Domenici Votes to Proceed on Gay Marriage Amendment

Date: June 7, 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Marriage

Domenici Votes to Proceed on Gay Marriage Amendment
from the Office of Senator Pete V. Domenici

U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today voted to end a filibuster and proceed to debate a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. The measure failed to gain the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and proceed to a debate, meaning that it is likely dead for the year.

The amendment, sponsored by Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), was in response to actions taken by courts to legalize same-sex marriages. Had Congress passed it, the issue would revert to individual states. Three-quarters of the 50 states must vote to ratify a constitutional amendment for it to become law.

"I am a strong believer in the benefits of traditional marriage. While I understand that individuals are involved in various types of relationships, I believe we must give special recognition to marriage for one man and one woman, as it was defined in the Defense of Marriage Act a decade ago.

"Amending the U.S Constitution is a serious matter which I do not take lightly. In this instance, however, I believe it was warranted. This is an issue which the American people should decide, not the court system. Without this amendment, there remains a significant chance that an unelected judge could simply change the definition of marriage overnight. I support this amendment and today voted to end debate so the Senate would have the opportunity to pass it," Domenici said.

The amendment received strong support from President Bush, who Monday called the union of a man and woman in marriage "the most enduring and important human institution."

In 1996, Domenici voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is legislation that would allow a state to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Among other things, the DOMA law states that as far as the federal government is concerned--in terms providing federal spousal benefits such as Social Security or veterans' benefits--marriage means a union between a man and a woman.