``Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society,'' Bush said in his Saturday radio address. ``Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society.''
Democrats say Senate floor time is being wasted on the issue, and accuse Republicans of making a pre-midterm election appeal to social conservatives whose votes were key to Bush's re-election.
This November, initiatives banning same-sex marriages are expected to be on the ballot in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
``Sadly, President Bush is playing election-year politics with this divisive issue,'' the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Friday. ``He is shamelessly using this ploy to energize his right-wing base. We should never rewrite the Constitution to enshrine intolerance.''
The White House said Bush did not devote his radio address to the issue or decide to host a presidential event Monday to again endorse the amendment because it is politically expedient, but because there's a vote on it scheduled next week in the Senate.
``On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations and religious leaders,'' Bush said in urging Congress to pass the amendment and send it to the states for ratification. ``They're Republicans, Democrats and independents who've come together to support this amendment.''
The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, the proposal would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then would have to be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.
Bush said the amendment would fully protect marriage from being redefined, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.
It stands little chance of passing the 100-member Senate, where proponents are struggling to get even 50 votes. Several Republicans oppose the measure, and so far only one Democrat - Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska - has said he will vote for it.
Acknowledging that emotions often run hot in this debate, Bush urged calm.
``As this debate goes forward, we must remember that every American deserves to be treated with tolerance, respect and dignity,'' he said. ``All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another, and all people deserve to have their voices heard.''
David Buckel, Marriage Project director of Lambda Legal, a national organization working to protect the rights of lesbians, gay men and others, said the amendment would be damaging to the lives of same-sex couples and families, which raise millions of children.
``It would brand lesbian and gay men as legally inferior individuals,'' he said. ``It would write into the supreme law of the land that this group of people are inferior and when it's the law, it's a message to everyone else in society that they have license to discriminate.''
In his radio address, Bush struck back at judges who have overturned state laws similar in intent to the proposed legislation.
``Unfortunately, activist judges and some local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage in recent years,'' the president said.
Bush said there is broad consensus in America to protect the institution of marriage.
Voters in 19 states have approved amendments to their state constitutions that protect the traditional definition of marriage, he said. Moreover, he said, 45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
All Americans should be treated with TOLERANCE. Well, banning same-sex marriage isn't exactly tolerating people in our society. More like smashing them into the dirt because you think they're shit that's beneath you. What's wrong with same-sex marriage? Okay, maybe you're against it.
Maybe it bothers you. But, that's your problem.
Maybe marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman. Definitions change. The constitution defines the USA. That changed.
Maybe it's against your religion. So? Not everyone follows your religion.
The United States is about being free, not discriminating against others because of their beliefs. That's why people came here in the first place. If it keeps digging itself deeper into the hole that it's in, the lack of the aforementioned is going to be the reason people leave it, as well.
George W. Bush pisses me off.