President Bush pushes for gay marriage ban

Monday, June 5, 2006 File:Marriage usa.png

Definition of Marriage by US State Based
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US President George W. Bush is pushing for a national ban on gay marriage, as the US Senate opened a debate on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. "Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family," said Bush, who raised the issue at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

"The Defense of Marriage Act declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of marriage. If that act is overturned by the courts, then marriage recognized in one city or state may have to be recognized as marriages everywhere else," said the President.

Bush criticized judges who overturned state laws. State legislatures "are being thwarted by activist judges who are overturning the expressed will of their people... Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges," he said. The "cornerstone of a healthy society" is traditional marriage, Bush declared, and the issue should be returned — "back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people."

At the White House, Bush told supporters of the amendment that he's "proud to stand" with them. His comments come as the U.S. Senate starts three days of debate on the measure. All Senate Democrats, except Ben Nelson of Nebraska, oppose the ban.

Whilst many in the Senate do support Bush's amendments, in the final throes of an election cycle, few are prepared to support the bill. "A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple," said Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in 2003.

"Marriage between one man and one woman does a better job protecting children better 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 Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who says he believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman, said he nonetheless would vote against the amendment on a test vote Wednesday.

"The reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another," Reid said in remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor. "This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day."