Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Ban on Gay Marriages Bill Now in Congress
There is a Constitutional Amendment being proposed that will ultimately ban homosexual marriages/civil unions and possibly domestic partner benefits in the future. It is being pushed through Congress quickly so as to make as little noise as possible.
There's so much else in the news right now, that the amendment is not being noticed. This petition is being organized by a second party — it's NOT an "add your name to the bottom and forward" sort of thing. You must go to the site itself in order to sign the petition.
Please pass this along to your friends and family.
PLEASE READ, SIGN, AND FORWARD ON.
Origins: The issue over whether states should recognize
In order to become part of the constitution, an amendment must:
- Be proposed by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. (Amendments can also be proposed by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures, but none of the current twenty-seven amendments was introduced in this manner.)
- Be ratified by three-fourths of the states (currently 38 out of 50).
Consider the following:
- Despite several attempts to draft an amendment outlawing the burning of the American flag since the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning was protected free speech, no flag-burning amendment has ever garnered enough support to be sent to the states for ratification (even when the Republican party held a majority in both houses of Congress).
- Every single constitutional amendment ratified in the last eighty years (save the amendment repealing Prohibition in 1933) has dealt with technical regulations regarding who can hold national office (and how they're compensated) and who can vote.
- No proposed amendment of any other nature has cleared Congress and been sent to the states for ratification in thirty years. The last amendment to do so, the Equal Rights Amendment, still has not been ratified by a sufficient number of states three decades later, despite having been reintroduced in every Congress since then.
The bottom line is that it's a very long way from "some group wants to pass a constitutional amendment" to actually amending the constitution, and the proposal discussed here isn't even within sight of the finish line. Dedicated efforts are indeed being made by both those who would like to pass this amendment and those who would like to defeat it, however, so citizens who feel strongly about the issue should certainly contact their representatives to make their views known.
Last updated: 5 January 2008
Ferdinand, Pamela. "With Vermont in the Lead, Controversy Progresses." The Washington Post. 4 September 2001 (p. A3). Mattox Jr., William. "Marriage Issues Send My Daughter Wrong Message." USA Today. 21 August 2001 (p. A11).