Bush bashes gay marriage on the road

Troy Espera | October 31, 2006

President George W. Bush
INDIANAPOLIS — President George W. Bush rallied supporters in a packed Indiana high school gym on Saturday by pledging to oppose gay marriage, a theme Republican candidates have revived in the wake of a New Jersey court ruling in favor of gay couples.

"Activist judges try to define America by court order," Bush told the crowd of 4,000 at Silver Creek High School, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Just this week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman."

The New Jersey Supreme Court last week ruled that gay and lesbian couples in that state should have all the rights and benefits of marriage; the justices left it up to legislators to decide whether to call such partnerships marriages or civil unions. Same-sex marriage was a motivating issue for social conservatives in the 2004 election, but has been overshadowed in this year's campaign by the war in Iraq.

Constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in eight states this November, including South Carolina, which Bush visited late Saturday to greet troops and attend a campaign fundraiser outside Charleston.

According to the LA Times, this was the president�s first campaign appearance this election season. Bush has appeared at private fundraisers for individual candidates, but now is launching a string of five preelection public rallies in the next four days. He's speaking out on tax cuts, national security and same-sex marriage while playing to his base of conservative Republicans in such strongholds as Sellersburg, Statesboro, Ga., and Sugar Land, Texas, reports the Times.

With many independent analysts predicting Republicans will lose the House and possibly the Senate, President Bush�s political team is counting on the party�s sophisticated voter turnout machinery to hold Democratic advances enough that Republicans can at least maintain control.

�It�s a game of margins,� said Charles Black, a Republican strategist, to the Amherst Times in New York. �You�ve got about 20 House races and probably half a dozen Senate races that are either dead even or very, very close. So if it motivates voters in one or two to go vote, it could make a difference.�

Democrats predicted Thursday that the debate would not dramatically alter the national conversation in an election that has been dominated by the war in Iraq and corruption and scandal in Washington. But across the country, Republicans quickly embraced the New Jersey ruling as a reason for voters to send them to Capitol Hill.

As of January 2006, 45 states had enacted some form of law – from a simple statute to a constitutional amendment – banning same-sex marriage. In addition to Virginia, Tennessee and Colorado, the states that have proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot include Arizona, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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