Senate passes Defense of Marriage Act, votes down homosexual rights bill

The U.S. Senate voted against recognition of homosexuality in two measures Sept. 10.

By an 85-14 vote, the Senate approved the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which rejects the idea of same-sex marriages. The House passed DOMA 342-67 in July, and President Clinton has said he will sign the bill.

In a much closer decision, the Senate voted 50-49 against a bill dubbed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have created federal civil rights protections for homosexuals in the workplace.

Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, praised the Senate votes. “This is a string of major victories for the pro-family movement that demonstrates on the threshold of a major presidential election that the political debate is moving in our direction,” he said.

DOMA was introduced in response to a pending court case in Hawaii which threatens to legalize same-sex marriage. Such a decision could force other states to recognize homosexual marriages performed in Hawaii. Under DOMA, states are not required to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The act also prohibits federal benefits for spouses in same-sex marriages.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), a prime co-sponsor of DOMA, called the idea of same-sex marriage “absurd” and noted that such marriages fly “in the face of the thousands of years of experience about the societal stability that traditional marriage has afforded human civilization.”

Byrd added, “The Senate bill would reaffirm by federal law what is already understood by everyone: The permanent relationship between men and women is a keystone to the stability, strength and health of human society.”

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) defended DOMA as a needed defense against the homosexual community’s “attack on the institution of marriage” which he described as “the foundation of civilization for thousands of years.”

— E.P. News

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