Sponsors Soften Federal Marriage Amendment

If supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment (search) to ban same-sex marriage have their way, marriage will still be a legally recognized union between a man and a woman. But it won't mean gay couples will be left completely out of luck.

Newly crafted language — apparently approved by President Bush himself — has removed impediments to civil unions (search) and domestic partnerships that might be approved by state legislatures.

The Senate sponsor of the measure said Tuesday the decision was made out of respect for state's rights.

"If you look at the amendment, it's very respective of the role of the state. That is, they can deal with the civil union or they can deal with domestic partners as they see fit," said Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.

But this attempt at compromise is not acceptable to many who believe that same-sex unions should be no different than traditional marriages. Rep. Barney Frank (search), an openly gay congressman from Massachusetts who testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution on Tuesday asked why it's so important to some to decide whether gay couples should be prohibited from marriage.

Others say demands by gay couples to marry are missing the point of the institution.

"The traditional institution of marriage is not about discrimination. It's about children. However, activists in the streets and on the bench insist that marriage is about discrimination," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Click here to watch a complete report by Fox News' Brian Wilson.