- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Some social conservatives are angry with President Bush for saying a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage” lacks the requisite votes for approval in the Senate.

Mr. Bush has acknowledged no such obstacle for his proposal to add personal investment accounts to the Social Security program, even though that plan also lacks support among some Republican lawmakers.

“Are the votes there for privatizing Social Security?” asked Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Mr. Perkins has joined with several other prominent social conservative leaders in warning the White House that if the president backs away from the marriage amendment, he will lose the support and trust of social conservatives on other issues, including Social Security reform.

Sadie Fields, president of the Georgia Christian Coalition, says Mr. Bush’s job is to bring along recalcitrant Republicans in the Senate for the marriage amendment that he strongly supported when running for re-election last year.

“For the president to say we don’t have the votes raises the question: ‘Don’t we have a majority of Republicans in the Senate?’” Mrs. Fields said. “That’s where presidential leadership comes in. That’s when you call your people together and tell them, ‘This is something I want,’ and you set about to make sure that happens.”

“Nothing is more threatening to the foundation of our country than the radical homosexual agenda and its assault on marriage and the family,” Mrs. Fields said.

But at least one social conservative organization took a different view, saying it is up to Republican leaders in Congress, not the president, to get the marriage amendment passed so it can move on to the states for possible ratification.

“I don’t think the fact [that he is] not taking the lead on the amendment means he no longer supports it,” said Concerned Women for America chief counsel Jan LaRue. “Putting all the pressure on the president gives cover to these reluctant senators. I think it’s wiser politically to put pressure on the senators who are dragging their feet.”

Mr. Perkins said he joined other social conservative leaders, including Paul Weyrich, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, all part of the Arlington Group coalition, in writing a letter, dated Jan. 18, to Bush senior political adviser Karl Rove.

The letter noted that opposition to same-sex “marriage” was a winning issue in the last election, while Social Security privatization deeply divides voters.

“We were making the point that the president’s broadest support on policy is on the issue of marriage, and if he moves away from that, he narrows his base of support,” Mr. Perkins said. “I would not say social conservatives are for or against partially privatizing Social Security. It’s just not what brought a lot of people to their feet during the campaign.”

Social conservatives cite other points of irritation with Mr. Bush besides the marriage amendment.

“Conservatives are angry about amnesty for illegal aliens, the president’s guest-worker program and the failure to close our borders,” Phyllis Schlafly said. “The president says he will use his political capital to get his guest-worker program passed, but not for the marriage amendment.”

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