Friday, January 30, 2004

The White House and the Bush re-election campaign should put more emphasis on the president’s opposition to same-sex “marriage,” said some state Republican chairmen who met yesterday at the Republican National Committee (RNC).

“It’s clearly important to our base, along with the president’s tax cuts that helped the economy recover nationally,” said Virginia state Chairman Kate O. Griffin.

Some Republican leaders said the president’s call for a marriage amendment to the Constitution is a sure-fire way to invigorate the president’s voter base, which is also concerned about the growth of government under the Bush administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

“Campaigns about issues are good for Republicans, and big turnouts help Republicans,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on Thursday at the RNC annual winter meeting at the Capitol Hilton Hotel.

Republicans triumph when they talk about their ideas, because Democrats don’t have ideas that people like, and “Republicans win when we turn out our voters,” said Mr. Barbour, a former RNC chairman.

The current debate over same-sex “marriage” will hold voter attention, said Alabama GOP Chairman Marty Connors. The president’s opposition to same-sex “marriage” is “the kind of gut-check issue everybody gets,” he noted.

“It’s going to resonate not just in the South but around the country. And it’s not just a partisan issue,” he said, “but bedrock Democratic, union, Catholic voters who work in the barrios of New York get this one, and they will agree with us on it.”

“Let’s put it this way,” Mr. Connors continued. “I’m 47, a dad and a moderate Republican, and I never thought the day would come when the president of the United States had to define what a marriage is. As the president said, it’s supposed to be dad and mom, not dad and dad.”

In mid-December, Mr. Bush said, “If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment which would honor marriage between a man and a woman, codify that.”

He also said an amendment would be needed if judicial rulings continue to “undermine the sanctity of marriage.”

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