Eugene Volokh discusses Bush’s statement that he’s okay with civil unions and has a different version of the FMA than I had. The original Musgrave amendment that was rolled out with a good bit of fanfare said:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
This obviously banned civil unions as well as gay marriages. But the bill that Volokh cites is worded differently. That one says:
“Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
The distinction is that the second one would only mean that a court could not rule that a state constitution requires civil unions, but would not forbid state legislatures from enacting civil union legislation if they chose to. And that apparently is the wording as of July 2004, which is more recent than the wording I had. So apparently, the wording was changed at some point. Technically, then, Bush’s statement was not a reversal of his position with respect to the FMA.