Md. Rep. Harris co-sponsors amendment to ban same-sex marriage

In a friendly reminder (like you really needed it) that last week's Supreme Court decisions are far from the end of the marriage equality debate, 29 Congressional Republicans have come out in favor of a bill proposing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the United States.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill is Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican in Maryland's congressional delegation.

The bill, known as the Marriage Protection Amendment, asks for the words "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman" to be added to the Constitution and would prevent state constitutions to require marriage to be "conferred upon" same-sex couples.

Harris' co-sponsorship of the proposed amendment may come as a surprise, given that a majority of Maryland voters approved legalizing same-sex marriage in a 2012 ballot measure. Plus, after the Supreme Court reversed the Defense of Marriage Act, Harris said he was glad the court upheld individual states' rights to define marriage - though he voiced his displeasure with the court's decision to overrule Congress.

Yet even though a majority of Maryland voters approved legalizing same-sex marriage in a 2012 ballot measure, Harris' district (which covers the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Harford and Carroll counties) actually voted against the ballot measure. It's those constituents who Harris represents in Congress, which puts his co-sponsorship of the Marriage Amendment in perspective.

For Harris' bill to become the 28th amendment, two-thirds of both the House and Senate would need to approve it -- and then all but 12 states would need to ratify it. Currently, 13 states have legalized same-sex marriage.

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