Bush stance sparks debate

The president’s new push to ban gay marriage has stirred feelings pro and con.

by Amy Horst

With Minnesota’s March 2 caucuses around the corner, the debate over same-sex marriage heated up yesterday when President George W. Bush announced his support of a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

Bush said judges have overstepped their boundaries in Massachusetts, where four judges have said they will require the state to begin marrying gay couples in May. He also admonished San Francisco for issuing nearly 3,000 marriage licenses, which he said is against state law.

At the University, opinions vary on the issue of same-sex marriages.

“I’m glad President Bush came out on record in support of this amendment,” College Republicans President Tyler Richter said. “I feel that the time was due for him to support the amendment.”

Richter, a journalism senior, said he does not find the amendment unfair to gay couples.

“It’s certainly not meant to discriminate at all,” Richter said. “It’s simply saying that ages and ages and ages of tradition have shown us that marriage between a man and a woman needs to be defended.”

Jessica Miles, a College of Liberal Arts senior, said she was angry but not surprised at Bush’s announcement.

“I personally find it to be horribly unsupportive of our president and it essentially is an attack on a portion of the population that he is supposed to represent,” Miles said.

Alison Blomster, executive director for the Queer Student Cultural Center, said that while she is against the institution of marriage, she thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to marry if they wish.

“I pay my taxes, and I think I deserve the same rights as anybody else who pays their taxes,” Blomster said. “The point is that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be offered the same rights because we’re people.”

People from both sides of the debate said they think the issue of gay marriage should be particularly important to students.

“We’re all right at the point in our lives where we might be thinking about getting married and having kids,” Campus Republicans Chairman Dan Nelson said. “It’s our future and our country, our children.”

Blomster said students should also be aware of same-sex marriage and other gay rights issues because many of them have homosexual family members and friends, and they want them to be happy and live a good life.

While a constitutional amendment would ban same-sex marriage, it would not determine the status of civil unions, an issue that also divides students, even within the same political parties.

“My opinion on civil unions is that it’s not my business what anyone else does in their private time, and if it’s left to individual states to define civil unions, that’s fine with me,” Richter said.

Nelson said allowing civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples would be pointless and counterproductive for Republicans seeking a ban on same-sex marriages.

“Civil union is marriage by any other name,” Nelson said. “If you have civil unions, why not have marriage?”

Miles said she particularly fears the long-term effects of legislation banning gay marriage.

“It’s kind of scary,” Miles said. “Is it going to be illegal for me to exist in 20 years if (Bush) has his way?”