June 19, 2004 – Republicans supporting a constitutional amendment mandating that marriage "shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman," announced at a news conference yesterday that the Senate would bring the measure for a vote the week of July 12.
According to The Associated Press, co-sponsor Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said the move was a reaction to the Massachusetts Supreme Courtâ€™s November 2003 ruling, which barred the state from denying "the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage" to same-sex couples. However, Representative Marylin Musgrave (R-CO) had introduced a resolution calling for the amendment in May, six months before the Massachusetts ruling. One week later, Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) introduced a companion resolution in the Senate.
Amending the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress, and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Thus far, the measures have the support of at least 16 of the 100 Senators and 124 of the 540 members of Congress. Despite White House pressure, there is no word on when the House will take action on the amendment.