S.C. becomes 4th state to vote on marriage amendment in 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP)--South Carolina citizens will vote next year on a constitutional amendment banning "gay marriage."

An amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage passed the South Carolina House by voice vote April 26, placing it on the November 2006 ballot. It previously had passed the Senate.

South Carolina joins three other states -- Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee -- that also will vote on state constitutional marriage amendments next year. Others likely will follow. The South Carolina amendment received broad bipartisan support.

"It’s just another protection against activist judges in other states," South Carolina Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican, was quoted as saying in The State newspaper.

The South Carolina amendment states, in part: "A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this State."

All total, 18 states already have constitutional marriage amendments. They have passed by an average of 70 percent of the vote. It is possible that by the end of 2006, more than half of the states will have adopted a marriage amendment.

The amendments ensure that state courts cannot issue a ruling legalizing "gay marriage." Massachusetts has no marriage amendment, and its high court legalized "gay marriage" there.

The amendments, though, have one weakness -- they can be overturned in federal court. For that reason, conservatives and traditionalists are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The marriage amendment in the U.S. Senate is Senate Joint Resolution 1 and in the House it's House Joint Resolution 39.


For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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