Says Bush Is Open to States' Bolstering Gay Rights
New York Times Op-Ed
February 9, 2004
8 - President Bush believes states can use contract law to ensure
some of the rights that gay partners are seeking through marriage
or civil union, a South Carolina congressman said Sunday.
The subject of contracts
and gay marriage came up while the lawmaker, Representative Jim
DeMint, was traveling with the president and the rest of the South
Carolina Republican delegation on Air Force One last week. He
described the conversation, first reported in the new issue of
Time magazine, as politicians "shooting the breeze"
rather than an in-depth policy discussion.
president's remarks, Mr. DeMint said: "He said he was not
going to condemn anyone, that the need to have various types of
agreement does not mean we need to redefine marriage. `If people
want to have contracts on hospital visitation and benefits, that's
Responding to questions
on Sunday about the Time article, Claire Buchan, a White House
their contract law, have the ability to address some of the issues
that advocates of gay marriage are raising, such as hospital visitation
rights and insurance benefits and the ability to pass on one's
estates to another. What the president has said is that he strongly
believes in the sanctity of marriage, so that's what he is saying."
Ms. Buchan noted
that civil contracts were available to heterosexual couples as
by the United States Supreme Court, a Canadian court and the top
court in Massachusetts have pushed the administration into a delicate
are lobbying the White House to endorse a constitutional amendment
defining marriage as something that can take place only between
a man and a woman. At the same time, the White House wants to
appear empathetic to gays who tell of hospitals forbidding them
to visit partners on their deathbeds.