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Defenders of the traditional family have expressed hearty support for President Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, while homosexual-rights groups decry the announcement.

“President Bush’s endorsement of a federal marriage amendment today is the lynchpin in efforts to protect marriage in our country,” said James C. Dobson, chairman and founder of Focus on the Family. “The president clearly understands that families formed through the union of one man and one woman are best for America and America’s children. His comments should signal to Congress and the states that only an amendment to the U.S. Constitution can adequately address the inevitable showdown between the courts and the will of the American people as expressed through their elected representatives.”

Dobson referred to recent events promoting same-sex marriage as a “constitutional crisis.”

“The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s tyrannical Goodridge ruling and the recent issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in San Francisco and New Mexico has confirmed what we have long known – marriage as it as been understood throughout human history is under attack in this country,” he said. “We applaud President Bush’s unequivocal support of a federal marriage amendment. …”

Mathew D. Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, also praised the president’s move.

“I applaud President Bush for his support of a Federal Marriage Amendment to preserve marriage between one man and one woman,” Staver said. “Marriage is the most important social and cultural issue of the century, and this issue should be for the people to decide, not the courts. I am confident when the people speak through their state and national representatives, they will overwhelmingly choose to once and for all time preserve marriage between one man and one woman. A federal constitutional amendment will honor the will of the people and remove the courts from social engineering.”

Arguing in favor of a constitutional amendment, Staver stated, “We should not allow a patchwork system to develop in America regarding marriage. We all are affected by one state seeking to change its marriage laws.”

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said Bush’s support will catalyze the effort to pass an amendment.

“The president’s announcement is vital to launching the amendment process and efforts to protect marriage,” he said. “We are grateful for his support on this most important issue.”

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays slammed Bush in a statement.

“Last night, at a dinner for Republican governors, the president declared that he did not believe in a government that ‘makes your choices,’” the group stated. “This morning he announced his support for a Constitutional amendment that would deny the choice of marriage – and the governmental protections thereof – to millions of American families. PFLAG condemns the President’s support for the discriminatory amendment and the bigotry it represents.”

Said David Tseng, executive director of PFLAG, “Millions of Americans are disappointed that their president … has bowed to political pressure to support the codification of hatred into our beloved Constitution.”

Some members of the president’s own party, those of the homosexual Log Cabin Republicans, accused Bush of “pandering to the radical right” and “writing discrimination into the Constitution.”

Democratic National Committee chief Terry McAuliffe says Bush’s announcement purely political. He called it a “shameful” election strategy, AP reported.

The Human Rights Campaign called Bush’s stance discriminatory.

“To use the Constitution to discriminate against our families is un-American, shameful and divisive,” said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. “Constitutional amendments have historically served to expand liberty and equality – such as giving women the right to vote. This amendment would be the first to reinstate discrimination in our Constitution.

“Americans remember the president’s promise to be a uniter, not a divider. Today, the president has broken that promise.”

Jacques is convinced Bush’s call for an amendment will harm his re-election effort, not help it.

“With his approval ratings at an all-time low, this ploy is sure to backfire against the president,” she said.

The Rev. Jimmy Creech, chair of the Soulforce board of directors, took Bush to task for saying the marriage issue needs to be “clarified.”

“Legally sanctioned marriage is fundamentally a legal contract between two people who commit themselves to each other to share there lives and their possession in the creation of a family,” Creech said. “This does not need clarification. Adding gender requirements to marriage, and amending the U.S. Constitution, does not clarify, it only creates injustice and inequality.”

Related story:

Bush announces support for marriage amendment

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