.- President George W. Bush called upon the Congress to promptly pass an amendment to the United States Constitution, defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. The preservation of the definition of marriage is an issue of “national importance,” said the President.
The amendment protects marriage, buts leaves state legislatures free to define legal arrangements other than marriage.
“The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith,” said Bush. “Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.”
Eight years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act. It defined marriage in federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman. The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14.
Bush said in recent months, “some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage,” said Bush, referring to the Supreme Judicial Court decision in November and the more recent events in San Francisco and New Mexico.
“After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization,” said Bush. “On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard.”
Bush said the constitutional amendment to the Defense of Marriage Act would prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever.
“Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all,” he continued.
The United States’ commitment of freedom “does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions,” said the president. “Our government should respect every person, and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities.”