he U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to block a bid to amend the Constitution to essentially ban same-sex marriage.
The Senate vote was 49-48, 11 short of the 60 votes needed to end debate and to send the proposed amendment for a full Senate vote.
Republicans pushed the plan even though supporters conceded the measure did not have enough votes to pass, and opponents called it an election-year ploy.
"This is not about the preservation of marriage. This is about the preservation of a majority," Democratic Senator Richard Durbin said as debate started Wednesday.
The real motive behind the debate was to energize conservative voters in the congressional elections in November this year, and despite the defeat on Wednesday, Republicans planned to keep the same-sex marriage issue in the spotlight in the election year, news reports said.
To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be approved by at least two-thirds of the House and the Senate, and then ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.