The senate today voted not to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. Basically this was a procedural vote on whether or not to invoke cloture to end a filibuster that hadn't even started yet. The final vote was was 48 for cloture, 50 against. If you were for cloture, you were for ending the filibuster and allowing an up or down vote on the FMA. And presumably most of the 48 would have voted for the FMA if given a chance. It's not going to happen this year. Kerry & Edwards were on the campaign trail and didn't vote today--but they are on record as opposing the FMA.
John McCain can be irritating, but he was right when he said that the country as a whole is not yet ready to amend the constitution to block gay marriage. At the moment it appears that most people oppose gay marriage but don't want to amend the constitution to stop it. That's certainly a defensible position.
In the great scheme of things, today's vote doesn't matter very much. The framers of the constitution intended that it would be difficult to amend, and they succeeded admirably. It is good to have moral issues vigorously debated in the public arena. No doubt there will be a series of legal and legislative battles around the country. That conceivably may lead to a consensus in favor of the FMA at some future date. Or perhaps some way to stop gay marriage can be found short of amending the constitution. Let no one be discouraged. This is just the first step.
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