A constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is headed toward certain Senate defeat, but supporters say new votes for the measure represent progress that gives the GOP's base reason to vote on Election Day.
"The House plans a vote on the amendment next month, said Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
'This is an issue that is of significant importance to many Americans,' Boehner told reporters. 'We have significant numbers of our members who want a vote on this, so we are going to have a vote.'
Like the Senate, the House in 2004 fell short of the two-thirds vote needed.
Bush, his popularity sagging and his conservative base dissatisfied with Republicans' efforts on social issues, issued a fresh appeal for passage Tuesday, the third time in as many days.
'The administration believes that the future of marriage in America should be decided through the democratic constitutional amendment process, rather than by the court orders of a few,' a White House statement said.
The Vatican also weighed in Tuesday, naming gay marriage as one of the factors threatening the traditional family as never before.
Senate Democrats, all of whom except Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska oppose the amendment, say the debate is a divisive political ploy.
'The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution,' said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose state legalized gay marriage in 2003. 'A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law.'
Gay Marriage Ban Headed for Certain Defeat
This vote is not about gay marriage. This vote is for republicans to try to energize their base of voters who do not support equal rights for gays and lesbians. This will bring them to the polls in November as well. This came up in 2004 right before the elections too. It's just Carl Rove pulling the strings again. And every time they dangle this little tidbit in front of a certain group of people, those people - like good little dogs - do exactly what is needed to keep this whole cycle of bull going.
Gay marriage is about equal rights. It's not about gays wanting more than straights, it's about an equal and fair treatment, which does not exist now for many people.