A divisive issue has returned to the spotlight in the US. Today the Senate votes on a proposed amendment to the consitution which would ban same sex marriage.Opponents accuse the Bush administration of using the measure to shore up support among American conservatives ahead of congressional elections in November. But the president is pressing the issue all the same. “Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilisation and it should not be redefined by activist judges,” Bush told supporters in Washington earlier this week. “You are here because you strongly support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman and I am proud to stand with you.” On the Senate floor, critics say the government has more pressing issues to deal with, such as the war in Iraq. Even supporters of the amendment admit it is unlikely to win the two thirds majority required in the Senate before going to the House of Representatives.