"For thousands of years the definition of marriage has been the union between one man and one woman. Marriage is the very foundation of our society where families are formed and communities are established," said Hastert in a statement.
"Today we are seeking to protect this vital institution as it is under attack by activist judges across the nation,” he continued. "It's unfortunate that more than a majority of democrats today have sided with these liberal judges and voted against this measure.”
The 236-187 vote was 47 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment. While most all Republicans supported the amendment, it did not have enough support from Democrats to get a two-thirds vote. The Senate rejected the amendment last month, effectively killing it for this session of Congress. In 2004, the House vote was 227-186 in favor of the amendment.
The “no” vote came despite what is happening at the state level, where courts, legislatures and voters are accepting the same-sex marriage bans. Forty-five states have either constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage or statutes outlawing same-sex weddings.
Supporters of the federal amendment argued that Congress must trump the actions of judges who have ruled in favor of same-sex marriages.
President George Bush has also advocated that the ban be extended to the federal level.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said his group would help to make marriage an election issue in the fall. They will put out a voter scorecard that will include marriage.
"The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage," said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., sponsor of the amendment. "And the people have a right to know whether their elected representatives agree with them."
The proposed amendment said that, "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither the Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
.- The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on Tuesday, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., warned that the issue is not over, the Associated Press reported.