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Bush: Too Soon for Amendment Banning Gay Marriage
Wed July 2, 2003 01:14 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Wednesday declined to endorse the idea of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriages, saying he did not know if one was necessary yet.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and a close Bush ally in Congress, said on Sunday he "absolutely" supported a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. He spoke after the Supreme Court struck down state sodomy laws.

"I don't know if it's necessary yet," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Let's let the lawyers look at the full ramifications of the recent Supreme Court hearing."

He added: "What I do support is a notion that marriage is between a man and a woman."

U.S. law defines marriage for federal purposes as between one woman and one man. Gay marriages are forbidden in the United States but Vermont allows civil unions.

Debate over the issue has intensified since Canada announced earlier this month it would legalize gay marriages. The U.S. high court last week struck down state sodomy laws, a decision that conservative critics say could open the door to same-sex marriages in the United States.

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