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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 11, 2005

Bush attacks gay marriage in his State of the Union

Washington, D.C.--President Bush restated his position in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in his State of the Union speech on
February 2.

Immediately after commenting about values Americans needed to pass on to their children and grandchildren in order to maintain a free society, Bush said, �So many in of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.�

�Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges,� said Bush. �For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.�

The statement matches most of the president�s remarks on the subject during the 2004 election, but conflicts with what he told the Washington Post during a January 16 interview.

Bush told the Post that he would not press the Senate for passage of the amendment.

That statement drew the ire of the religious right, who had used the issue to get Bush voters to the polls and now want him to return the favor.

Those groups warned the Republican Party that if they wanted support in 2006, they needed to push hard for the amendment�s passage.

The Federal Marriage Amendment failed to get a simple majority in the Senate last July, and did not get the required two-thirds of a House vote in September.

Now renamed the Marriage Protection Amendment, it was reintroduced January 24 by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colorado. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, who sponsored the measure last year, says she plans to reintroduce it in the House.

Anti-gay Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third highest Republican in the Senate, told Fox News on February 6, �I can tell you, I�m not going to break faith with social conservatives, and I know the president won�t either.�

The president made a second, more veiled reference to same-sex marriage and the future of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality while also talking about faith and a �culture of life,� which is a conservative Christian code phrase for anti-choice and anti-embryo research.

The president�s language was full of references used by anti-gays to rail against LGBT equality.

�Judges have a duty to faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench,� said Bush. �As president, I have a constitutional responsibility to nominate men and women who understand the role of courts in our democracy.�

Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Steven Fisher said Bush �chose the divisive path of supporting the narrow interests of extremist elements of his party over uniting the American people.�

�Bush said that the government should never undermine family values and family responsibilities,� Fisher noted, �but in the very next breath called for passage of a constitutional amendment that undermines LGBT families and denies them the same responsibilities of all others.�

Bush also used the speech, which traditionally serves to influence Congress, to call for reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act to be reauthorized. The measure provides for care of people with HIV and AIDS. Bush made no recognition or mention of gay men, who comprise nearly two thirds of the U.S. population with AIDS.

�Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease,� Bush said. �And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, [heterosexual] African American men and women.�

Later that week, Bush introduced his fiscal year 2006 budget which included a $10 million increase in the AIDS Drug Assistance Program which purchases drugs, and �flat-funding� or cuts in every other area.

In the area of HIV prevention, Bush wants to cut $4 million from the Centers for Disease Control which funds scientifically-based programs, and add $38 million for abstinence until marriage programs which do not include information about HIV transmission.

Bush also seeks to cut $14 million from housing programs for people with AIDS and $45 billion from Medicaid over ten years. Medicaid provides health care for 55 percent of adults and 90 percent of children living with AIDS.


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