Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Bush Flip Flops on Civil Unions

In an interview with Good Morning America taped Sunday, President Bush said:

“I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so.”

Now let’s compare that to the Federal Marriage Amendment that he has been promoting:

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.

As I pointed out in a previous post, two of the authors of the Amendment, Robert George of Princeton and Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame, have both said that it bans civil unions as well as gay marriages. If no state law can require that the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples, then civil unions are forbidden, as they would do so. I don’t really think this is a flip flop, however, I think it’s an attempt to deceive. The backers of the bill have repeatedly said that it would not ban state civil union laws, but the text clearly states otherwise. I think they’re trying to put a moderate face on a very extreme bill and pretend it does not say something it clearly does.


  1. #1 Reed A. Cartwright
    October 26, 2004

    I find it interesting that people seem to have missed that the FMA would also ban religious marriages.

    Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.

    This applies to all types of marriage, religious and legal. If a legislature wanted to, they could make it a crime for any religious leader to conduct a gay marriage or any same sex couple for holding themselves out to be married. This sentance would supercede whatever religious-freedom protection they now have.

  2. #2 ~DS~
    October 26, 2004

    What the heck do you guys think he’s up to with this? I don’t want to critcize it because it suggests movement in the right direction. But politically, what does this do for him?

  3. #3 Jillian
    October 27, 2004

    Well, my sense of this is that Bush’s earlier stance – denying even civil unions – puts him outside the mainstream on this issue. I get the feeling that your “average American” would support civil unions for same sex couples, even if they wouldn’t support “marriage” for them. Bush doesn’t have to worry about the support of his conservative Christian base – he’s got them all convinced that a vote for Kerry is a vote for the Antichrist – so he can appeal to more moderate undecided voters by waffling on the civil union position.

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