Last edited: March 30, 2004

Senate Begins Work on Anti-Gay Amendment, February 7, 2004

By Paul Johnson, Newscenter, Washington Bureau Chief

Washington, D.C.—The Senate has begun work on a bill to amend the US Constitution to prevent same-sex marriages and playing a key role will the former Texas Supreme Court justice who dismissed challenges to the state’s sodomy law.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn voted to throw out lower-court decisions that declared the state’s sodomy law unconstitutional. The law was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

During his 2002 Senate campaign, Cornyn vowed if elected he do all in his power to prevent making violence prompted by a victims’ sexual orientation a federal crime. Cornyn also is on record as opposed adoption by gay couples.

He has been a vocal opponent to same sex marriage. Friday he condemned the justices of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts for its ruling on gay marriage, (story) and announced that as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he would take the lead in stewarding the amendment legislation through the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee oversees legislation that affects the Constitution.

“The time has come for the appropriate committees in this body to convene hearings to determine how best we can respond to this startling display of judicial activism that so threatens our fundamental institutions and our values,” Cornyn, said from the Senate floor.

Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, said the influence Cornyn could have on shaping a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is “scary.”

“History has judged people on the wrong sides of these issues very harshly,” the Human Rights’ Campaign’s Mark Shields told “Eventually his past will catch up to him.

Shields said he hopes fair-minded members on both sides of the isle will oppose the bill. “Any attempt to amend the Constitution to deny people their rights is a dangerous thing,” said Shields.

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