The proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage may not make it past an initial procedural vote.
The measure, which goes to a procedural Senate vote on Wednesday (July 14), is not expected to get the 60 votes it needs to be passed, according to CNN.
After removing much of the conservative language from the document that would anger Democrats and GOP moderates, Senate Republicans submitted a new draft of the amendment on Tuesday.
The original draft, proposed by Republican Senator Wayne Allard (Colorado) read: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
The revised draft was submitted without the second sentence, according to CNN, as Republican moderates claimed its ambiguity could prevent states from allowing civil unions for gay couples.
Senate Democrats rejected the new draft, which means that the amendment needs to obtain 60 votes in Wednesday's procedural vote to end the debate on whether or not to vote on the amendment at all, and move directly to a vote on whether or not to pass the amendment.
For the amendment to be added to the Constitution, it must obtain approval from two-thirds of both the Senate and House and be ratified by at least 38 states.
The Republicans have allegedly been pushing for a speedy vote on the amendment in order to convince voters Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and running mate John Edwards' "no" votes are out of sync with the majority of Americans who they claim oppose same-sex marriage.
Democrats, on the other hand, feel that the Republican Party is simply illustrating its own divisiveness, given that even Republican senators cannot agree on whether to vote on the amendment. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said, "They cannot agree among themselves as to what form the amendment relating to gay marriage, or the marriage amendment, ought to take."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist disagreed, noting that given the magnitude of a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, he hopes there is indeed more than one vote.
Despite Democratic opposition to this amendment, aides to Kerry and Edwards have said that neither plan to go to the Capitol for the procedural vote, according to CNN, as they do not feel their two votes will change the result of the vote. Kerry and Edwards both oppose same-sex marriage but oppose the amendment as well, favoring instead individual states' rights to pass marriage laws.
Frist also alleged that the issue of passing this amendment would continue to surface, even if it is not passed this time around. Social conservatives have been pushing for this vote since same-sex marriages were legalized in Massachusetts in May (see "Same-Sex Couples Marry — Legally — For The First Time In U.S.") and are not likely to immediately back down.