[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 February, 2004, 05:38 GMT
Bush speaks against gay weddings
By Branwen Jeffreys
BBC, Washington

Hyde Revilla (r) and Dawn Revilla at City Hall, San Francisco
Couples have been hurrying to wed
President Bush says he will consider supporting legal changes to prevent gay marriages following hundreds of same-sex unions in San Francisco.

The president said he was troubled by the weddings, and would only support a law backing traditional unions.

More than 2,500 marriage licences have been issued to gays and lesbians.

The city's mayor took the initiative, contrary to California state law, because he said that current legislation was discriminatory.

Since Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same-sex couples to marry, gays and lesbians have travelled from across the US to take part in what they see as a historic moment for gay rights.

George W Bush
I'm troubled by what I've seen
George W Bush
But speaking for the first time since the weddings began last week, the president made clear his personal opposition.

"I strongly believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman," said Mr Bush.

"I am troubled by activist judges who are defining marriage. I have watched carefully what's happened in San Francisco where licences were being issued, even though the law states otherwise."

When asked whether he was ready to take action, he said that he was "just watching very closely".

"I'm troubled by what I've seen," he added. "People need to be involved with this decision. Marriage ought to be defined by the people not by the courts, and I'm watching it carefully."

There are already two legal challenges underway to the decision of San Francisco's mayor to issue the wedding licences, and the legal status of gay marriages is being contested elsewhere.

In Massachusetts, a court recently said it was "unconstitutional" to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

But before the first fully legal weddings can happen there, attempts to block them through amending the constitution are expected.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Branwen Jeffreys
"More than 2000 gay and lesbian couples have already taken marriage vows in San Francisco"



SEE ALSO:
San Francisco gays wed - for now
18 Feb 04 |  Americas
Gay couples wed in San Francisco
13 Feb 04 |  Americas
US state court says gays can wed
04 Feb 04 |  Americas
Making much of marriage
22 Jan 04 |  Americas
Massachusetts backs gay marriage
18 Nov 03 |  Americas


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific