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Congress Begins Work On New Attempt To Pass Federal Anti-Gay Amendment


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Congress Begins Work On New Attempt To Pass Federal Anti-Gay Amendment

by Paul Johnson 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief

Posted: October 20, 2005 12:01 am ET

(Washington) The Senate Sub Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold hearings today in a new push to amend the Constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

Attempts by Republicans in Congress to pass the proposed amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman failed last year. (story)

The measure was reintroduced in January. (story) A House version was reintroduced in March.

"This amendment represents, I think, the democratic process or the democratic response to recent and widespread efforts by activist courts to change this age-old definition of marriage," said Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo) when he introduced the proposed amendment.

The sub committee will hear from a number of witnesses today, speaking in favor and against the measure.

Among those speaking in opposition to the amendment will be Christopher Harris, M.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Harris, who is a gay African-American, has a 3-year-old daughter and has been a pediatrician for almost 20 years.

Harris said he will tell the sub committee that he agrees with the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that there are no relevant studies of the effect of parental sexual orientation on children that show any measurable effect on the quality of parent-child relationships or the children's mental health and successful socialization.

An analysis of the issue prepared for the AAP board of directors in July 2005, concluded, in part, that "Civil marriage is a social institution that promotes healthy families by conferring of a powerful set of rights, benefits and protections that cannot be obtained by other means.

Civil marriage can help foster psychosocial stability and financial and legal security as well as an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a more nurturing and secure environment for their children."

Harris is one of more than 750 pediatricians across the nation who are opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, and who are part of a grassroots coalition called Pro-Family Pediatricians.

Democrats say the proposed amendment is not needed. The Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by then President Bill Clinton prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

©365Gay.com 2005


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