From an article in the New York Times, "Bush Looking for Means to Prevent Gay Marriage in U.S.":
President Bush said today that federal government lawyers are working on legislation that would define marriage as a union between a man and woman.Let's be clear about this, shall we?
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I believe we ought to codify that one way or the other, and we have lawyers looking at the best way to do that," Mr. Bush said at a news conference in the Rose Garden.
The president's comments, coming only a few weeks after the Supreme Court overturned a Texas law banning sodomy and holding, in effect, that whatever consenting adults do in private is their own business, seemed likely to reignite issues that have deep social and political implications.
Mr. Bush was responding to a question premised on the assumption that many of his political supporters believe "that homosexuality is immoral" and has been given too much cultural acceptance.
"As someone who's spoken out in strongly moral terms, what's your view on homosexuality?" a reporter asked the president.
"Yeah, I am mindful that we're all sinners," Mr. Bush replied. "And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own. I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.
"On the other hand," Mr. Bush continued, "that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on issues such as marriage. And that's really where the issue is headed here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that." ...
Mr. Bush's declaration that marriage is properly defined as a union between a man and a woman was not new in itself. His former spokesman, Ari Fleischer, reiterated that very point on July 1, when the White House declined to endorse the idea of a constitutional amendment that would effectively ban gay marriage.
But Mr. Fleischer declined at that time to say whether the president supported a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, as proposed by Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican majority leader.
Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who angered many gays earlier this year with his remarks linking homosexuality to polygamy and incest, wrote to constituents last year to express support for what has been dubbed the Federal Marriage Amendment by its backers.
Anti-gay Republicans are pursuing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage because a) court decisions on gay rights have gone against them (and may well continue to do so), b) they believe they may have enough political support to enact such an amendment, and c) they know their opponents can't muster a comparable level of political support. Were the tables turned -- were court decisions going their way but political support for them waning -- anti-gay Republicans would be crying "states' rights" and demanding that legislative bodies stay out of the fight.