President Bush came under fire from some social conservatives yesterday for saying he will not aggressively lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage during his second term.
Prominent leaders such as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and many rank-and-file Bush supporters inundated the White House with phone calls to protest Bush’s comments in an interview published Sunday in The Washington Post. “Clearly there is concern” among conservatives, Perkins said. “I believe there is no more important issue for the president’s second term than the preservation of marriage.”
In the Post interview, Bush, for the first time, said senators have made it clear to him the amendment has no chance of passing unless courts strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which protects states from recognizing same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere. Challenges to the act are pending in state courts from California to Florida.
“It was not articulated that way in the campaign,” Perkins complained.
Social conservatives who helped stoke record turnout for Bush in the 2004 election expressed concern that he is dropping the issue he passionately touted during the campaign now that he has been reelected. “The president is willing to spend his political capital on Social Security reform, but the nation is greatly conflicted on that issue,” said Minnery, vice president of public policy for Focus on the Family. “The nation is united on marriage. The president’s leadership is desperately needed.” Minnery and Perkins called the White House to complain about Bush’s position.