Bush's Uncivil Union
Name Rich Kiamco, 34
Occupation Performance artist
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I was just thinking about this. In making the announcement, Bush said, "In two centuries of jurisprudence and a millennia of humanity" and I thought, "Tell me you didn't say that." Really, Bush is saying that we've been here for 200 years, and officially this is the way things are and always will be. The world is still flat, women should walk two feet behind the man, don't blend fabrics, don't eat shellfish, only a man and a woman can sit in the front of the bus. I also think "civil unions" has become a second-class term.
Name Michelle Boylan, 23
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I'm absolutely furious. I couldn't even watch the announcement on the news. I can't look at Bush's face. I think he recognizes only rich white Christian Republicans. It's very frustrating as a woman to be watching these assaults on our bodies. Ashcroft seizing abortion records. It's one more violation of privacy. And civil unions are insulting because they promote the notion of separate but equal. A civil union is like wanting french fries from Wendy's but having to settle for potato chips.
Name Raymon Heard, 47
Occupation Insurance planner
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I think Bush should do it. If he doesn't, there will be other organizations like NAMBLA showing up and claiming marriage could be expanded to include a union between a man and a boy. And I don't think civil unions are necessary because you can appoint anybodyyour lawyer, your partneras your proxy. In terms of benefits, unions and insurance companies should work out who's covered. They can do whatever a federal law would do.
Name Arturo Garcia-Costas, 40
Occupation Environmental consultant
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Oh my God. As a gay environmentalist, I can't imagine a worse president. Issues of fairness and equal protection aside, the notion that he would sully the Constitution by working discrimination into it and disenfranchising millions of taxpaying Americans is mind-boggling. The polls say 64 percent of Americans are against gay marriage. They want to protect marriage from what? Marriage is a bundle of rights that every American has access to except for gays and lesbians, and civil unions are an acknowledgment of second-class status. I'd like to ask John Kerry and John Edwards why they're uncomfortable about gay marriage.
Name Esther Bell, 29
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? He's showing his true colors. Finally. Maybe this will wake the country up. I'm appalled. Ashcroft is going after women's medical records . . . what's next? My father's gay and I'm trying to find him someone to marry. The bigger picture is equal rights and legal protection.
Name Dave Guh, 28
Resides Staten Island
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Personally, I think a marriage is between a man and a woman. Civil unions are perfectly fine, love is love. Marriage should be defined, and if it's recognized that way it should be in writing. I heard somewhere that something like 4 million evangelical Christians didn't vote last time. Maybe this is Bush's way of reaching out to them. I don't like Bush, but the definition of marriage can't be a blur.
Name Rob Brown, 43
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I think that people are going to do what they do and the government doesn't have the right to intervene. Bush doesn't have a say in who you choose as your partner. People aren't born homosexual, it's conditioning. Children mimic the dominant parent. If you're a young boy and you live only with aunts and women and no father figure, and you see your mother bringing men home, you're going to think that's normal and mimic it.
Name Amy Pacifici, 29
Occupation Social worker
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I don't think it's the federal government's role to define marriage; it's up to the states to do it and they should be flexible. If we're talking about a commitment between two people who love each other, then what's the problem? I think the only reason people are uncomfortable about this is that it's generally a taboo subject. When people think about what happens in the bedroom they become very homophobic.
Name David Rothenberg, 70
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Aside from the fact that civil unions are enough because they provide legal and financial protection, I think it's a miscal-culation on the part of gay activists to seek to move into the mainstream. Why emulate oppressive aspects like adultery and abuse? Why emulate people who are just going to get divorced a year later?
Name Ian Campbell, 24
Occupation Tattoo artist
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I don't think he should touch the Constitution. One of the last times they did was Prohibition, and look how well that worked out. Bush would do this regardless of whether this was an election year. I think it's been on his list anyway. He takes a lot of direction from other people, but he also has to try and please his base, which is the Christian right.
Name Rose Mary Perez, 42
Occupation Graphic designer
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I'm an American and a Latina and I vote and I don't think anyoneparticularly in this countryshould determine how any two individuals unite. Just look at how different groups marry, be it Latino, Anglo-Saxon, Asian, African American. Jews break a glass, African Americans jump over a broom. We're as varied in how we raise our children. I do think civil unions are a good beginning, because they mean that if you die, your partner's family can't come in and take everything.
Name Damien Prince, 37
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? It's so unfair. You've got a man who is so out of touch with the mainstream of the country. I read that a majority of Americans are against gay marriage, but I want to know who's being asked and what questions they're using. It's another diversionary tactic. The smart voter will realize that the economy and the war are the real issues. Bush is just the rattle on the snake; the head is Ashcroft-Rumsfeld-Cheney. The civil union issue is just going back to the civil rights era. Separate but equal. It's not equal.
Name Erik P., 25
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Marriage is marriage, and a constitutional amendment defining it is not important. There are really so many other things to be worried about. All I can think about is the war issue and how pointless it is to kill and shed blood. Americans are just so distracted. Nobody knows whether they'll be working tomorrow, and still all anybody's talking about is Janet Jackson.
Name Alex Santiago, 39
Occupation Service technician
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I'm against this. You can't just start amending things. Let the states decide. Bush has proposed it because of this year's election. It's OK to have gays on TV but there are a lot of people with kids who don't like gays. It's on Will & Grace. I am for civil unions because it's a start and you have to start somewhere.
Name Aaliah DeSilva, 23
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? All the changes Bush has made or proposed are disgusting. They're morally wrong. I don't understand trying to ban abortion. I'm definitely against the federal government involving itself in people's personal lives. Don't mix business and pleasure. I did that once, andit was a big mistake. I had to quit my job. I think we're going to stand up to Bush. I'm so proud to be a New Yorker.
Name Rebecca Martinez, 22
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? The government shouldn't be able to tell people who can get married. It's wrong from the get-go. I also don't think civil unions make sense either. I don't think my thinking this way is generationalmy brother feels this way too and my father has never suggested that he thinks differently.
Name Andy Baker, 29
Occupation Social worker
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I'm an anarchist so it doesn't matter to me. I'm getting married in June in the Mennonite church. We're Orthodox Christian anarchists, and we're rejecting the state marriage license. We believe the state's involvement in marriage is nothing but divisive. Bush's proposal has nothing to do with anything but hisre-election. I notice that John Kerry isn't really touching this issue.
Name Apostolia Pentogenis, 22
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I think he's taking advantage of his position to impose a law. It's an election year and he's appealing to his conservative base. Gay couples should have the right to marry and civil unions, though a good start, don't give them the same rights as married people. Gays on television aren't very threatening. They're still a novelty in places outside of New York. The L Word is porn for straight men. I doubt many lesbians would find it very appealing.
Name Ryuichi Tanaka, 31
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I am from Japan, which is a conservative country. We can't imagine gay marriage. It's understandable that the president would propose thishe should promote the stability of the country. Conservatism and stability aren't exactly equivalent, but they're related. New York City is very liberal. When I first arrived, I was shocked by gay couples in the street, but after six years I'm used to it. I'm not sure about civil unions, but I understand it as an equal-rights issue.
Name Nicolette Callaway, 20
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I have no idea who Bush is talking to. I don't see the point of civil unions. We were just discussing this in my linguistics class. One of the new dictionaries, either the Oxford or the New Heritage, is going to come out with new definitions of marriage and of the word family: "One or two parents and their children," instead of "a man and a woman and their offspring."
Name George Lewis, 23
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I think it's wrong. It's a free country. If you're comfortable being with somebody, you should be. I don't know why Bush is doing it now. I also think the vice president's daughter, who's openly gay, should be more public about this issue.
Name Ari Averbach, 20
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I was watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show when the news of Bush's proposal on marriage interrupted it. I found that ironic. I don't agree with it because we're talking about two consenting adults. John Kerry says states' rights are being violatedhe should be saying that human rights are being violated.
Name John Sorensen, 45
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Bush has the right to propose anything he wants to. I would agree with a lot of congressional Republicans who say the issue should make its way through the courts. I take this a little personally, as I've been dealing with a failed constitutional amend-ment for years, and have learned what a torturous process it is. I agree with the aspect of conservatism that doesn't like to toy with things.
Name Rudy Singh, 27
Occupation Jewelry manufacturer
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? As much as I don't agree with what he's proposing, I think the issue should be debated publicly. I think representatives from the gay and lesbian community should debate the Bush administration. Everyone presents their side and there's a moderator. I don't know anything about civil unionsthese past couple of days I've been working very hard.
Name Paul Dobie, 42
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? It's ridiculous. I don't think Bush actually cares, but he has to do it to satisfy the conservatives. What are married people so concerned about? The "sanctity of marriage"? It's being portrayed as a black-and-white issue. This week I heard someone ask, "Now can I marry a duck?" Maybe we should be able to marry ducks.
Name Jordan Woods-Robinson, 19
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? Equally interesting was Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, "Gay marriage should be between a man and a woman." I think anyone who's a homophobe isn't comfortable with their sexuality. Bush doesn't understand most words in the English dictionary, let alone society's impulses.
Name Alicia Harding, 20
What do you think of Bush's proposed marriage amendment? I think it's wrong, and it's based on a fear of loss of power. It's a ballsy thing to do in an election year, to make such a strong statement on such a controversial issue. Gay unions are a way to placate gay voters and to keep them quiet, but I also think every little step is a step in the right direction and once they're put in place, they can't be taken back.
All Photographs: Anna Barry-Jester
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