(CNSNews.com) - A conservative advocacy group says President Bush, having delivered a speech on immigration reform, should now demonstrate "presidential leadership" on the marriage issue, a key concern of "values voters."
In a "Washington Update" on Tuesday, the Family Research Council said it is not demanding such a speech from the president -- "but when the First Lady is disparaging the issue and when the Vice President lets stand unrebutted Mary Cheney's claims, we think some demonstration of Presidential leadership is warranted -- and overdue."
In a recent appearance on "Fox News Sunday," First Lady Laura Bush said the debate over marriage "requires a lot of sensitivity," adding, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."
A homosexual advocacy group likes what it heard from Mrs. Bush: "It's time to heed her advice," said Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality."
"First Lady Laura Bush has her finger on the pulse of America. Voters want candidates focused on soaring gas prices, a health care crisis and national security, not putting discrimination in the United States Constitution," Solmonese wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Monday.
Mary Cheney, making a round of media appearances to promote her new book, also is speaking against the federal marriage amendment: "It is writing discrimination into the Constitution, and...it is fundamentally wrong," she has said.
But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, speaking for conservatives, says marriage is under attack in this country and the only way to protect it is with a constitutional amendment.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a measure defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman on June 6.
President Bush has said he supports such an amendment, given the attempts of "activist judges" to redefine marriage. "Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society," the president said two years ago. "Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all," he said.
The Marriage Protection Amendment, formerly called the Federal Marriage Amendment, was a key issue for the Republican campaigns of 2004, and it remains a key issue for conservatives as the midterm election approaches.
See Earlier Stories:
Conservatives Look to June Vote on Marriage Amendment (26 April 2006)
Homosexual Advocacy Group Launches Campaign Against Marriage Amendment (1 May 2006)