Senator Ted KennedyWASHINGTON, June 6, 2006 ( – The U.S. Senate will vote this week on the Marriage Protection Amendment, a bill which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was quoted today as saying, “A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple.”

Kennedy, who claims to be Catholic while opposing the Church on every major tenet of morality, was blasted by Catholic League president Bill Donohue.

“A vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment is a vote to maintain the traditional understanding of marriage as it has been accepted for thousands of years all over the world,” said Donohue.“To brand those who support this amendment as bigots is mud-slinging: it is analogous to those who would call foes of the amendment ‘gay lovers.’”

Donohue recalled that in 1996, President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which denies federal recognition to same-sex marriages and allows states the right to deny recognition of gay marriages that have been performed in other states.“Only 14 senators voted against this bill, and Senator Kennedy was one of them,” Donohue pointed out.“Thus, his proclaimed opposition to gay marriage is nothing but an empty gesture: he refuses to do anything that would protect the institution of marriage from legislative or judicial tinkering.”Â

Donohue also noted the public support for the measure.“In the last election, all 11 states that had same-sex marriage on the ballot voted against it, including states with a ‘progressive’ reputation like Oregon,” he said.“Moreover, more than 80 percent of the states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts.”

Donohue reminded Kennedy the “Catholic” that “the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is in favor of a constitutional amendment.” He also noted that “Black ministers, like Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, have rallied in favor of the amendment. Even in New York City, surveys show the people don’t want same-sex marriage.”ÂÂÂ

Concluding Donohue asked, “Are all these people bigots, Mr. Kennedy?” He answered theÂrhetorical question, saying: “Reasonable people may disagree whether a constitutional amendment is the right remedy, but only fanatics will call those who support it bigots.”