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Bush to endorse marriage amendment, leaders say

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–President Bush supports a constitutional marriage amendment and it is only a matter of time — perhaps only a few days — before he says so publicly, congressmen and pro-family leaders say.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Feb. 6 quoted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as saying that Bush had told him that he supported a marriage amendment. Bush reportedly made his remarks to Republican members of Congress during a retreat in Philadelphia Jan. 31.

Cornyn said he asked Bush if he supported the amendment. “He said he does,” Cornyn told the newspaper. “He was crystal clear to Republican legislators last Saturday in Philadelphia.”

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he was told the same thing by Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., Feb. 5.

“Sen. Frist confirmed that for me at the [National] Prayer Breakfast,” Land told Baptist Press. “[Bush has] endorsed an amendment and he’s endorsed the Musgrave language.”

Musgrave is Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., who has sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment in the House, where it has 109 sponsors. It has six sponsors in the Senate.

Bush could make a public announcement Feb. 8, when he is the guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Tim Russert.”

White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The Boston Globe that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if same-sex “marriage” is discussed on the show. Duffy added, “[But] I don’t know what they’re going to be discussing.”

The news about Bush’s support began breaking Feb. 4 when conservatives said they had been given assurances the White House was supportive of an amendment. Focus on the Family’s James Dobson told his radio audience that Bush is “now prepared to throw the weight of his presidency behind the Federal Marriage Amendment.”

The ruling by the Massachusetts high court Feb. 4 may have been the catalyst. In a 4-3 vote the court ruled that Vermont-type civil unions were not an option and that same-sex “marriage” had to be legalized.

“We were given assurances this week that it’s no longer ‘if,'” Kelly Shackelford, president of the Texas-based Free Market Foundation, told the Star-Telegram. “We were given direct confirmation. This came from the very top at the White House.”

Although Bush won’t play a direct role in the passage of an amendment, his use of the bully pulpit is considered to be critical. The amendment would have to pass two-thirds of both the House and Senate and then three-fourths of the states.

Every Democrat seeking the presidential nomination opposes the amendment.

For information on the battle over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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  • Michael Foust