Bush Reiterates Call for Gay Marriage Ban

( [email protected] ) May 17, 2004 03:10 PM EDT

TOPEKA, Kan. - President Bush renewed his call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday in a written statement released by the White House while he was in Topeka to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation in public schools was unconditional.

"I called on the Congress to pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and a woman as husband and wife," the president said.

"The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges. All Americans have a right to be heard in this debate," Bush said in a written statement.

Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage earlier this year to prevent court rulings that would overturn legislative bans of gay marriage.

"The need for that amendment is still urgent, and I repeat that call today," he added.

Bush's statement came as churches in Massachusetts performed weddings for the country's first gay marriages.

A gay marriage ceremony took place at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Boston today, May 17 and more marriage events are expected to be held locally.

While gay marriage celebration was taking place inside City Hall, a group of protesters formed outside City Hall. "This is not a legitimate form of marriage. There is nothing for anyone to be jubilant about," one woman said.

Even though Massachusetts judges have legalized gay marriage, Gov. Mitt Romney said that he stands firm on his feelings about same-sex marriage.

"All along, I have said an issue as fundamental to society as the definition of marriage should be decided by the people. Until then, I intend to follow the law and expect others to do the same," Romney said in a statement.

Massachusetts has joined other nations the Netherlands, Belgium, and three provinces in Canada and became to become the only state in the U.S. that now allows gays to legally wed, although a proposed federal constitutional amendment would ban gay marriages.