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Bush pushes constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage ahead of Senate vote

[JURIST] In his weekly radio address Saturday, President George W. Bush voiced his support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage [radio address, text] which is scheduled for a vote in the US Senate [JURIST report] in the coming week. Bush promoted the Marriage Protection Amendment [PDF text] that would formally define marriage as between a man and woman saying, "Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society." He also said pushing for the amendment is necessary because of "activist" judges who have already rejected same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] bans in California, Maryland, New York, Nebraska, and Washington [JURIST reports].

Republicans in Congress do not actually have enough votes to pass such an amendment, since two-thirds of both the US Senate [official website] and the House of Representatives [official website] must vote yes to approve constitutional amendments prior to state ratification. But Republican strategists are hoping a formal roll call will boost their popular support ahead of the upcoming November congressional elections. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website] criticized [press release] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-MD) [official website] for insisting on a gay marriage ban vote, saying more pressing issues are at hand, such as the war in Iraq and increasing energy costs. AFP has more.

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