- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A constitutional amendment defining traditional marriage failed to earn the necessary backing of two-thirds of the House, but supporters say their cause is growing.

The vote for the amendment, which would define marriage strictly as a union between one man and one woman, was 236-187. The election-year measure was sponsored by Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado.

In September 2004, the measure failed 227-186. It needed 290 to pass.

Republicans who control the chamber pushed the issue as part of a focus on values, putting lawmakers on record on the issue four months before the November mid-term elections, when all members will appear on the ballot.

However, not all Republicans agreed with amending the Constitution. Twenty-seven Republicans sided with 159 Democrats to oppose the proposal, while 34 Democrats voted in favor of it.

The chamber’s lone independent voted against it and one Democrat voted “present.” The roll call can be found here.

Most Republicans said the amendment is necessary to protect families from “activist judges” in some states who are allowing same-sex couples to form legal unions.

They also said marriage is the foundation of traditional society. “The world did not start as Adam and Steve,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican.

Most Democrats called the amendment a distraction that is being used to generate conservative support for the fall mid-term elections.

“Election year politics should not be used to target gay and lesbian families. As they have done before, the House today rightly rejected that ploy,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington-based American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office.

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