Press Room

September 29, 2004

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Sound Defeat of Amendment Reveals Politics of Distraction

Marriage Amendment Defeated in House of Representatives by 227-186 margin

WASHINGTON - In a sound defeat, 27 moderate and conservative Republicans joined 158 Democrats and one Independent Thursday in opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment (previously the "Federal Marriage Amendment") on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Since the discriminatory constitutional amendment was first proposed last February, voters saw the proposal for what it is: a cynical political ploy to distract voters from the enormous foreign policy and domestic challenges facing America.

"They're blasting the radio as they pass the gas station on an empty tank," said Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "The Republican leadership has continued to focus on this divisive measure while critical security needs are neglected. This is a pathetic attempt to distract voters from the issues that matter."

The House cast its vote on this divisive and sensational amendment just hours before the first presidential debate in Florida, where President Bush will be forced to defend his administration's record in Iraq.

"On a day when voters are looking to their leaders for answers, Tom Delay and President Bush are trying to change the question," added Jacques. "Congress wasted precious time on an amendment that couldn't pass, couldn't become law and doesn't have the support of the American people."

The Senate killed the amendment by a vote of 48-50 in July, making ratification impossible this year and making today's vote only about election-year politics. House leaders forced a vote on the bill today despite acknowledging it wouldn't pass, and at the same time they neglected vital spending bills on the last day of the fiscal year.

This was a resounding defeat for a constitutional amendment in the House.

"Congress today rejected discrimination and rejected playing politics with peoples' lives," added Jacques.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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