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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 3, 2006

Bush equates gay marriage, crooked pols in State of
the Union speech

But the president didn�t repeat last year�s
direct call for a marriage ban

Washington, D.C.--President George W. Bush equated same sex marriage with unethical politicians and promised to appoint judges who will presumably stop both during his State of the Union speech on January 31.

After saying that support for abstinence and adoption has �made a difference in the character of our country,� Bush continued, �Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture and the health of our most basic institutions.�

�They�re concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage,� Bush said.

That comment drew the ire of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates who claim the president �felt the need to throw his base an unnecessary and divisive crumb.�

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese continued in his criticism, �Trying to draw comparisons between the reprehensible acts of unethical politicians and fair and independent judges is both ridiculous and wrong.�

�President Bush attempted to mislead congress with his false assessment of the priorities facing our country,� said National Stonewall Democrats director Eric Stern.

�President Bush again argued that marriage recognition for same-sex families was an obstacle to the parenting skills of American families,� said Stern.

Bush also mentioned HIV and AIDS in the speech, but not in reference to gay men.

Bush talked about aid to villages in developing nations, especially for young girls.

He also asked Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act, because �More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans.�

�We will also lead a nationwide effort working closely with African American churches and faith-based groups to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions . . .� said Bush.

�It�s a positive sign that the president acknowledged the crisis,� said Solmonese. �However, we continue to be troubled by this administration�s policies that continually leave our nation�s health programs under-funded and allow ideology, and not science, to determine HIV and AIDS policy.�

During the speech, Bush also outlined plans to cut taxes and provide health care alternatives to people currently not covered by health insurance.

�Our community is being taxed at a much higher rate than our neighbors,� said Solmonese in reference to taxes paid on domestic partner benefits and of same-sex couples� inability to file taxes as a married couple.

�If the president is truly interested in cutting taxes and providing health care coverage for working families, then he would support an end to this tax inequity,� said Solmonese.

A bill to end taxation of domestic partner benefits is currently pending in the Senate. New York Democrat Charles Schumer and Oregon Republican Gordon Smith are the lead sponsors.

Called the Domestic Partners Health Benefits Equity Act, the bill has gotten little attention by Senate Republicans or the president.

Anti-gay activists applauded Bush�s speech.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said, �I am encouraged by the progress the president has made in appointing judges who are servants of the law and who refuse to legislate from the bench.�

Perkins added that marriage is a concern that cannot be left to the prerogative of the courts.

However, Perkins criticized Bush for stopping short of calling for passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, as he did in 2005�s State of the Union.

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