- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 2, 2005

The Kansas House of Representatives yesterday approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage only as the union of one man and one woman, and outlaws civil unions.

The amendment, which cleared the state Senate last month, goes before Kansas voters April 5.

If it passes, Kansas would become the 18th state with a constitutional marriage amendment.

Supporters of traditional values were pleased by the vote.

“What a great victory for traditional values,” said Tamara Cooper, executive director of the Kansas Republican Assembly, on the group’s Web site after Kansas House members approved the amendment 86-37.

Kansas state Rep. Bill McCreary said yesterday he expects it to pass “by an overwhelming margin.”

“This is a very conservative state, and I think they deserve the right to vote on this issue,” he said.

In Idaho, however, it was homosexual-rights supporters who were celebrating yesterday after the state Senate voted down its marriage amendment, 21-14, a few votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed.

“We’re very excited by these results … we, of course, have been fighting this,” said Jim Smith, co-chairman of Your Family, Friends and Neighbors, a homosexual-rights advocacy group.

The Idaho Senate vote essentially kills the marriage issue for this session, as Idaho House leaders said they wanted any such amendment to first pass the Senate.

The nation has been struggling with the issue of same-sex “marriage” since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November 2003 that its state constitution allows such unions. That landmark “Goodridge” decision led to the first U.S. state-sanctioned homosexual “marriages” as of May 17.

State marriage amendments are intended to prevent courts from finding a right to “marry” same-sex couples in their respective state constitutions. Last year, residents of 13 states — Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah — voted to change their constitutions to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman.

Four other states — Hawaii, Alaska, Nebraska and Nevada — passed marriage amendments in previous years.

Homosexual rights and civil liberties groups have filed legal challenges against amendments in Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and as of this week, Oregon.

A legal challenge to Louisiana’s marriage amendment ended last month when it was upheld as constitutional by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Meanwhile:

• Lawmakers in at least six states — Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia — are considering constitutional marriage amendments this session. If lawmakers pass these amendments, they will be put to a public vote, most likely in 2006.

• Lawmakers in three more states — Massachusetts, Tennessee and Wisconsin — have given preliminary approval to marriage constitutional amendments, but must pass the amendments a second time before they can go to voters.

• Lawmakers in New Jersey and New Mexico have introduced bills to define marriage as the union of a man and woman in state law.


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