Bush Renews Support for the Federal Marriage Amendment

President Bush renewed his support of the federal marriage amendment to ban gay marriages following Massachusetts’ move to “marry” gay couples on Monday, May 17, 2004.

"The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges. All Americans have a right to be heard in this debate," Bush said in a written statement.

The White House press secretary Scott McClellan read the statement aboard Air Force One while traveling to Topeka Kansas.

"I called on the Congress to pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife," the statement continued.

According to McClellan, the White House had been "in close contact with members of Congress" in an attempt to get the measure moving,” although Bush had not directly put pressure on the Congress.

"The need for that amendment is still urgent, and I renew that call today,” said Bush in the statement.

Bush first called for a Federal Marriage Amendment on February, following San Francisco’s defiant and illegal issuance of gay “marriage” licenses. The Amendment is supported by nearly all leaders of evangelical church bodies, including the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Assemblies of God. While more mainline denominations and ecumenical groups have yet to support the amendment, several individual leaders have pressed for the protection of traditional marriage.

The Christian and pro-family leaders believe that such an amendment is needed to protect the traditional definition of marriage within the United States Constitution; the current law, known as the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex “marriage.” However, many experts believe that gay-“marriage” lobbyists may strike down the law at the federal court, by arguing that the DMA violates the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The Full Faith Clause states that the Federal government must provide "full faith and credit in public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" of every other state. Therefore, if the court equates same-sex “marriage” licenses with “public acts” and “records,” then the courts may rule against the amendment.

However, should the renewed Federal Marriage Amendment pass and ratify in both the House and Senate, same-sex “marriages” would be void, even in Massachusetts. In order to pass, the amendment must receive a two-thirds majority vote at the House and Senate and by ratified by three-quarters of the states.

Several Christian and pro-family groups began grassroots initiatives to support the amendment, and have scheduled rallies across the nation to protect traditional marriage.

Pauline J. Chang
Ecumenical Press