WEDGE ISSUE FALLS 18 VOTES SHORT OF 67 NEEDED TO APPROVE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
The Senate, earlier today, by a vote of 49-48, rejected administration plans for a constitutional amendment, which would outlaw gay marriage and in the process dealt a fatal blow to the administration and partisan Republicans who had hoped to use the measure to energize conservative voters on Election Day.
Wednesday’s vote fell 11 short of the 60 required to send the matter for an up-or-down tally and 18 votes short of the 67, or two-thirds, needed for the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment.
Breaking party lines to side with Dems in defeating the amendment were seven Republicans including Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and John Sununu of New Hampshire.
Two Democrats, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Robert Byrd of West Virginia, similarly broke ranks and voted for the amendment while Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, John Rockefeller of West Virginia, and Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska did not vote.
In defending his party’s actions, Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, had this to say. “The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the constitution. A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law.”
But this defeat, unfortunately, does not mean an end to this charade, which has bogged down the nation’s capitol these past few days. Rest assured that the House, desiring it’s day in the sun, will readdress the matter in the not too distant future, where it will hopefully meet a similar fate.
But one never knows.
The lure of wedge issues is that they are appeal to people’s fears. To some bible-toting denizen of some red state hellhole, gay people living as a family is about as bad as it can get. Now chances are, they have never met a family where the parents are gay, and their homophobia aside, are reacting solely to some dime store preachers interpretation of the bible for their input.
But as one of the Senators pointed out in yesterday’s debate, nowhere in the New Testament are the topics of gays or gay marriage addressed while divorce and adultery have several mentions apiece. So, what is next? Will Congress move to outlaw divorce and sex out of wedlock? I doubt it.
In perspective, the loss of this issue means that many Republicans will be thrown out of office this November and in November’s to follow. This is a good thing. But it is bad if they are only replaced by more of the same self-serving corrupt breed that seems to gravitate towards elected office.
What we need now is a change. A real change.
Will we get it? I sure hope so.
DENIS DONOVAN - Editor