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Today, across America, a great debate is taking place as to whether gay and lesbian couples should be denied the fundamental right to marry. Sadly, President Bush has called on Congress to put a stop to this debate through a constitutional amendment to prohibit the states from deciding this issue. The Constitution has never been amended to mandate discrimination, and editorials across the country are questioning the attempt to do so.

Palm Springs, Calif. – The Desert Sun
Our Voice: Civil Unions Could Provide Gay Couples Rights They Deserve, March 14, 2004

“The U.S. Constitution should not be amended to prohibit gay marriages. The status quo does need to change, however. Gay couples should have all of the same rights afforded married couples; justice demands it.”

“The debate, although rancorous, is healthy and essential. Americans need to chew on it and kick it around. Gay marriage? It needs to be eased into the nation’s collective psyche because for thousands of years, marriage has been defined as a contract between a man and a woman.”

“Maybe someday society will come to a much broader view of gender, and gay marriage will be affirmed. That evolution should come from society.”

“Let’s be honest with ourselves. San Francisco, Massachusetts and Vermont are not falling apart by allowing marriages or civil unions. It’s not a catastrophic issue with dire consequences.”

Asheville, N.c= – The Asheville Citizen-Times
A Civil Discourse on Difficult Issue of Gay Marriage Speaks Well of Us, March 11, 2004

“The fact that people here with dramatically conflicting views can talk to one another is encouraging.”

“The fact the discussion is being held in a mostly civil manner is worthy of note, because the intersection of the issues of homosexuality, religion and the institution of marriage hits just about every deeply held personal belief across the board. The potential for a firestorm at this juncture of emotional issues should not be underestimated.”

“But instead of a firestorm, some conversations have begun. That speaks well of us.”

Bridgewater, N.J. – Courier News
Our Opinion, March 11, 2004
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“�?we applaud those officials who have challenged authority and issued the gay marriage licenses. The battle is clearly on, and it’s about time we know where everyone stands. There is no honor sitting this one out on the sidelines.”

“Only recently has the call to recognize gay partnerships on some official level begun to be heeded, thanks to increasingly aggressive advocacy. Now the momentum to firmly and legally categorize such partnerships seems unstoppable.”

Columbus, Ohio – Columbus Dispatch
Just Say No, March 1, 2004

[President Bush’s] “support of such a law, long awaited by social conservatives, has more to do with re-election politics than with whether the Constitution should be amended. Proponents face a long and winding road to approval, as backers of the failed Equal Rights Amendment for women will attest.”

“The attempt to stuff this social issue into the Constitution during an election year should be seen as what it is: pandering to an interest group for political gain.”

“This is no time to be meddling with the Constitution, particularly on an issue best left for the states to decide.”

Buffalo, N.Y. – Buffalo News
Marriage and the Constitution, February 27, 2004

“…it still is not wise to use the Constitution for social engineering�?The fact that this amendment would take away the rights of a certain group of Americans just makes it all the more troubling.”

“But at the end of the day, when one gets past the arguments of federal power vs. states’ rights, one fact remains: This would be an amendment to legalize discrimination against a group of Americans. That is wrong.”

Philadelphia, Pa. – Philadelphia Inquirer
The ‘Gay Marriage’ Amendment, February 26, 2004

“It’s a bad idea. The nation will rue the day anyone pressed forward with it.”

“Whether the term marriage can or should be expanded to include gay couples is an unsettled, untested question for America. That is precisely why state-by-state experimentation in different forms of gay civil union would be helpful. Those experiments have begun. The aim of this proposed amendment, no matter how anyone tries to dress it up, is to forestall them.”

“Why is this constitutional amendment a bad idea? Because: The norm for amending the Constitution has been to extend precious civil liberties to new groups; it has never been to deny to one group privileges offered to the majority.”

Louisville, Ky. – The Courier-Journal
Gay Marriage, February 26, 2004

“…the prospect of gay marriage is hardly the social crisis it’s being billed as. To the contrary, there are more reasons to welcome it than fear it.

“But in city halls and courtroom chambers, marriage isn’t about religious beliefs. It’s about two people assuming certain legal obligations and benefits – including tangible benefits, such as survivor’s pension payments and hospital visitation rights, for example, and less tangible ones, such as being treated in their daily lives as the couple they are. Government’s duty is to respect all citizens’ rights to equal treatment – the gay and the straight, the religious and the non-religious – not to enforce certain religious beliefs.”

“More than half of marriages end in divorce. Indeed, a moralist could argue that it would be better for all marriages – and for a lot more children – if all people, including gays, were encouraged to pair up and stick together. Then the message would be consistent and clear: Responsibility for each other is the accepted cultural value; promiscuity is not.”

Omaha, Neb. – Omaha World-Herald
An Unwise Amendment, February 25, 2004

“We don’t see the issue as one that’s appropriate to be enshrined in the nation’s most fundamental legal treasure. With rare exceptions, the traditional role of the Constitution and its various amendments has been to grant rights, not take them away. In fact, the only amendment that removed an individual right – prohibition of alcoholic beverages – proved so unworkable and unpopular that it was later repealed.”

“Some issues are better left to the individual states. Their governments, after all, are closer to their citizens and presumably better informed about what laws would best serve their desires and interests. This, surely, is such a non-federal issue because it involves such highly intimate and emotional aspects of people’s lives.”

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessean
Keep Marriage Ban out of U.S. Constitution, February 25, 2004

“The beauty of the U.S. Constitution is its inclusiveness and its broadness. When it was used as a tool for social policy, as with Prohibition, it didn’t work. The Federal Marriage Amendment is along similar lines.”

“Marriage may be sacred to many people, but it remains a state-sanctioned rite. Amending the U.S. Constitution in a way that blocks states from making their own decisions cannot possibly be good policy. The pursuit of the Federal Marriage Amendment will only serve to divide the nation.”

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