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Bush won’t compromise on same-sex ‘marriage,’ spokesman says

WASHINGTON (BP)–President Bush is taking a principled stand against same-sex “marriage,” a White House spokesman said July 31, noting also that the president will not compromise on the issue and is considering a constitutional amendment that would ban homosexuals from “marrying.”

Bush told reporters July 30 that he believes in the “sanctity” of traditional marriage and that government lawyers are studying “the best way” to protect the definition by law. During the White House press briefing July 31, reporters pressed White House spokesman Scott McClellan to defend Bush’s position.

“[T]his is a principled stand,” McClellan said. “This is a view he feels very strongly about. And the president will not compromise on that view. … Make no mistake about it, the president is strongly committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage and defending a sacred institution that he believes is between a man and woman.”

McClellan also was asked about the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would add language to the constitution banning same-sex “marriage.” It has more than 75 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

“Obviously that is something to look at in this context,” McClellan said. “But we need to see where these court cases come out.”

Massachusetts’ high court is expected to rule any day on a case in which homosexual couples are seeking the right to marry. Similar cases are pending in the lower courts of other states, including New Jersey.

“[W]e are monitoring those court cases to see what may be needed in that context,” McClellan said. “But until we see rulings on those court cases, it’s hard to say what the nature of that may be.”

The Federal Marriage Amendment has yet to be introduced in the Senate, although some senators seem ready to support it.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in The Washington Times Aug. 1 he thinks the solution “needs to be the constitutional amendment [because] I don’t think you can solve it statutorily.” Additionally, an aide to a Senate Republican leader predicted that the White House and congressional Republicans eventually would agree to push an amendment.

“Frankly, all the other options come up short,” the aide told The Times.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D.-S.D., told reporters July 31 that an existing law, the Defense of Marriage Act, is “abundantly clear” in defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman.

“No change is necessary,” he said.

The problem, social conservatives say, is that the Defense of Marriage Act does not prevent an individual state, such as Massachusetts, from implementing same-sex “marriage.” Conservatives also worry that DOMA could be overturned in the courts on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit. That clause, found under Article IV, stipulates, “full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State.”

In fact, Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, acknowledged in Newsweek magazine’s online edition July 8 that homosexual activists have plotted their legal strategy.

“We need a state court victory [allowing same-sex ‘marriage’] before we see any action on the federal level,” Cathcart said. “We will have to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act but we are not in a position to do that until [homosexuals] are [actually] married….”

If the White House briefing July 31 was any indication, the media aren’t cozy to Bush’s position.

One reporter asked McClellan: “[W]hy is it the role of the president to use the legal code to enforce what amounts to a religious interpretation, his religious interpretation of the sanctity of marriage and to say that that excludes the possibility of gay marriage?”

Another reporter asked him how Bush views himself as a compassionate conservative “when he’s against same-sex marriage [and] he doesn’t think that he should allow [marriage] for gays?”

McClellan said Bush respects those who disagree with him.

“I think the fact that we may disagree on certain issues doesn’t mean we can’t work together on areas where we agree,” McClellan said.

McClellan also was asked to expand on Bush’s views on homosexuality.

“[T]he president believes we’re all sinners,” McClellan said. “The president believes we are all the same in God’s eyes. And the president does not believe it’s his place to judge others. The president is not one to cast stones. The president believes we ought to treat everybody with dignity and respect.”

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  • Michael Foust