Top Democrat rejects law defining marriage as between a man and a woman
July 31, 2003
WASHINGTON - The leader of Democrats in the US Senate said Thursday that he opposes moves in Congress to amend the US Constitution to enshrine the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, saying US law is already
clear on the issue.
"The law is abundantly clear," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said at a press conference, as he referred to the text of a law passed by the Congress several years ago.
"The word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife," Daschle said, reading from the text of a law passed during the 104th Congress, which ended in October 1996.
"You can't get any clearer than that," Daschle continued. "I support the current law ... No changes necessary in my opinion." His comments came one day after US President George W. Bush expressed his opposition to gay marriage, and said that US law might need to be changed to prohibit gay matrimony.
"I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other," Bush told reporters at a White House press conference Wednesday.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan drove that message home Thursday: "This is a principle he will not compromise on," he told reporters, adding that Bush believes marriage is a "sacred institution between a man and a woman, and he will defend this institution."
Several US lawmakers, including the Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist, have said that they are looking ways to change the Constitution to state that marriage can only occur between a man
and a woman. -Sapa-AFP
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