Americans Lobby For and Against Marriage Amendment

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment on or around June 6, conservative and liberal groups are urging the grassroots to contact their lawmakers.

The American Family Association, a staunch defender of traditional marriage, has sent an email message to its supporters, reminding them what's at stake: "Some senators feel they are safe voting against the Marriage Protection Amendment by confusing their constituents with a lot of political double talk," the AFA said.

"Regardless of the political double-talk, remember this: If a senator votes against the MPA, he or she is in reality voting for homosexual marriage."

The message says that senators "need to hear from you today," and they need to understand that a vote against the amendment will be remembered when election time comes.

The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, strongly opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, and it is urging its followers to let senators know that a vote for the FMA "would forever write discrimination into the United States Constitution" by treating same-sex couples differently than other Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), speaking on Fox News Sunday, defended his decision to bring two constitutional amendments to the Senate floor in the next few weeks - one banning flag-burning and the other banning same-sex marriage.

He rejected suggestions that Republicans are pandering to the conservative base by raising issues that are important to "values voters."

Frist said marriage between one man and one woman is the "cornerstone of our society," and it is "under attack today."

He noted that 13 states have passed constitutional amendments in the last year and a half to protect marriage from "activist judges" such as those who have overturned laws against same-sex marriage in nine states.

"That's why I will take it (the marriage amendment) to the floor of the Senate," Frist said.

In response, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Republicans are bringing the marriage amendment to a Senate vote because they know they're in trouble with their conservative base.

Republicans are "scapegoating LGBT families for political gain, using marriage as a wedge issue," Dean said in a statement issued over the holiday weekend.

"It is not only morally wrong, it is shameful and reprehensible. This measure will only hurt LGBT Americans," Dean said of the Marriage Protection Amendment.

"Democrats value all families and are committed to the fundamental principle that every American has the right to live in dignity, with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law," Dean said.

He added that Democrats "strongly oppose any attempt to write discrimination into law and are committed to fighting this hateful, divisive amendment and to fighting similarly hateful ballot initiatives in states across the country."

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