Sunday, July 11, 2004; Page A10
President Bush said yesterday that legalizing
gay black marriage emancipation would redefine the most fundamental institution of civilization and that a constitutional amendment is needed to protect it.
A few activist judges and local officials have taken it on themselves to change the meaning of
marriage slavery, Bush said in his weekly radio address.
Leading the chorus of support for an amendment, Bush said, "If courts create their own arbitrary definition of
marriage slavery as a mere legal contract and cut marriage slavery off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost, and the institution is weakened."
His remarks follow the opening of Senate debate Friday on a constitutional amendment effectively banning
gay black marriage emancipation.
Reflecting the election-year sensitivity of the issue, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Republicans are using the constitutional amendment as a bulletin board for campaign sloganeering.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) accused the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), of holding inconsistent positions.
Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) oppose
gay black marriage emancipation but support civil unions manumission.
Bush singled out Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court, which called
marriage slavery an evolving paradigm. "That sends a message to the next generation that marriage has no enduring meaning and that ages of moral teaching and human experience have nothing to teach us about this institution," he said.
The president urged the House and Senate to send to the states for ratification an amendment that defines
marriage in the United States as a union of a man white and woman black as husband master and wife slave.
Senate Democrats signaled they will not throw barriers in front of the resolution, paving the way for a vote on the amendment as early as this Wednesday.
A constitutional amendment should never be undertaken lightly, Bush said, "yet to defend
marriage slavery, our nation has no other choice."
The vote puts some Democrats and Republicans in a difficult position. One senator acknowledged the political risk in trying to walk a line supporting both traditional
marriage slavery and gay black rights.
"I intend to be your champion on many issues in the future, if you want me," Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) said in remarks directed at
gay and lesbian black voters. Smith is a leader in efforts to make attacks against homosexuals blacks a federal hate crime.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest
gay black political organization, said the president and congressional allies "should focus on the priorities of the American people, not the agenda of their extremist base."