Marriage amendment defeated in Senate

June 07, 2006

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

Dramatic defeat for FMA proponents, now time to talk about protecting gay families

WASHINGTON, June 7 — By a vote of 49 to 48, the U.S. Senate today rejected an effort to end debate and proceed to a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage federally and for every state as only between a man and a woman. Sixty votes were required to proceed, and 67 votes would have been required on a vote on the merits. Two years ago, a similar amendment failed at the same stage by a vote of 48 to 50. No senator who voted against a similar cloture motion in 2004 changed his or her vote today, and Republican Sens. Specter and Gregg moved to oppose it. (The other tally difference is explained being due to new senators elected in 2004 and other absences.) While Republicans gained four seats in 2004, the number of pro-amendment votes went up by only one today.

In support of the effort to defeat the amendment, the Task Force mobilized its members, lobbied senators and helped organize several events, including Monday's press conference with clergy.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Today is a tremendous victory for the core American values of equality, fairness and nondiscrimination. Once again, a bipartisan bloc soundly rejected this immoral constitutional amendment seeking to dehumanize and hurt lesbian and gay Americans and their families.

It's extraordinary that our opponents were not able to move a single senator over to their side, in spite of their venomous, threat-based, multi-million dollar campaign and the full-throated backing of the president and Republican Senate leadership. It is clear that most Americans saw this for what it was: base political pandering, skewed priorities and abdicated responsibilities.

"Under the minority leadership of Senators Reid and Durbin and the debate management of Senators Specter and Leahy, amendment opponents showed remarkable message discipline.

"For those senators who stood up for our community and gay and lesbian families, including Senators Kennedy, Dayton, Feingold, Johnson, Boxer and Lautenberg, we thank you. We salute Senators Specter and Gregg for switching their vote and making this a stand against discrimination. We hope this vote today will be the basis for a working majority in Congress to press forward on basic fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including hate crimes and nondiscrimination protections and access to the same family protections enjoyed by all other families."


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.