Recent polls conducted since the high court ruling in Massachusetts that legalized “same sex marriages,” Nov. 18, showed that the state’s liberal stance countered the national trends.
A Time/CNN poll conducted on 1,507 adults showed 62 percent of Americans oppose same-sax “marriages,” while 32 percent support it. Republicans oppose it by a 76-18 margin, Democrats 59-38. 53 percent of those who responded to the same poll, taken from Nov. 18-19, also said that that they would favor amending their respective state’s constitution if a court there legalized same-sex “marriage.” Forty percent said they would oppose such an action.
Conversely, two new state polls conducted on Massachusetts’s adults and released Nov. 23, showed that the majority in the state supported the ruling for same-sex “marriages.” A Boston Globe poll of 400 adults revealed a 50-38 margin of support for the ruling. A Boston Sunday Herald poll of 405 registered voters revealed a similar margin of 49-38.
The members at Capitol Hill held mixed opinions.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said on "FOX News Sunday" that he wouldn't support a constitutional amendment even if a court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act.
"[T]his is going to be an incredibly difficult thing for America to grapple with, and we're going to go through a process here that is necessary for this nation in terms of how we deal with the rights and the recognition of gay unions," he said, according to a transcript. "And I don't think that gets settled by a constitutional amendment. It makes it more divisive."
Appearing on the same program, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said he would support a constitutional amendment but doubted the Senate would pass it.
There are two methods to pass a constitutional amendment. The typical method is by passage of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and three-fourths of the states. The second method, which has never been used, allows two-thirds of the states to call a constitutional convention and requires three-fourths of the states to pass the proposed amendment. The latter method bypasses the U.S. House and Senate.
Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark reiterated his opposition to a constitutional amendment on CBS' "Face the Nation." Asked if he favors same-sex "marriage," Clark did not give a direct answer but said he welcomed the Massachusetts court decision. He also said he favors civil unions.
"I think that's an issue both for the churches and ... synagogues and others to consider, and the state legislatures," he said, according to a transcript. "So what I believe we have to do is we have to have protection under law with the same rights under law.
"Whether a church wants to recognize it as a marriage, whether a state government wants to say that this can be called a quote, 'marriage' or not, well, those are terms that the governments and the churches should use, but in terms of equal protection under law, I think the case is clear and that's why I welcome the decision of the state supreme court."
The Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle, D-S.D, said he supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law in 1996 and gives the states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriage.” However, he said he sees no need for further federal action, such as passing a constitutional amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage.
"The Defense of Marriage Act deals with federal law," Daschle said during a Nov. 23 appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” "States, of course, have the right to make their own decision with regard to how they're going to look at marriage. I oppose gay marriage. I support the Defense of Marriage Act. But I also oppose a constitutional amendment. I think it's not necessary."
A U.S. constitutional amendment, the Federal Marriage Amendment, has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has more than 100 cosponsors. It would add language to the Constitution protecting the traditional definition of marriage.
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., a cosponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” supporting the constitutional amendment for marriage, warning the audience of a need for such a call.
"We have four judges -- judicial activism is quite a problem in this nation right now -- deciding what the definition of marriage will be," she explained. If a constitutional amendment is not passed, then courts will overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.”