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Foes of Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment Talk Back to Bush

State of the Union Speech Angers U.S. Civil Liberties Advocates

W. Threatens Church/State Divide, Equality Under Law, Taxpayers

Compiled by GayToday

George W. Bush once again attacked the rights of gay and lesbian Americans, but this time in the State of the Union address Washington, D.C.- American activists demanding equal legal rights for LGBT people reacted angrily to George W. Bush's implicit call in Tuesday's State of the Union address in which he came dangerously close to calling for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, attacking a state court decision.

"To say that by supporting legal equality, the members of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts are 'forcing their arbitrary will' upon America, shows just how oblivious this President is on civil rights issues," said Robin Tyler, the National Co-Chair of DontAmend.com.

Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of Triangle Foundation, Michigan's statewide gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights advocacy organization said:

"In his State of the Union address George W. Bush put the dignity and equality of gays and lesbians in the center of the political agenda in the presidential election race, and he came down squarely on the side of those who would ban civil marriage for gays and lesbians.

"In the 2000 campaign, Bush sold himself as "a uniter, not a divider." This time around he is the hypocrite. In his typically vacuous way, he is dividing the American people, appealing to the worst instincts of prejudice and privilege, as he endorses perverting the Constitution to deny basic civil rights to his fellow citizens.

"The immediate danger of Bush as this election year moves forward is that the debate on so-called "gay marriage" will allow the denigration and slander of gays and lesbians to continue in the national debate.

"The public discussion of civil marriage allows the bigots to attack gay Americans. The debate puts gay and lesbian Americans on the defensive to justify our very existence. The argument that Bush has entered will be emotionally and physically dangerous and damaging to gays, lesbians and their families. And George Bush has weighed-in firmly on the side of the mean-spirited, the dogmatists and the demagogues.

"The issue of civil marriage comes down to a disarmingly simple question of integrity; integrity of the historic promise of this Nation as one that seeks equality and freedom for all its citizens.

"A U.S. President in 2004 should be ashamed that at this time in our history a significant segment of the population is still subject to routine, hurtful and damaging discrimination. George Bush, far from being embarrassed by this defect in the democracy, tightens his grip on the special right to discriminate.

"Using the rhetoric of Fundamentalism, Bush echoes those who would impose specific and radical religious doctrine rather than resolute principles that should govern a great democratic nation like the United States.

"Any person's right to hold a particular faith-based belief is a cherished freedom, appropriate for guidance in a house of worship but not fitting in the White House or the Houses of Congress.

" 'A house divided against itself cannot stand,' so said Abraham Lincoln in 1858 as a Republican U.S. Senate candidate. Lincoln recognized that division in this country is crippling. Bush as a Republican candidate in 2004 has ignored the legacy of history, actively promoting division and danger for his fellow citizens.

"The Bush commitment to radical religionism leads to terrible public policy. He should be held accountable for this breach in November."

Florida's veteran gay activist, Bob Kunst, laden with "No More Bushit" bumper stickers and currently promoting write-ins for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in state primaries, predicts that Bush's "war on gay America and the U.S. Constitution will be his Waterloo."

"Bush," says Kunst, "is using the gay marriage issue to get his foot in the door to attack all citizens with three strategies: ending the separation of church and state as well as equality under the law. Bushit stands for taxation without representation. If he succeeds in changing the Constitution, we'll no longer have a democracy but a slimy dictatorship."

Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said:

"We are appalled by the President's direct attack on the fundamental principle of American democracy, an independent judiciary. Contrary to the President's statement, our courts were not created to enforce the will of the people, but to enforce and interpret the law. Mr. Bush ought to understand this, given that he sits in the White House because of court action, not the will of the people.

"We urge the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts not to give in to these crass manipulative threats, and continue to uphold the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the birthplace of American liberty.

"We are also disgusted by the President's sanctimonious hypocrisy in saying how the debate around denying gay people the right to marry is important. He and the extreme religious and political right to which he is pandering are saying that we - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans - are not entitled to equal rights. It doesn't matter how you say that, it is wrong. At the very least, the President needs to have the guts to call it for what it is: utter disdain for and discrimination against gay people."

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Cheryl Jacques noted:

"In more than 200 hundred years of American history the Constitution has never amended to deny basic rights and responsibilities. It is always wrong to use the Constitution to discriminate against any American. The Constitution should never be used to deny fundamental rights like the ability to visit a partner in the hospital, or the protection of Social Security Survivor benefits."

She continued:

"The bottom line is that gay Americans live in more than 99 percent of the counties in this country, and more than one million children in this country are being raised by same-sex couples. Those families and children deserve the rights and protections of marriage, and we are deeply disappointed that the President used the State of the Union address to attack our families and divide the country. Tonight, the President missed an opportunity to discuss issues that bring the nation together, like combating hate violence and ending employment discrimination."

A December, Gallup Poll showed voters top priorities in the upcoming election are the economy, the war and the jobless rate. While same-sex marriage is an issue that Americans are debating, it is not likely to be an issue about which most voters will go to the polls.
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Related Sites

Triangle Foundation

Hillary Now

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

Human Rights Campaign