On Wednesday, President Barack Obama told ABC News he supports same-sex marriages, but where does Congress currently stand on a constitutional amendment to ban such marriages nationally?
Obama’s move and recent statements by Mitt Romney officially make the same-sex marriage issue a hot-button issue in the upcoming November election.
Romney told two TV stations in Denver on Wednesday that he opposes same-sex marriages or any civil unions that result in the same type of legal rights for same-sex couples.
In Congress, the Federal Marriage Amendment has been dormant since 2006, when it didn’t receive enough support to move forward in the House.
The proposed amendment reads as follows:
"SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
In the past, Romney has said he supports the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and he signed a pledge to do so last year. However, Romney has also said in the past he is in favor of gay rights.
And he told a Fox affiliate on Wednesday in Denver that he was in favor of other rights, just not marriage.
“Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” Romney told KDVR-TV. “My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”
The requirements for any amendment to make it out of Congress and to the 50 states for a vote are onerous.
The measure would require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, and then the approval of 38 states within seven years.
Scott Bomboy is the editor-in-chief of Constitution Daily.