Rove: Bush To Push Gay Marriage Amendment

Mon. November 8, 2004 12:00 AM by

Washington, D.C. - President Bush's senior political adviser said Sunday that an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage is high on the Presidents agenda for the first year of his new mandate.

But, Karl Rove, who delivered the evangelical vote to Bush and who orchestrated the use of gay marriage as a campaign tool for Republicans in the election, also seemed to hold out a small olive branch.

Rove said that Bush wants states to look at options for giving some limited recognition to same-sex couples.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Rove said that states should decide whether to give gay couples insurance benefits, inheritance and visitation rights in hospitals.

The option, however, would provide none of the federal benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, and civil unions could be nullified by the proposed federal amendment to the Constitution.

Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques said Sunday that the proposed amendment, as written would ban civil unions.

"President Bush should unite Americans, not try to enact a discriminatory constitutional amendment that goes beyond marriage to ban hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples," said Jacques.

Rove also said that Bush is determined that "activist judges" don't redefine marriage.

"Without the protection of that amendment, we are at the mercy of activist federal judges or activist state judges who could, without the involvement of the people, determine ... that marriage no longer consists of a union between a man and a woman," Rove told Fox News.

"Marriage is a very important part of our culture and our society. If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal. And the ideal is that marriage ought to be and should be a union of a man and a woman," he continued.

In his victory speech Bush called Rove "the architect" of his campaign. Admirers describe Rove as shrewd and ingenious, familiar with the political climate down to the county level, skilled at knowing where to find untapped Republican voters. Critics call him devious and willing to use smear tactics or distortion.

Rove's comments about states and same-sex benefits appear to mirror remarks made by Bush in the days leading up to the election.

Bush told ABC's Charles Gibson that he would support civil unions but remains opposed to gay marriage. (story)

"I view the definition of marriage difference from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights," he told ABC. "And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between, a union between a man and a woman," Bush said. "Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass … laws that enable people to you know, be able to have rights, like others."

The remarks angered many evangelicals, but, with Rove's backing could put Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress in a squeeze if they continue to block the federal amendment.

With the presidential election over, Rover is now looking at 2006 Congressional election.

by Paul Johnson Washington Bureau Chief
© 2004

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.