The pro-family side of the Federal Marriage Amendment debate faced a slight setback at the Senate on Wednesday, as the Amendment to protect traditional marriage failed to receive enough support to pass at first vote. The 48 to 50 vote followed three days of contentious debate over adding the words, marriage shall consist only of a man and a woman into the U.S. Constitution.
Supporters of the amendment said legalizing gay marriage would lead to the breakdown of the traditional family and cause unnecessary pain on children. Supporters have also noted that activist judges can easily overturn all laws including the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that prohibit homosexual marriage, with the exception of a constitutional amendment.
Opponents of the Amendment said they agree that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but said that individual states should determine whether or not gays can legally marry.
"I would like to see the right of my state preserved to decide the matter of gay marriage," said Senator John McCain, one of the six Republicans who voted against the amendment.
President Bush, one of the most avid backers of the amendment, had urged members of congress to approve the measure on his Radio address last Saturday. Senators John Kerry and John Edwards the presumed democratic presidential candidates were not present for the vote, but Kerry issued a statement on Monday, saying he wouldve voted against it.
"Had this amendment reached a final vote, I would have voted against it, because I believe that the American people deserve better than this from their leaders," Kerry said.