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Bush uses
election year to push constitutional marriage ban

Bush uses
election year to push constitutional marriage ban

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President Bush on Monday reiterated his support for a proposed federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage forever, despite the measure's certain defeat in the U.S. Senate.

In what many are describing as election-year politics of the worst sort, President Bush on Monday reiterated his support for a proposed federal constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage forever, despite the measure's certain defeat in the U.S. Senate this week. "I call on the Congress to pass this amendment, send it to the states for ratification, so we can take this issue out of the hands of overreaching judges and put it back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people," Bush said at the White House. "When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution: the only law a court cannot overturn," he said.

The press conference, attended by a crowd of antigay activists who applauded every statement Bush made against same-sex marriage, was quickly denounced by supporters of equal rights for gays, who labeled it a mean-spirited political ploy. "President Bush's press conference perfectly symbolized the desperation of his administration," said Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way. "In the face of record disapproval ratings, he is putting the demands of his radical right supporters above the integrity of the U.S. Constitution and the well-being of millions of American families. Instead of offering solutions to the real problems facing our country, President Bush is pandering to extremists with a divisive and damaging constitutional amendment that demands discrimination against one group of Americans. Rather than addressing real threats to families, he is trying to give political smear experts ammunition for more election-year ugliness."

"Why doesn't President Bush believe that my daughter should have the same rights as his daughters?" asked Samuel Thoron, president of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "Simply because my daughter is a lesbian, the president sees fit to forever deny her full equality and use her--and the millions of other gays and lesbians in the U.S.--as a reason to write discrimination into the Constitution."

According to the Associated Press, many Republicans support the measure because they say traditional marriage strengthens society; others don't but concede the reality of election-year politics. "Marriage between one man and one woman does a better job protecting children than any other institution humankind has devised," said Senate majority leader Bill Frist. "As such, marriage as an institution should be protected, not redefined."

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter said he will vote against the amendment on the floor, even though he allowed it to survive his panel, in part to give the GOP the debate that party leaders believe will pay off on Election Day.

All but one of the Senate Democrats--Ben Nelson of Nebraska--oppose the same-sex marriage measure and, with moderate Republicans, are expected to block an up-or-down vote this week, killing the measure for the year. "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple," said Democratic senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, where marriage for gay and lesbian couples became legal in 2004. (The Advocate)

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