.- The Senate Republican leadership is aiming for a mid-July vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment – a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, reported Alliance for Marriage yesterday.
Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum (Pa.) said the GOP leaders have not yet set a specific date, but he confirmed that they are scouting for July.
The issue was not discussed with all 51 Republican senators at the Tuesday meeting, but a handful of senior senators and leaders reportedly "discussed the issue at length" the night before.
There was not unanimity about whether the GOP should pursue the issue in this election year. However, there appears to be a strong majority within the Republican Conference to at least force a vote, reported Alliance for Marriage.
"I think it needs to come up and we need to vote on it one way or another," said Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
Pro-family groups have been pressuring Congress to hold a vote on the issue this year. Their lobby was sparked in part by Massachusetts' decision to sanction same-sex marriages.
The America Family Association is urging people to write letters to the Senate in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the next four weeks leading up to the vote.
“I urge you to respond to the call of President Bush for support by helping send one million letters to the Senate,” said Paul Webster of the American Family Association, making reference to the issue as “the most important vote in the history of our nation.”
Webster underlined the importance of letter writing. He pointed out that several Democratic senators, including Minority Leader Tom Daschale, Charles Schumer (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Debbie Stabenow (MI), have already said they plan to kill the amendment.