November 14, 2003,
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appears in the Nov. 24, 2003, issue of National Review.
Sandy Rios, the president of Concerned Women for America, was pounding the table. She was at an October 1 meeting of social-conservative activists and the leading Republicans in the House and Senate. Some Republicans were worried about the activists' project: amending the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage and, possibly, civil unions as well. Rios said that social-conservative groups were energized as never before. "The grassroots will get motivated and members will have to vote for it," she said. "We will take out squishy Republicans."
Now that's confidence. Passing a constitutional amendment is difficult in the best of circumstances. Supporters of a Federal Marriage Amendment will have to get two-thirds of the House, two-thirds of the Senate, and three-quarters of the state legislatures to vote for it. If all the Republicans in Congress vote for the amendment, it will still need the support of 16 Senate Democrats and 61 House Democrats. That's a tall order. Especially when you consider that, until recently, social conservatives had not even been able to get two-thirds of their own organizations on the same page.
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