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Proof God Is Republican

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The Republican-controlled House emphatically defeated a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes pushed to a vote by GOP leaders in the run-up to Election Day.


---The AP reports this afternoon, showing that Republicans are the Chosen Ones for leading their stupid fundamentalist followers into the Promised Land. Well, OK, maybe the story is wildly misleading, because it was really some brave Democrats who prevented a larger majority.


A yes vote is a vote for the amendment.


Voting yes were 36 Democrats and 191 Republicans.


Voting no were 158 Democrats, 27 Republicans and one independent.


The story continues:


The vote was 227-186, far short of the two-thirds needed for approval on a measure that President Bush backed but the Senate had previously rejected.


"God created Adam and Eve, He didn't create Adam and Steve," said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., on behalf of a measure that supporters said was designed to protect an institution as old as civilization itself.


President Bush earlier this year asked Congress to vote on the amendment, and Democrats contended that in complying, Republicans were motivated by election-year politics.


Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic whip, accused GOP leaders of "raw political cynicism" and said they hoped to "create the fodder for a demagogic political ad."


Whatever the motivation, there was no disagreement that the amendment lacked the two-thirds majority needed to pass, just as it failed by a lopsided margin in the Senate earlier this year.


The gay marriage amendment said marriage in the United States "shall consist only of a man and a woman." It also would have required that neither the U.S. Constitution nor any state constitution "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."


Even among majority Republicans, the issue generated dissent.


Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was the principal speaker on behalf of the measure, taking a role that is almost always reserved for the chairman of the committee with jurisdiction. In this case, though, the leadership bypassed the Judiciary Committee, and GOP officials said the panel's chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., made clear he wanted no part of the debate. His spokesman did not immediately return a call on why he took that position.


DeLay said the need for congressional action was "forced upon us by activist judges trying to legislate from the bench." He noted that under 1996 legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, marriage is defined as between a man of a woman.


"One would think this would be the end of the story. But it is not," DeLay said. The law is "under an incessant and coordinated attack in the federal courts," where he said judges feel a greater "responsibility to their own political ideology than the Constitution."


"The limitations of traditional marriage rest not on an intent to discriminate, but on what is most beneficial for society and children as evidenced by volumes of social science research," added Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo.


"Traditional marriage is worth preserving, because the nuclear family is far and away the best environment in which to raise children. Every child deserves both a father and a mother," said Musgrave, whose persistent advocacy for the measure has gained her national notice unusual for a first-term lawmaker.


Critics saw it differently.


"We feel love and we feel it in a way different than you," said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who is openly gay. "We feel it with someone of the same sex, male or female, and we look at your institution of marriage and we see the joy it brings. How do we hurt you when we share it?"


Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. quoted Vice President Dick Cheney - who has a gay daughter - as saying, "The fact of the matter is that we live in a free society and freedom means freedom for everybody."


"You are on the wrong side of history," he said to the measure's supporters. "It is wrong to take a beautiful institution like marriage and use it as an instrument of division."


Public polls show strong opposition to gay marriage, but opinion is about evenly divided regarding a federal constitutional amendment to ban it.


At the same time, voters in 11 states will decide the fate of proposed amendments to their state constitutions this fall, and opponents of bans on gay marriage concede they will be difficult to stop.

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We need to be very thankful to the 27 Republicans who were brave enough to break ranks with their sociopathic leadership and vote against the amendment. It's not quite as difficult for Democrats to vote against it, although there are certainly Democrats who represent conservative districts who may have bucked their constituency in voting "no."


Once in a while you get nicely surprised, and this was a very nice one. I was afraid the House would be totally intimidated by the results of the Missouri vote and play it safe by passing the amendment (especially since they know it can't carry the Senate). I'm so grateful they didn't!

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