Barbara Barrett, Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON – Both of North Carolina’s senators support the constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, both Republicans, said in interviews Tuesday that the amendment would protect families and keep courts from meddling with the nation’s traditions.
As the Senate debated the measure, few expected it to come up for a vote. Moderate Republicans and nearly all Democrats are opposed to the amendment.
But, Dole said, having the discussion is important.
"We need to be debating it and adding additional support," she said.
Freshman senators especially, she said, need to go on the record with their views.
This week’s debate is widely seen as a political move by Republicans to galvanize their conservative base ahead of the November midterm elections. Dole, as chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is in charge of keeping the body in GOP hands.
Asked about this week’s timing, she said anyone who supported the defense-of-marriage act two years ago should back it again this year.
"I would support a vote for it anytime," Dole said of the amendment. "It can take years of debate to pass major legislation."
Burr, one of those freshmen senators, said the amendment is important to maintain federal laws, such as some tax benefits, designed to help married couples. (more…)