Bennett Tries to Block DC Same-Sex Marriage through Health Care Bill

Sen. Bob Bennett is trying to thwart Washington, D.C.’s new same-sex marriage law even after dozens of couples have been issued marriage licenses.

He is using the Senate debate over changes to the Health Care Reform Act signed into law Tuesday by President Obama, according to the New York Times.

Bennett introduced an amendment that would suspend the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the issue could be put before voters.

Earlier this month, he sought to attach a similar amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. But that amendment was ruled out of order.

Bennett’s latest attempt to force a referendum on the city’s same-sex marriage law, which went into effect March. 3, has the support of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch as well as Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas),  James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Senate Democrats are trying to keep all Republican amendments off the reconciliation bill and are expected to kill Bennett’s amendment.

Still, Bennett’s determination to force a public vote on same-sex marriage in the District has caught the attention of District leaders.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District’s non-voting representative in the House of Representatives, has stated she will have to remain on “daily vigil” to guard against congressional intervention over the issue.

“No sooner had we finished celebrating our new marriage equality law than the Bennett amendment became the first of counter attacks I expect all session,” Norton said in a statement. “But I abide no pessimism about turning them back. I will continue to work with our friends in the Senate, where the attacks are likely to come most frequently.”

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