After all the fuss a couple of years ago on this issue, and lots of water under the bridge, Bush is now saying that he withdraws his support for the Amendment and that he had overreacted to situations on the ground, as well as some poor decisions by the courts and local officials. He now says that he should have trusted the people in those localities to bring their officials into line.
As against gay marriage as I have been, I respect the President on this. I think that his reasons for doing so are genuine and I have to admit that I was just as doom-sayer about the whole issue myself, torn as to whether I really wanted an Amendment to the constitution.
But the history of the Amendment, and Bush's actions during its lifetime suggest that he never really wanted it in the first place and was only over reacting. He doesn't like that gay marriage is popping up in some places, but recognizes that it's the people making it happen, not the judicial system. Not activists trying to work the system despite the people.
Here is part of his statement:
Two years ago, in this place, I announced my support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I strongly believe that's what marriage is and should be. If I were a state legislator or a governor, I'd oppose defining marriage in any other way. I supported the amendment because, at the time, I feared that uncontrollable judges and local officials were recklessly and lawlessly playing with the foundation of the American family. But I was wrong. Like others, I overreacted to what seemed like an emergency. I did not have sufficient faith in the historic processes of American government. The local officials who were defying state law in 2004 have been brought into line. DOMA is still good law. The states have begun amending their own constitutions to define marriage. I have appointed many federal judges in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas, including two to the Supreme Court, who will not tamper with marriage. And while I still fear that some state courts will attempt to redefine marriage in years to come, I am confident that the people in those states can deal with their own courts if that is what they choose to do. After all, that is what we have always trusted them to do.Follow the link for more of the statement. This is a great piece of work. The retraction of support for the Amendment should score some points with libertarians (the left will hate him anyway) and his strong statement of faith in the American political system and Federalism/State's rights should comfort conservatives somewhat.
And this is a different side of Bush, the side that admits mistakes, that is going to get some real press. The left is fond of criticizing him for not admitting anything, but I think this will go a long way to silencing those critiques, even though there are many other examples of Bush admitting mistakes that get suppressed by the media.