I guess the right wingers are tired of having people tell them anti-gay laws are unconstitutional...
From ajc.com - dated 7/3/2003
- Bush cool to marriage amendment
By RON HUTCHESON -- Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON -- President Bush joined the growing debate over gay marriages Wednesday, saying he isn't sure if a constitutional ban on gay unions is "necessary yet," but adding that "marriage is between a man and woman."
He offered his view a week after the Supreme Court gave new urgency to the issue by striking state laws against sodomy. The ruling called into question other laws gay rights advocates consider discriminatory, including bans against same-sex marriages.
The issue -- the latest battle in the long-running culture war over gay rights -- seems certain to spill into the 2004 presidential election. Many social conservatives who form a key part of Bush's Republican Party support are increasingly intent on amending the Constitution to forbid gay marriage.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) joined them Sunday, saying in a TV interview he "absolutely" backs rewriting the Constitution to ban gay marriages.
The issue is starting to boil because change is accelerating. Vermont recognizes "civil unions" between gays. Opponents of gay marriage say they expect to lose a Massachusetts lawsuit that could overturn that state's ban on same-sex marriages. And Canada said last month it will rewrite laws to make gay marriages legal.
The proposed constitutional change would ban gay marriages by declaring: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."
It's a particularly sensitive issue for Bush, who has maintained close ties to Christian conservatives, who tend to oppose gay marriage, while reaching out to swing voters more accepting of alternative lifestyles.
"I don't know if it's necessary yet. Let's let the lawyers look at the full ramifications of the Supreme Court hearing," Bush told reporters when pressed. "What I do support is the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman."
Some advocates of a marriage ban said they see Bush as an ally despite his refusal to endorse their cause.
"This is called the politics of risk avoidance," said Matt Daniels, president of Alliance for Marriage, the group behind the push for a constitutional amendment. "I don't think the president's comments will disappoint anybody who understands how political leaders deal with issues like this."
Robert Knight of the conservative Culture and Family Institute said Bush missed a chance to take a clear stand against gay rights.
"He has not shown moral leadership against the onslaught of homosexual activism," Knight said. "Even some of the most pro-gay liberal Democrats toss off lines like this."