Looks like the Federal Marriage Ammendment is dead for now, failing not only to line up a two-thirds majority in its support, but also even to get fifty votes to bring it to a vote: Backers of a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriages suffered a stinging defeat in the Senate today as opponents easily killed the initiative for the year in a procedural showdown. Senators voted 50 to 48 against a call to cut off debate, 12 votes short of the 60 required and even below a simple majority of 51. It would have taken 67 votes to approve the amendment itself. The loss effectively ended a drive to move the proposal through the Senate before the November elections. Six Republicans helped block the amendment, illustrating the divisions in the party ranks over the idea of inscribing such a ban into the Constitution. "The constitutional amendment we are debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans," said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. "It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed, and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them." Three Democrats sided with Republicans in trying to move to a vote on the language of the amendment itself. Under constitutional rules crafted by the Founding Fathers to make it difficult to alter the document, a supermajority of 67 votes is necessary to start the ratification process by the states. Today's vote did not reflect the full level of opposition since some Senate Republicans who were opposed to the amendment sided with their leadership on the preliminary vote. Good riddance.


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