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Wednesday, February 24, 2010
From The Charleston Gazette: CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Democrats in the House of Delegates on Tuesday swiftly shot down Republican attempts to advance a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
GOP delegates unsuccessfully tried to force a floor vote on a bipartisan resolution (HJR5) called the "Marriage Protection Amendment." The proposal calls for a statewide referendum on whether to amend West Virginia's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
This week, Republicans launched a push to make the House vote on measures they say Democrats have allowed to die in the legislative process. They want to do that by "discharging" bills from committees, bringing them directly to the floor for a vote.
Except for Delegate Tom Louisos, D-Fayette, the House's Democratic majority on Tuesday voted to postpone consideration of the Republican motion to discharge the marriage amendment.
Later, the committee that controls the flow of bills decided to keep that motion off the House's agenda.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said the discharge attempts are about open debate on issues he says constituents want the Legislature to take up.
"Once again, through a procedural motion, [debate] has been blocked," Armstead said after the House postponed his motion Tuesday.
In the coming days, Republican delegates plan to try to force floor votes on more bills, including one to require drug-testing of welfare recipients, Armstead said.
Republicans are off to a rocky start with the plan. On Monday, Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, unsuccessfully tried to discharge a measure that would increase tax breaks for elderly and disabled people.
Republicans also tried to force a vote on the marriage amendment last year, but Democrats blocked the move.