Arizona Senator Kyle hates homosexuals!

Kyl panel urges constitutional gay-marriage ban

Billy House Republic Washington Bureau Apr. 4, 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Congress must act to send a constitutional marriage amendment to the states or risk that the courts will rule in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide, asserts a new report from a key Senate committee headed by Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

"The greatest fallacy of the same-sex marriage debate is the well-meaning but naive belief that Congress need do nothing and that the American people will sort the question out on the state level," according to the paper Why a Marriage Amendment Is Necessary by the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

"The only way to ensure that the American people, rather than judges, decide this fundamental question about the future of marriage in America is to offer them the opportunity to consider and ratify a constitutional amendment through their state legislatures."

The 16-page report by the committee, which does research and advances the views of the Senate's GOP majority, comes as the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Monday that he has scheduled a vote on the Marriage Protection Act for early June. That measure says, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."

The report lays out in advance the arguments that can be expected from Frist, Kyl and other senators when the issue is debated two months from now. But two years ago, the Senate could not even muster a simple majority, let alone the 60 votes needed, to permit a straight up or down vote on a similar amendment.

Kyl, who is seeking his third term this fall, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Meanwhile, proponents of placing a state constitutional amendment on the Arizona ballot this fall warned their supporters that the measure could fail to make the ballot because of a lack of signatures.

Massachusetts is the only state that has redefined marriage to include same-sex couples. But the committee's paper warns that several other states could follow suit this year.

California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Washington face active lawsuits challenging their marriage laws, according to the committee report. State Supreme Courts in New Jersey, Washington and New York could decide same-sex marriage cases this year, the paper states.

The paper also says that the near-term tactical goal of gay-marriage advocates "is not national cohesion but national fragmentation of marriage definitions" because "the result will be confusion and chaos that cannot long endure."

The paper predicts that eventually, questions regarding the federal definition of marriage and interstate recognition of same-sex marriages will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Nothing in the Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage, and in our current constitutional system, the various applications of marriage law are typically left to the states," the paper says. "Consequently, it would be exceedingly unlikely for the Supreme Court to invalidate same-sex marriages."

But it is tough to change the U.S. Constitution.

Any amendment must be approved by two-thirds of the House and the Senate and ratified by the legislatures of 38 states.

"We are truly sick of being used and misused by the right for political gain. This is again a replay of the right-wing effort to use homophobia to frighten people and to demonize lesbians and gay people," said Roberta Sklar, communications director for the Washington, D.C.-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"We're sick of it and look forward to it ending. This is an election-year maneuver. And frankly, we think the American public is getting sick and tired of it, too."

In Arizona, gay activist Neil Schneider of Phoenix echoed Sklar's comments, saying the sentiment outlined by Kyl's committee, along with the Senate GOP plans to resurrect a vote on the marriage amendment in June, is an election-year strategy. He said it "makes my blood boil because they are using myself as a gay person as a political pawn for votes."

"Senator Kyl has some sound policy position in other areas: tax policy and immigration policy," said Schneider, who owns his own video production company. "But he's completely off base with the American public on this issue.

"When did Americans start writing discrimination and hatred into the Constitution against one class of Americans?"

He pointed to an e-mail sent last week by the Center for Arizona Policy warning that it has been difficult to get enough signatures or registered voters to qualify an amendment for the November ballot that would protect that existing definition of marriage in the state, which does not include same-sex marriages.

In an interview, Cathi Herrod, interim president and director of policy for the center, said she appreciated the national leadership Kyl has shown on the issue.

But she confirmed that the coalition has been having a hard time collecting the 183,917 valid signatures required by July 6 to qualify for the fall ballot.

Reach the reporter at billy. or 1-(202)-906-8136.

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