Some items of note in Bush’s gay marriage speech

The text of the speech is here.
First off, no matter what people may have you believe, he did not endorse the FMA, he did not endorse H. J. RES. 56 or S. J. RES 26 which have been introduced in Congress. He called for AN amendment, but not any particular amendment. He never endorses any particular wording for the amendment. No mention is made of the troublesome “legal incidents thereof”. He doesn’t say civil unions should be banned at the same time. In fact, he actually says it should protect marriage while leaving the door open for other arrangements like civil unions.

The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.
White House

Secondly, he addresses how this isn’t necessarily an action against states’ rights.

The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state’s definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.
Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.
White House

Kerry is in favor of an amendment as long as it allows for civil unions.

I believe… that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s my belief. If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union… that would be a good amendment.

Keeping in mind the President’s “free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage” belief, would anybody care to point out how Kerry’s position differs from that of President Bush.
I expect not, but since President Bush is a conservative some have no problem distorting his stance and calling him a bigot.
It’s been pointed out that the clip I was working off of above for Senator Kerry’s quote was actually in reference to a hypothetical Massachusetts amendment. That would mean that Kerry is taking a more states


  1. Rob Bernard points out

    But of course… the evil (R) is the ‘Bigot’.
    Visit him to see a well reasoned argument.

  2. ish says:

    the text of the amendment is clear. It bans civilunions.

  3. Not Todd says:

    There are several different “amendments” proposed, ish. He hasn’t endorsed any particular one so your objection is frivolous. Did you even read what Rob posted?

  4. Rob Bernard says:

    A) The text of the leading proposed amendment is far from clear. Nowhere in the text does it mention civil unions and as I’ve said before, the people who wrote it would be willing to reword it to make it clear that civil unions wouldn’t be banned.
    B) As NT said, the entire point of this post was to point out that President Bush hasn’t endorsed any actual text and has explicitly stated that the amendment should leave the decision on civil unions to the states.

  5. Knee-deep in the hoopla

    Bush’s statement in favor of a marriage amendment turns out to be identical to John Kerry’s. So why is it that Bush is the dangerous threat to the freedoms of gays, causing people to whinge that they’re gonna vote Donk?…

  6. Ryan says:

    I have to say its a fun subject to mess with people with blind hatred of Bush. For people who think:
    A) Anything Bush says = Bad
    B) Anything Kerry says = Good
    Pointing out how they have pretty much the exact same stance on this issue really makes them freak out (and generally yell at you for pointing it out heh)
    I do agree that this is about the stupidest thing since banning alcohol to be up for a constitutional admentment, however cant say I’ve very fond of a few judges and the mayor of SF deciding the nations policy on this either. Perhaps we need a general amendment that clarified what kind of things that states are free to legislation without courts making policy?

  7. In that quote, Kerry is endorsing an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution.
    Kerry has come out strongly against amending the U.S. Constitution, and for good reason. There’s no reason to codify discrimination in a document that, until now, has largely been used to expand civil liberties.
    A Constitutional amendment would make it extremely difficult for homosexuals to gain the civil rights of marriage if society become so enlightened down the road. It’s bigotry, plain and simple.

  8. Kevin P. says:

    Musgrave’s proposed Constitutional Amendment can be very plausibly read to prohibit civil unions. I think that that is going too far. In fact, my ideal amendment would leave the definition of marriage up to state legislatures (not judges), including allowing for civil unions, but would allow each state the choice of recognizing marriages in other states.

  9. emjaycue says:

    The clip you have from Kerry is taking Kerry’s statement grossly out of context. I watched Kerry’s entire interview from which that clip was taken. The interview went something like this:
    Kerry: I don’t support Bush attempting to amend the constitution, this should be left to the states.
    Question: What would you think of a STATE amendment that did x and y?
    Kerry was talking about a STATE amendment not amending the Constitution of the United States. That’s where his position and Bush’s position differ.
    If you’re going to link to the clip and cut a soundbyte out of context, at least provide the context. Otherwise, it’s irresponsible and misleading.

  10. emjaycue says:

    After “Kerry: ” above add “(clip/soundbyte here)”.

  11. Scott Harris says:

    I think a better Amendment would be to establish some sort of Legislative and Executive review similare to the judicial review. Thomas Jefferson stated,
    [On the] “question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law” … Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches.”
    [On the “ultimate arbiter” of the Constitution:] “The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And it has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our Constitution, to have provided this peaceable appeal …
    “The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”
    “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. … their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”
    “… our Constitution a complete felo de se [act of suicide] [if] intending to establish three departments, coordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another, it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to that one, too, which is unelected by and independent of the nation. For experience has already shown that the impeachment it has provided is not even a scare-crow . . . The Constitution on this hypothesis is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
    “My construction of the Constitution is . . . that each department is truly independent of the others and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution in the cases submitted to its action; and especially where it is to act ultimately and without appeal.”
    So according to Jefferson, each branch has a right to say what is, and what is not Constitutional. Since Judicial review is not actually a power of the Courts according to the Constitution, I think an amendment more clearly defining how we determine the Constitutionality of laws would be preferable to this amendment.

  12. Frank says:

    I’m not sure why you chose to end your piece the way you did: most people aren’t calling Bush a bigot (and I’m not sure I’d have run into anyone saying that if it weren’t for your isolating a blogger I’d never heard of until this morning).
    I think you’ll find, instead, that most are saying that Bush is playing a bigotry card, which is not the same thing; others merely say he is trying to appeal to his fundamentalist political base, which is also not the same thing.
    Are you trying to demonize others’ opinions here?

  13. Rob Bernard says:

    All I’ve seen of his speech is in the clip, which actually came from Calpundit. (
    A Houston station uses it in the same context. (

  14. Rob Bernard says:

    In the discussions I’ve had on this issue I’ve seen a surprising number of people talk about how he’s a bigot, or how “Bush and his ilk don’t like gay people” or Bush is a “a homophobic *#&!*#($” or that it’s “blatantly clear” that he doesn’t like gays.
    For example:

  15. emjaycue says:

    Both the clip and the Houston station are using it without any context. And the lack of context changes the meaning of the clip dramatically. I wish I could find the entire interview with context but I can’t. The whole thing was played on MSNBC yesterday during the day… maybe call them? I know someone over at the Calpundit comment thread called the Kerry campaign and they confirmed that this clip is out of context. Try that.
    Blogs should have a higher standard of journalism than Larry King Live (who played this out of context yesterday…).

  16. Frank says:

    Why are you surprised by the number you’ve seen?

  17. Rob Bernard says:

    As for the link to the unknown blogger, [and to be fair, I’m fairly sure you’d never heard of me either before this morning :)] he and I have been having a back and forth over his nonstop cry that President Bush is a bigot.
    Those posts are here:
    and here:

  18. Rob Bernard says:

    I just expect some actual facts to back up statements like that and it always surprises me that people can make charges like that without anything more than feelings to back them up.

  19. emjaycue says:

    I found part of the rest of the interview. Here’s what Kerry said right before.
    Go here:
    Go to the 2:20:00 mark. Notice this is the same interview where the clip out of context above is from. This is the question right before he’s asked about a hypothetical state amendment (which he then answers with the clip in your post). Listen to what he says. That gives you some of the needed context.

  20. Rob Bernard says:

    Correction noted, but stance pretty much still the same.


    Rob Bernard complains:Those calling President Bush a bigot, or who say he

  22. Kerrysupporterssaywhat?

    Rob Bernard correctly points out that Kerry is taking pretty much the same stance on the gay marriage issue President Bush is (as is John Edwards), and not taking the same heat for it…

  23. covington says:

    At first I was going to applaud your distinction and cede that point, saying Bush is opportunistic and cynical but perhaps not a bigot. Then I remembered Strom Thurmond, who fathered a child with a black woman, and financially supported that daughter, while basing most of his political career on racial hatred.
    Leading bigots while harboring secret inclusive feelings doesn’t seem much better to me.
    After all, look at all the closeted gay Republicans.

  24. Unkown Blogger??? LOL 🙂 I don’t wear a shopping bag on my head for crying out loud.

  25. Rob Bernard says:

    You don’t? You should rethink that, I hear brown paper bags with faces drawn on them are all the rage. 🙂

  26. Dan says:

    Bush: For a federal amendment that will end the debate for the forseeable future by federalizing the issue.
    Kerry: Against gay marriage in general, but perfectly willing to let states fight it out.
    I see a clear difference there.

  27. Chris says:

    The whole issue is crazy. A ban on gay marriage would undermine the intent of our consititution “all men are created equal” and would be a direct violation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) whic opens with the simple but powerful statement that ”all members of the human family” have equal and inalienable rights, an affirmation that should be seen as one of the most significant legacies of the 20th century. With Bush in office he is destroying the intent of every legacy ever written on behalf of human rights. CE

  28. better late than never says:

    Actually, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” It’s important to note that they did not include “without any limitation due to sex”. So really, the amendment wouldn’t be a direct violation, especially given some of the United Nation’s recent actions

  29. Alisa says:

    I believe gay marriage should be legal, I bet if statistics were done it would show that same sex relationships not only last longer but have happy caring relationships to do it! Who is anyone to say who can get married? Isn’t the divorce rate for marriage 50% ending in divorce when rating opposit sex marriage?

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