- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2004

President Bush’s call yesterday for Congress to pass a federal marriage amendment was denounced as a “cheap” political ploy by homosexual rights activists, who pledged to work with their allies in Congress to defeat it.

“This is a desperate act by a desperate president. … Shame on him,” Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said at a press conference with several homosexual couples and their children.

The federal marriage amendment in Congress harms homosexual families and their children and “strikes at the heart” of civil union-style protections, she said. “Today, he takes a cheap shot at gay and lesbian Americans to jump-start his faltering campaign.”

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said, “The declaration by the president this morning is a declaration of war on gay and lesbian families.

“We are firmly determined to defeat this amendment,” which would “put graffiti on the American Constitution,” Mr. Guerriero said.

Other groups opposing the marriage amendment are the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Leaders of traditional-values groups, however, praised Mr. Bush for his “courageous” and “unambiguous” approach.

Mr. Bush “is speaking for the broad majority of the American people in saying that we need to protect our marriage laws from being destroyed in court,” said Matt Daniels, executive director of the Alliance for Marriage, the primary supporter of the federal marriage amendment in Congress.

“We are very pleased with the president and his unambiguous leadership this morning, coming out and making a clear and convincing case that this is the direction that Congress needs to go,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.

“It was very courageous for the president to step up,” said Gary Bauer, leader of American Values. “It took long enough, but the battle is now joined.”

Some traditional-values groups, however, think Mr. Bush has the right idea but the wrong amendment.

The federal marriage amendment in Congress is a “defective remedy,” said Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women for America, which has proposed an alternative marriage amendment that clarifies that marriage benefits cannot be given to unmarried persons.

Meanwhile, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said he will ask the state Supreme Court on Friday to decide whether San Francisco legally can issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples.

“The people of California who have enacted laws that recognize marriage only between a man and a woman and the same-sex couples who were provided marriage licenses in San Francisco deserve a speedy resolution to the question of the legality of these licenses and the authority of San Francisco officials to provide them,” said Mr. Lockyer, an elected Democrat.

Mr. Lockyer was told to make the move to halt “an imminent risk to civil order” by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Reporters fired questions at Mr. Schwarzenegger yesterday, but the Republican, in Washington for the annual meeting of the National Governors Association, ducked questions about his stance on homosexual “marriage.”

“I believe in equal rights. And that’s where I stay,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said.

Republican activists reacted to Mr. Lockyer’s “failure” to end San Francisco’s same-sex “marriage” sprees by launching a recall campaign for him.

“The attorney general is clearly abdicating his responsibility to uphold the laws of the state, and he should be recalled,” said Howard Kaloogian, who last year, with political consultant Ted Costa, helped organize the successful recall campaign of Gov. Gray Davis, also a Democrat.

Mr. Kaloogian currently is seeking to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat.

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