Bush Marriage Amendment - Reaction

President Bush's proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage has brought mixed reactions from both supporters and opponents.

The Associated Press says a leading opponent of gay marriage in Massachusetts says he would've liked Bush to have acted sooner, but adds, "we're happy with his leadership at this time."

However, California Republican Reps. David Dreier and Jerry Lewis are quoted by ABC news as saying a constitutional amendment might not be necessary.  "I will say that I'm not supportive of amending the Constitution on this issue," said Dreier, a co-chairman of Bush's campaign in California in 2000. "I believe that this should go through the courts, and I think that we're at a point where it's not necessary."

Lewis said, "At this moment I feel changing the Constitution should be a last resort on almost any issue."

A leading gay rights advocate in the state says Bush is "pandering to prejudice and bigotry." She suggests it's part of an election-year ploy, and says Bush has a record of "being in bed with radical right groups."

Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans , a gay Republican group says President Bush could end up losing people who had previously supported him. The Log Cabin Republicans are accusing Bush of "writing discrimination into the Constitution." The head of the group says the president has "jeopardized" the support of people who voted for him in 2000 -- and who identified themselves in exit polls as being gay.

Bush's announcement was applauded by The American Center for Law and Justice, which focuses on family and religious issues.   ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement issued by the organization, "...his announcement serves as a critical catalyst to energize and organize those who will work diligently to ensure that marriage remains an institution between one man and one woman...A constitutional amendment affirming marriage as between one man and one woman is necessary and appropriate to meet these challenges."

Seth Kilbourn of the Human Rights Campaign says President Bush's support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage "un-American" and "shameful." Seth Kilbourn of the Human Rights Campaign says Bush is using the Constitution to discriminate against families. He says Bush is hurting families for political gain -- and accuses the president of using the issue to jump start his campaign.

But Family Research Council president Tony Perkins backs Bush, saying he's done the right thing. Perkins says a constitutional amendment is essential to protecting the traditional and historical definition of marriage. "The President was right on target when he said activist courts have left the American people no other recourse," says Perkins.

Associated Press