Log Cabin Republicans Condemn President Bush's Renewed Call for Discriminatory Amendment

Dividing America is a Dangerous Election Year Political Strategy

July 12, 2004 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – A day after the United States Senate began debate on the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), President Bush took to the airwaves on Saturday to renew his call for this discriminatory Amendment. "Polls show the vast majority of Americans don't believe this issue should be politicized as part of this election. Dividing America is a dangerous election year political strategy. President Bush should remember that you win elections by addition not subtraction," said Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron.

Missing from the President's remarks was an honest admission that the FMA is not about protecting the sanctity of marriage. This proposed amendment is about discriminating against part of the American family for political reasons. The FMA seeks to outlaw not only same-sex civil marriages, but also civil unions and possibly even domestic partner benefits. Contrary to what some of the amendment backers are saying, the language is clear in the amendment.

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.
The language makes it clear that civil unions created through the Constitutional process, such as those proposed in Massachusetts, as an alternative to civil marriage, will not be permitted. Additionally, other civil union legislation and even domestic partner benefits may be threatened. "The amendment's drafters do not support civil unions and are not going to support any legislation that does. It is a classic Trojan horse," said Patrick Guerriero, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans.

The President has previously stated that he believes, contrary to overwhelming expert legal authority, that this amendment would allow states to make other arrangements short of civil marriage. The President, however, has never once elaborated on what such arrangements he might support, or even what arrangements would be Constitutional under this Amendment.

"We know what President Bush is against, but what is he for? Does he support federal civil unions? Does he support Federal Hate Crimes? Does he support tax fairness for gay and lesbian families? Does he believe companies should be able to fire people because of their sexual orientation," asked Guerriero.

The Senate debate on the anti-family Constitutional amendment began just one day after the announcement of new homeland security concerns. "Instead of calling on our Senate to fully defend our homeland from the threat of another terrorist attack, our President instead has urged our elected representatives to play politics with the Constitutional process," said Guerriero.

In his radio address on Saturday, President Bush called on the House and Senate to pass the anti-family amendment based on the hypothetical fears of what some court in some future case may or may not rule. Contrary to overwhelming expert legal opinion offered in both the House and Senate hearings, the President claimed "an activist court that strikes down traditional marriage would have little problem striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Overreaching judges could declare that all marriages recognized in Massachusetts or San Francisco be recognized as marriages everywhere else" (Full text of address included below).

"Playing on unfounded fears is a hallmark of the radical right's effort to plunge this nation into a culture war. President Bush's comments reinforce a growing sense that he is allowing his agenda to be set by the far right," continued Guerriero. "His rhetoric around this issue is alienating the fair-minded swing voters who will decide this election."

"The President should have taken to the airwaves to urge our Senate to return to the work of the people. Every minute spent debating this amendment in the Senate comes at the expense of other legislative priorities. Log Cabin urges the President to listen to the concerns of average Americans all across this great country, and provide leadership on issues that average Americans care about," said Guerriero.

The President's support for this amendment has led to dozens of proposed anti-gay laws and state constitutional amendments around the nation, some of which have already been enacted into law. Even after the Senate rejects the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment on Wednesday, gay and lesbian families will be hurt by these state laws and amendments. "The damage these discriminatory laws and amendments will cause gay and lesbian families in America will be felt for generations," concluded Barron.

Log Cabin Republicans have been leading a coordinated effort to defend the Constitution. This campaign includes a television advertisement, prints ads, the most intense lobbying effort in its history, and the grassroots mobilization of Log Cabin members across America.


White House
Office of the Press Secretary
July 10, 2004
President's Radio Address

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. The United States Senate this past week began an important discussion about the meaning of marriage. Senators are considering a constitutional amendment to protect the most fundamental institution of civilization, and to prevent it from being fundamentally redefined.

This difficult debate was forced upon our country by a few activist judges and local officials, who have taken it on themselves to change the meaning of marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the state's highest court have ordered the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. In San Francisco, city officials issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. Lawsuits in several states, including New Jersey, Florida, Nebraska, and Oregon, are also attempting to overturn the traditional definition of marriage by court order.

In 1996, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Defense of Marriage Act, and President Clinton signed it into law. That legislation defines marriage, for purposes of federal law, as a union between a man and a woman, and declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of marriage. Yet an activist court that strikes down traditional marriage would have little problem striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Overreaching judges could declare that all marriages recognized in Massachusetts or San Francisco be recognized as marriages everywhere else.

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. A constitutional amendment should never be undertaken lightly – yet to defend marriage, our nation has no other choice.

A great deal is at stake in this matter. The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, and the law can teach respect or disrespect for that institution. If our laws teach that marriage is the sacred commitment of a man and a woman, the basis of an orderly society, and the defining promise of a life, that strengthens the institution of marriage. If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract, and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost, and the institution is weakened. The Massachusetts court, for example, has called marriage "an evolving paradigm." That sends a message to the next generation that marriage has no enduring meaning, and that ages of moral teaching and human experience have nothing to teach us about this institution.

For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that traditional marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, traditional marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of traditional marriage will undermine the family structure.

On an issue of this great significance, opinions are strong and emotions run deep. All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another. All people deserve to have their voices heard. And that is exactly the purpose behind the constitutional amendment process. American democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of marriage in America.

The process has now begun in the Congress. I urge members of the House and Senate to pass, and send to the states for ratification, an amendment that defines marriage in the United States as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.

Thank you for listening.