The press was 'loaded for bear' at President Bush's press conference yesterday, and the corps asked questions covering the administration's policy in Iraq, the infamous 'sixteen words,' and the nation's economic condition. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision, the President was also asked about homosexuality.
The President spoke of the need for Americans to "respect each individual," but then went on to defend the institution of marriage. "I believe in the sanctity of marriage," he stated. "I believe a marriage is between a man and woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or another. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that." [See the White House transcript]
Looking into what? The Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, should be sufficient to "codify" marriage as between a man and a woman and to preclude homosexual marriage. The issue, of course, is what the Supreme Court might do with DOMA when it is inevitably challenged. Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the Lawrence v. Texas decision paves the way for the court to declare gay marriage a constitutional right. What the lawyers are considering is the need for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to legal heterosexual unions. Stay tuned--this debate is going to be hot.