October 14, 2004


Transcript: Third Presidential Debate (Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., October 13, 2004, Debate Transcript From FDCH E-Media, Inc.)

SCHIEFFER: [...] Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

BUSH: You know, Bob, I don't know. I just don't know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. It's important that we do that.

And I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live.

And that's to be honored.

But as we respect someone's rights, and as we profess tolerance, we shouldn't change -- or have to change -- our basic views on the sanctity of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I think it's very important that we protect marriage as an institution, between a man and a woman.

I proposed a constitutional amendment. The reason I did so was because I was worried that activist judges are actually defining the definition of marriage, and the surest way to protect marriage between a man and woman is to amend the Constitution.

It has also the benefit of allowing citizens to participate in the process. After all, when you amend the Constitution, state legislatures must participate in the ratification of the Constitution.

I'm deeply concerned that judges are making those decisions and not the citizenry of the United States. You know, Congress passed a law called DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.

My opponent was against it. It basically protected states from the action of one state to another. It also defined marriage as between a man and woman.

But I'm concerned that that will get overturned. And if it gets overturned, then we'll end up with marriage being defined by courts, and I don't think that's in our nation's interests.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.

I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it.

And I've met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them.

I think we have to respect that.

The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we're a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can't discriminate in the workplace. You can't discriminate in the rights that you afford people.

You can't disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I'm for partnership rights and so forth.

Now, with respect to DOMA and the marriage laws, the states have always been able to manage those laws. And they're proving today, every state, that they can manage them adequately.

Then why are their courts overturning their centuries old laws?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 14, 2004 11:50 AM

Here's the question I wish someone had asked Sen. Kerry, and for which he'd give an honest answer :

Based on all the current polling, no matter who wins the presidency, the GOP is going to control both houses of Congress next year. How will you get your plans through a Congress that will not be willing to do you any favors?

(I know, he's not going to answer this question, either claiming the premise is false, or more likely, he'd just expand on his answer to an earlier question.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 14, 2004 12:10 PM

For both my wife and I the ONLY two issues in this election are the GWOT and judges. Everything else will take care of itself.

Posted by: at October 14, 2004 12:15 PM

Can somebody explain to me why we have a President and Congress in the first place?

When we have a Supreme Court ruling by (five-to-four) decree?

Posted by: Ken at October 14, 2004 12:39 PM


If the GOP picks up 4+ Senate seats and 10+ in the House, look for a lot of votes to restrict the jurisdiction of the Federal courts on particular issues.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 14, 2004 12:54 PM

Then why are their courts overturning their centuries old laws?


Can you provide any examples please?

Posted by: Perry at October 14, 2004 1:50 PM


Posted by: oj at October 14, 2004 2:09 PM

"And I also know in a free society people, consenting adults can live the way they want to live. And that's to be honored." JFK


Posted by: luciferous at October 14, 2004 2:11 PM


Add HI to oj's list (though the voters overruled the Hawaiian Supreme Court through a ballot initiative).

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 14, 2004 3:14 PM