The House will vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday. While supporters of the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) openly admit the measure probably wont receive enough votes to pass, they believe the floor vote will show where representatives stand on the issue and elevate the importance of the issue especially as elections are around the corner.
"The American people need to know where their representatives stand, said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, TX-R, Tuesday. "It will be part of, and should be part of, the debate and the elections that are upcoming."
"We are forced to bring a constitutional amendment to the floor because of activist courts and activist judges," DeLay said. "The nation needs to have this debate, and there's no better way to have a debate than bringing a bill to the floor of the House.
Without the passage of the MPA (H.J.R. 106), courts would be able to overturn state marriage laws which define marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.
"For too long, Congress has stood idly by as courts like the activist bench in Massachusetts have usurped legislative authority in this country, and the time has come for Congress to reassert itself, as our founders intended, said DeLay.
The Marriage Protection Amendment needs two-thirds approval or 290 votes to pass the House then be ratified by 38 states to be written into the Constitution. Introduced by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave on Sept. 23, the amendment reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, 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."
The same language for the MPA was used in the "Federal Marriage Amendment, the Senate version of the marriage amendment that was filibustered earlier this year.
Even if the proposal fails to pass in the house, traditional marriage supporters from ten states have initiatives banning same-sex marriage on the Nov. 2 ballot. Both Louisiana and Missouri voters recently passed similar initiatives with landslide victories. Over 40 states also have laws, called the Defense of Marriage Act, which only recognize traditional marriages.