already define marriage as a contract between a husband and a wife and do not recognize homosexual “marriage.” But backers feared a judge would overrule the definition.

In Utah, where a strong majority of the population belongs to the conservative Mormon Church, legislators have sent Gov. Olene Walker a bill to outlaw homosexual “marriage.” Mrs. Walker hasn’t said whether she will sign it.

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