On July 9, members of the Senate said they were “ready to rock and roll on the debate” over the controversial Federal Marriage Amendment that would protect traditional marriage in America. While the decisions and votes have yet to unfold, the first day of the senate resolved one issue: the members will vote on the amendment by Wednesday and bypass procedural hurdles so long as the proposed amendment does not change.
Prior to the debate, republicans – who generally support the amendment – feared that democrats – who generally oppose the amendment – would mount a filibuster against moving to a final vote. However, the democrats said on Friday that it would not mount a filibuster if republicans offered no change to the proposal
The majority leader Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee said he would review the approach before any decisions.
Meanwhile, during the debate, 7 senators took a stand on the issue; six supported it and one opposed it.
The one senator who opposed the amendment was Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who said, “For 225 years we've left it up to the states to define marriage. All of the sudden we're going to tell them they don't know what they're doing?"
However, the other senators acknowledged that a definition of marriage at the federal level would be inevitable.
“[T]he Constitution of the United States is about to be amended. The question is by whom?" Sen. Gordon Smith, R.-Ore., said. "Will it be done by a few liberal judges in Massachusetts, a lawless mayor in San Francisco or clandestine county commissioners? Or [will it be done] by the American people in a lawful, constitutional process as laid out in our founding document?”
Senator Wayne Allard referred back to the original framers of the constitution in speaking for the amendment.
“Gays and lesbians have the right to live the way they want to, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage,” Allard said. “... The framers of the Constitution felt that this would never be an issue. And if they had, it would have been included in the U.S. Constitution.”
That same day, President George W. Bush restated his support for the federal amendment – one he introduced to the nation on February after San Francisco began handing out gay “marriage” licenses without the consent of California.
"What they do in the privacy of their house, consenting adults should be able to do," President. Bush said during a campaign tour around Pennsylvania. "This is America. It's a free society. But it doesn't mean we have to redefine traditional marriage."
In supporting traditional marriage, Bush also reiterated his pro-life stance.
"We stand for a culture of life," the president added, "in which every person counts and reject the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion. We stand for institutions like marriage and family, which are the foundations of our society."