The Marriage Protection Amendment has thus far received overwhelming approval from Tennessee senators and representatives, bringing the legislation one step closer to placement on the 2006 ballot.
On Monday, the amendment passed by a 29-3 vote in the Senate. Although the three dissenting votes were cast by Senate Democrats, the legislation received strong bipartisan support. The Marriage Protection Amendment was also approved by the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee on Tuesday.
Tennessees Defense of Marriage Act already defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Marriage Protection Act further protects this definition and maintains that same-sex unions performed in other states will not be recognized in Tennessee.
If approved by the full House, the Marriage Protection Act will be placed on the ballot in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Voters will have the opportunity to make the Marriage Protection Act part of the state Constitution.
The Marriage Protection Amendment will allow voters the right to decide in a referendum on whether to place explicit language in their state Constitution to define marriage in Tennessee as it is historically known in this country, as a contract between one man and one woman, said Senator Miller.
The amendment is expected to be brought before the full House next week. A two-thirds majority vote is needed to place the issue before voters in the next governers election.