In a 49 to 48 vote, the U.S. Senate rejected the Federal Marriage Act, a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage throughout the United States.
Supported by President George W. Bush and the many Republicans and used to rally conservative voters on Election Day, the amendment fell 11 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.
“President Bush and the Republican leadership gambled their dwindling political capital on a discriminatory amendment and came up empty,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a press release. “With the addition of Senators Specter and Gregg, not only did every senator who voted against discrimination in 2004 stand with us today but momentum is on the side of equality. This is a resounding defeat against discrimination.”
Opponents of the Federal Marriage Act feared that the amendment would not only prevent same-sex marriage, but invalidate civil unions and domestic partnerships across the country. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, told the Associated Press, "The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution. A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."
This is the second time the amendment has reached Congress, going down to defeat in both the Senate (50 to 48) and House (227 to 168) in 2004.
“For the House to now take up a bill that’s dead and twice failed would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt this is nothing more than election-year posturing,” Solmonese said.