In his October 26,. 2004, interview with Charlie Gibson, President George W. Bush said he didn’t have an issue with states supporting domestic partnerships or civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
"I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so," the president said, just days before Election Day. "(S)tates ought to be able to have the right to pass … laws that enable people to, you know, be able to have rights, like others."
Apparently either the president has changed his mind, or this position does not extend to the D.C. government.
Yesterday the Bush administration issued a veto threat of the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act — which funds certain federal government and DC agencies — because of a domestic partnership provision to allow same-sex couples to qualify for the same benefits as straight couples.
In its statement on the bill (LINK ), the Office of Management and Budget writes:
"The Administration strongly opposes the bill’s exclusion of a longstanding provision that disallows the use of Federal funds to register unmarried, cohabitating couples in the District, to enable them to qualify for benefits on the same basis as legally married couples. Under Federal law, legal marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Federal tax dollars are not used to extend employment benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees, and D.C. should not enjoy an exception to this rule. If the final version of H.R. 2829 does not include this longstanding provision, the President’s senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill." (Emphasis theirs.)
Says Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese: “He has issued a veto threat on funding for the District of Columbia because long-term, committed couples want to have such basic rights as visiting each other in the hospital and making medical decisions for their partner. The anti-gay zeal of this Administration has reached a new low.”
No doubt those conservative activists upset at the president’s 2004 statement will be heartened, however, such as Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute, who at the time said "civil unions are a government endorsement of homosexuality. But I don’t think President Bush has thought about it in that way."
What sayeth you?