U.S. Senate Rejects Federal Ban

To no one's surprise, the U.S. Senate rejected the proposed federal ban on marriage and other legal protections for gay families this morning. The vote (49 yes to 48 no) fell 11 shy of the sixty votes needed to bring the ban to a floor vote. And it fell 18 votes shy of the two-thirds needed to begin passing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Two years ago the vote wasn't that different, 48 to 50.

As the Washington Post reports:

Supporters knew they wouldn't achieve the two-thirds vote needed to approve a constitutional amendment, but they had predicted a gain in votes over the last time the issue came up, in 2004. Instead, they lost one vote for the amendment in a procedural test tally that ended up 49-48.

"We were hoping to get over 50 percent, but that didn't happen today," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., one of the amendment's supporters.

I'm pleased to say that Wisconsin Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold showed their courage and leadership and voted "No" on the ban. They also recently voiced their opposition to Wisconsin's proposed ban.

To thank them, you can send an email to herb@herbkohl.com and russ@progressivepatriotsfund.com.


Seven Republicans . . . voted to kill the amendment. They were Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and John Sununu of New Hampshire.

Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the only Democratic senator who supports the amendment, voted "yes." The only other Democrat to vote in favor of moving forward with an up-or-down vote Wednesday, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, opposes the amendment itself.

Three senators did not vote: Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and John Rockefeller of West Virginia, and Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.


Russ Feingold tells the New York Times:
"All over the country, married heterosexual couples are shaking their heads and wondering how exactly the prospect of gay marriage threatens the health of their marriages."
The report also notes that two former supporters of the ban have since become opponents:
Two Republicans who sided with them [supporters] the last time, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, voted against limiting debate.

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