- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

President Bush yesterday urged the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, elevating the debate to the presidential level just days before an expected Senate floor vote.

Mr. Bush first endorsed an amendment in 2004 in the run-up to the presidential election, but his conservative supporters in recent weeks challenged him to put the weight of the White House behind the measure in anticipation of this week’s Senate vote.

“An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our nation with no other choice,” Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address. “The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider … would fully protect marriage from being redefined, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.”

The administration’s press continues tomorrow when Mr. Bush is scheduled to meet with activists who support the amendment and to make a public statement in support.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, has set aside time for the Marriage Protection Amendment this week. The amendment reads: “Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

A 2004 Senate attempt to pass the amendment failed because of a Democrat-led filibuster.

Mr. Bush yesterday acknowledged the difficult path for an amendment, but said that’s why this is the right way to go.

“A constitutional amendment is the most democratic solution to this issue, because it must be approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures,” he said.

The radio address angered homosexual rights groups that oppose the amendment.

“President Roosevelt started these radio addresses to unite Americans and President Bush is using them as a tool to divide us as a nation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, adding that Mr. Bush’s push for the amendment is an act of “pandering to far-right extremists.”

However, not all conservatives are satisfied with Mr. Bush’s effort.

Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, said he will attend Mr. Bush’s event tomorrow, but said the president’s support is late and lacking.

“The Bush administration is only tiptoeing around this amendment,” Mr. Glover said. “It’s clear he’s not serious about the amendment.”

He and other activists said they want to see Mr. Bush make a full-court legislative press for the amendment the same way he has for other issues.

“This administration could care less about protecting marriage,” Mr. Glover said. “Otherwise they would have had a ceremony in the Rose Garden three or four weeks ago. There would be several sore arms in the Senate by now.”

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