Morning Report: July 14, 2004

Constitutional gay marriage ban likely to die. "The constitutional amendment we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans ... It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them." So said Senator John McCain (R - Arizona) of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. McCain's words illustrate why many Republicans oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. Further complicating matters is the wording of the proposed amendment's second clause, which states: "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." Some critics, including Andrew Sullivan and Oregon's Republican Senator Gordon Smith, charge that this could be interpreted to deny existing domestic-partner benefits to gay couples. In fact, the FMA seems unlikely to achieve even a simple majority in the Senate, much less the two-thirds vote it would need to clear this first hurdle (followed by a 2/3 majority in the House and ratification by 3/4 of state legislatures). All things considered, it seems unlikely that the FMA will pass. (CNN)

Bulgaria stands firm. According to latest reports, Bulgaria will stay on in Iraq despite the reported killing of one Bulgarian hostage and the threatened killing of another. (Channel News Asia)