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Gay marriage amendment rejected in US

The US Senate on Wednesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 21:45 IST

The US Senate on Wednesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, dealing a defeat to President George W Bush and Republicans who hoped to use the measure to energise conservative voters on Election Day.

Supporters had predicted they would gain votes this year over the last time the issue came up in 2004, but actually lost one vote for the amendment in a procedural test tally.

Today's 49-48 vote fell 11 short of the 60 required to send the matter for an up-or-down tally. The 2004 vote was 50-48.

A majority of Americans define marriage as a union of a man and a woman, as the proposed amendment does, according to a poll out this week by ABC News.

But an equal majority opposes amending the Constitution on this issue, the poll found.

"Most Americans are not yet convinced that their elected representatives or the judiciary are likely to expand decisively the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples," said Republican Sen.

John McCain, a possible presidential candidate in 2008. He told the Senate on Tuesday he does not support the amendment.

The tally today put the ban 18 votes short of the 67 needed for the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote.

But the defeat is by no means the amendment's last stand, said its supporters.