The Marriage Amendment Fails… For Now

Deal W. Hudson

As you probably already heard, an initial cloture vote – to end debate on the bill and send the amendment to a final up-or-down vote – was held on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the motion failed by a 48-50 margin.

It’s a serious setback to the FMA’s progress, to be sure, but not a death blow. We’ll just have to keep plugging away and redouble our efforts to support the bill in the future.

And as far as support for the bill goes, I want to commend the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). I had my doubts, but they did prove their commitment to this issue in these crucial past weeks. USCCB president Bishop Wilton Gregory published a personal letter to his fellow bishops, urging them to support the amendment and encourage their senators to do likewise, and the USCCB itself issued a statement declaring their support of the FMA. Furthermore, USCCB general secretary Monsignor William Fay and the Office of Government Liaison’s director Frank Monahan did their part by attending the press conference of Matt Daniels, the president of the Alliance for Marriage and sponsor of the FMA, showing that the USCCB is willing to give visible support to the amendment along with its written support.

While it didn’t end up changing anything, we can’t blame the bishops’ conference. After all, who is it who votes emphatically pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage Catholic politicians into office if not the Catholic voting public? Until we stop sending these men and women to Congress, we can’t complain when they don’t vote in line with Church teaching. And we certainly can’t expect the bishops to come in and single-handedly clean up our mess.

Look, I criticize the bishops conference when it fails to fully uphold the faith. But we also have to be fair. The fact is, they did their part for the FMA, and we need to acknowledge that.

And now for the voter breakdown.

Last time I told you that there were 14 Catholic senators against the FMA, 5 in favor, and 5 undecideds. Fortunately, four of those undecided Catholic senators did the right thing in the end and voted “yes” to the cloture vote on the amendment. Only John Sununu, a Republican from New Hampshire, went the other way and voted “no.” That’s a big disappointment.

(By the way, the most famous Catholic of the bunch, John Kerry, didn’t vote. Big surprise.)

Some of the names on the opposition list are not surprising – Ted Kennedy, Barbara Mikulski, and Tom Daschle, to name a few of the usual suspects. A couple of the names, though, are kind of funny. Dick Durbin of Illinois, for example, who created the infamous Catholic senator “scorecard” that ranked him the second most Catholic senator on the Hill. Who would have guessed that the most Catholic senators in Washington are all ignoring the bishops conference and casting votes in favor of gay marriage?

Anyway, here are the rest of the senators who voted against cloture:

Joseph Biden (D-DE)
John Breaux (D-LA)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
John Reed (D-RI)

As you can see, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and much will depend on our individual efforts.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: