I spent eleven as a registered independent. In 2013, having returned to North Carolina, I signed up as Democrat. Politics is a blood sport in the Carolinas. Middle-of-the-readers tend to get run over.
More particularly, the Democrats struck me as having reached the point Republicans were at in 1968: the scrappy opposition to a bloated, corrupt and self-perpetuating one party system in Raleigh.
Here's how BTB remembers the day:
President George Bush Backs Federal Marriage Amendment: 2004. With Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that nothing short of marriage would provide full equality for same-sex couples as required in the state’s constitution (see May 17), and with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s order that the county clerk begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples (see Feb 12), pressure had been building on President Goerge W. Bush, then running for a second term as President, to do something! And so, in lockstep with his conservative Christian base — and in keeping with his campaign strategist Karl Rove’s encouraging several important states (including, critically, Ohio) to place marriage bans on their ballots as part of a get-out-the-vote effort — Bush declared his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which, if enacted, would have permanently and nationally banished all same-sex marriages “or the legal incidents thereof.”
And in the typical black-is-white rhetoric that had become a hallmark of his administration, he blamed his decision on gay people. “After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization,” he said. “Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity.”
Declaring that “the voice of the people must be heard,” he urged Congress to “promptly pass… an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife,” during televised remarks from the White House’s Roosevelt Room. After urging that the nation consign gay Americans to permanent second-class citizenship, he called on the nation to begin the debate “without bitterness or anger.”
Log Cabin Republicans, who enthusiastically supported Bush four years ago after a closed-door meeting with the then-Texas governor, felt betrayed by the statement. Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said. “Log Cabin considers support for this amendment a declaration of war on gay and lesbian families and an attack on our sacred Constitution.” LCR political director Chris Barron (he would later go on to co-found GOProud), would later comment, “It is impossible to overstate the depth of anger and disappointment caused by the president’s support for an anti-family constitutional amendment. This amendment would not only ban gay marriage, it would also jeopardize civil unions and domestic partnerships.” LCR would go on to withhold its endorsement of Bush for the 2004 election cycle.
Later in September, the proposed amendment would fail in the House, 227 to 186, with 290 votes needed to cross the two-thirds requirement to send a Constitutional Amendment to the States for ratification. The Senate had, by then, already failed to break a filibuster against the proposal.