- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

State constitutional amendments to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman easily passed yesterday in all 11 states where it was on the ballot.

Oregon showed the most modest support — 56 percent with two-thirds of precincts reporting — for the amendment. In the other 10 states, the amendments passed by solid margins, ranging from 60 percent in Michigan to 86 percent in Mississippi.

The other states with amendments were Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah.

The amendments are an important statement by the American public, said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

A year ago, a Massachusetts court legalized same-sex “marriage” and threatened to impose same-sex “marriage” on the rest of the nation, he said.

Voters “have spoken up, and they have spoken loudly. And I anticipate through the night that we will see the other states echoing the words of Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana and Missouri. We want to protect marriage,” he said.

“The country overwhelmingly rejects the idea of same-sex marriage,” said 2000 Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who has spoken in support for the amendments. “The votes tonight are going to show that once again.

“Unfortunately,” Mr. Bauer said, “the president was never able to clearly identify with these amendments and more importantly, show how [Sen. John] Kerry was on the side of these amendments. If [President Bush] had done that, it would be a lot shorter election night than it’s probably going to be.”

Homosexual rights groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), have campaigned against the amendments in several states. They made their strongest stand in Oregon, where polls showed the closest race, to try to prevent a sweep.

In Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio alone, 120,000 same-sex couples and their children are “at risk from the anti-gay amendments on marriage,” the NGLTF said this week.

“Of course we’re disappointed that anyone would vote to enshrine discrimination in their state constitutions,” said Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

The amendments passed because Americans haven’t been educated about “gay families and why gay families need the same rights, responsibilities and protections as any family to remain strong,” she said.

Four years ago, Americans probably would have voted against civil unions, but today most support civil unions, said Ms. Jacques, who “married” her partner this summer in Massachusetts.

“That’s because a tremendous amount of education and enlightenment [about civil unions] has taken place.”

Close to one-fifth of America’s voters had a chance to vote on a marriage amendment yesterday.

The amendments all clarify that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. All but the one in Montana also state that other kinds of civil unions, including those of same-sex couples, cannot be recognized as a marriage.

The amendments are seen as a backlash to the November 2003 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to legalize same-sex “marriage” in that state.

Homosexual rights groups and their allies have said they will not allow defeats at the polls to deter them from fighting the amendments. Challenges to voter-approved amendments are expected in Georgia, Ohio, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oregon.

Amendment opponents already have been successful in getting a court to overturn the Louisiana marriage amendment, which was approved by 78 percent of voters in September. The ruling is being appealed.

Political groups will be poring over amendment returns to see whether they helped Republicans or Democrats. Many opponents of the amendments said they were put on ballots to help re-elect Mr. Bush, especially in swing states such as Michigan, Ohio and Oregon.

However, in Ohio, the amendment was opposed as too broad by top Republican officials, including Gov. Bob Taft and both U.S. senators. But in two states with amendments and hotly contested Senate races, Republicans squeaked out victories.

Last night, with 99 percent of the vote counted, Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, who looked vulnerable in the strongly Republican state because of recent verbal gaffes, defeated Democratic challenger Daniel Mongiardo, 51 percent to 49 percent.

In Oklahoma, with 99 percent of the vote reported, former Republican Rep. Tom Coburn defeated Democratic Rep. Brad Carson, 53 percent to 41 percent, for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Don Nickles.

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