03.30.2009 2:23pm EDT
(Charleston, West Virginia) A bid to advance an amendment to West Virginia’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage has failed.
Republicans and social conservatives had pushed the amendment, but it languished in a House committee.
Monday, Republican delegates attempted to drive the bill directly to the floor for a vote. The bid failed 67-30 along party lines.
Amending the West Virginia constitution requires approval of the legislature and a vote by the electorate.
Earlier this month, the conservative Family Policy Council began a telemarketing campaign accusing two lawmakers – Delegates Carrie Webster and Barbara Fleischauer – of blocking a vote on the measure.
Webster and Fleischauer called the move “intimidation.” The bill was tied up in the House Committee on Constitutional Revision, which Fleischauer heads. If approved there, it would have gone to the House Judiciary committee headed by Webster..
Last year, the Family Policy Council unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Gov. Joe Manchin to recall the legislature to pass the proposed amendment. The measure was added to the legislature’s agenda this session.
West Virginia has had marriage law since 2000. But amendment supporters say it doesn’t go far enough and could be challenged in court.