YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (BP)–Seeking the votes of conservative Democrats, President Bush on Wednesday asserted that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is out of step with his own party on the issues of partial-birth abortion and protecting traditional marriage.
“Never in our history has marriage been a partisan issue, and it’s not a partisan issue today,” Bush told supporters in Youngstown, Ohio. “Yet many Democrats look at my opponent and wonder, ‘Where is the commitment to defending the basic institution of civilization?’ He says he supports marriage, but he will do nothing to defend it.”
Bush supports a constitutional marriage amendment; Kerry opposes it. Both men say they oppose same-sex “marriage,” although Kerry has made an unprecedented effort this year to reach out to homosexual voters, even granting an interview to the homosexual magazine Advocate weeks before the election.
Bush noted that Kerry voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton and gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriage” laws. Bush said that two-thirds of Senate Democrats voted for it.
“On the issue of protecting marriage, the senator from Massachusetts is outside the mainstream of America and outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party,” Bush said.
“I believe that our society must show tolerance and respect for every individual, yet I do not believe this commitment to tolerance requires us to redefine marriage. If you are a Democrat who believes that marriage should be protected from activist judges, I’d be honored to have your vote.”
On the issue of abortion, the president also quoted Democrats such as former Pennsylvania Gov. William Casey and former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan — both of whom opposed partial-birth abortion. The procedure involves partially delivering a late-term baby feet-first before puncturing the skull and suctioning its brain, thus killing it while it is still in the birth canal.
Bush quoted Moynihan as saying partial-birth abortion is “as close to infanticide as anything I have come upon.”
“Many Democrats look at my opponent and see an attitude that is much more extreme,” Bush said. “He says that life begins at conception but denies that our caring society should prevent even partial-birth abortion. He voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion. I proudly signed the ban on partial-birth abortion.
“Preventing partial-birth abortion is an ethical conviction shared by many people of every faith and by people who have no religion at all. I understand good people disagree on the life issue, and I’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on the difficult questions and move this good-hearted nation toward a culture of life.”
Bush’s speech came the same week that, in an interview, he reiterated his belief that the issue of civil unions should be left to the states. He has made similar comments in the past, although this time his comments conflict with the newly drafted Republican platform.
“I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so,” he told ABC.
The constitutional marriage amendment that Bush supports would ban same-sex “marriage” and also prevent judges from legalizing civil unions. State legislatures, though, would be able to legalize civil unions, amendment supporters say.