- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dozens of homosexual parents who spent the night outside the White House on Friday will attend this morning’s Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, and they will be joined by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

The homosexual parents plan no overt protest at the children’s event — no chants, no signs. But they will be wearing rainbow-colored leis to push their message that homosexual parents are equally as capable as any of raising children.

“I don’t think this is a protest,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Pride Coalition. “Showing up, participating fully in an American tradition, showing Americans that we do exist. That in our minds isn’t a protest.”

The president’s “week-ahead” schedule showed only a speech on taxes in Sterling, Va., at 11:30 a.m., but late last night, the White House sent out a revised schedule showing that he and the first lady will attend the egg roll at 9:10 a.m. The annual event has been a Washington tradition since the mid-19th century that includes an appearance by the Easter Bunny and races in which children use spoons to push colored eggs through the grass.

The first lady’s office issued a statement late last week saying “Mrs. Bush wants to make sure all families are welcome to attend the Easter Egg Roll.”

Although the homosexual parents don’t plan a protest, some say they are playing politics.

“I think it’s inappropriate to use a children’s event to make a political statement,” said Mark D. Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

But Miss Chrisler says that is not the case.

“The message is that gay and lesbian families are everywhere in this country,” she said. “We care about the same things that all parents care about: providing our children with every opportunity and every experience possible.”

The annual event has been the source of controversy before. In 1953, Mamie Eisenhower asked why black children were looking through the gates at the white children rolling eggs inside, and the next year, she insisted that blacks be included.

Mr. Bush has been criticized by homosexual groups during his time on office, especially in 2004, when he threw his support behind a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.” Last year, Mr. Bush again angered homosexuals when he said that although “children can receive love from gay couples,” he still thinks that “studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman.”

The president and first lady returned to the White House yesterday after a three-day weekend at Camp David. Along with the first lady’s mother, Jenna Welch, the weekend gathering includes the president’s parents, former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara; his sister, Doro Koch, and her husband, Bobby; and his brother, Marvin, and his wife, Margaret.

Yesterday, the clan sat down to an early midday meal of two kinds of ham, spinach salad, macaroni and cheese, asparagus, deviled eggs, fresh fruit and biscuits. For dessert, they were choosing between double coconut layer cake and lemon curd trifle with fresh berries.

• This article was based in part on wire-service reports.

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