Gay marriage became a major issue in the 2004 presidential election. Both George W. Bush and his opponent John F. Kerry used gay marriage issues as part of their election campaigns, with Bush supporting a ban on same-sex marriage on a federal level through a piece of legislation called the Federal Marriage Amendment. This amendment would have voided marriages recognized in Massachusetts.
On May 18, 2006, the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to support the gay marriage amendment. It was debated in the United States Senate and ultimately defeated.