Bush Denounces Gay Weddings
Mon. May 17, 2004 12:00 AM by 365gay.com
In a statement released as the President was observing the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights ruling in Brown V The Topeka Board of Education Bush accused Congress of foot dragging in passing a constitutional amendment limiting the rights of gays.
"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 president's statement said.
"The need for that amendment is still urgent, and I repeat that call today."
"The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges," Bush said referring to the justices of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts which struck down that state's ban on gay marriage.
Later, Bush praised the justices of the Supreme Court for their ruling in Brown which banned the concept of separate but equal in education. The case is considered the catalyst for all civil rights rulings which followed, and has been cited in numerous gay rights cases.
"This president needs a high-school civics lesson, fumed Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal.
"It's dishonest and irresponsible to attack a court for doing its job. The court's job is to make sure that everyone's constitutional rights are protected, and that's exactly what happened in Massachusetts.
"President Bush is putting himself in the company of segregationists who made the same attacks on judges who upheld the constitutional rights of African-American people exactly 50 years ago today, after Brown v. Board of Education. These are different issues and a different generation, but the same old smear tactic. It didn't work to circumvent our system of justice 50 years ago, and it won't work today," Cathcart said.
Bush comments also drew criticism from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
"The president's hypocrisy is appalling," NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman told 365Gay.com.
"When a 'few activist judges elected him pres he didn't complain, but when justices impose the rule of law in Massachusetts he wants to write discrimination into the Constitution."
Gay Democrats also assailed Bush for using the anniversary of an historic civil rights case to attack gays.
"Today the President denounced judicial activism in one statement while praising the same actions as judicial courage in another, said John Marble, Communications Director - National Stonewall Democrats.
"President Bush's speech today on Brown vs. Board of Education is a classic argument for civil recognition of same-sex marriage," said Marble.
"In denouncing separate and unequal institutions, President Bush praised the courage displayed by courts who 'ruled against prevailing opinion in order to expand the rights of all Americans'. Unfortunately, I think the irony of his remarks is lost on him."
by Paul Johnson
Washington Bureau Chief
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