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Romney, Bush contend some judges go too far

Both Governor Mitt Romney and President Bush have criticized ''activist judges" who have legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts. Here are some examples.

Romney: ''Beware of activist judges. The Legislature is our lawmaking body, and it is the Legislature's job to pass laws. . . . While the law protects states from being forced to recognize gay marriage, activist state courts could reach a different conclusion, just as ours did. It would be disruptive and confusing to have a patchwork of inconsistent marriage laws between states. Amending the Constitution may be the best and most reliable way to prevent such confusion and preserve the institution of marriage." (Wall Street Journal op-ed, Feb. 5, 2004)

Romney: ''The real threat to the states is not the constitutional amendment process, in which the states participate, but activist judges who disregard the law and redefine marriage in order to impose their will on the states, and on the whole nation. At this point, the only way to reestablish the status quo ante is to preserve the definition of marriage in the federal Constitution before courts redefine it out of existence." (Testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee, June 22, 2004)

Romney: The Supreme Judicial Court opinion allowing same-sex couples to marry was ''a blow to the entire nation when it comes to our culture. . . . It has always been and should always be the right of a child to have a mother and a father." (Speech to Iowa Republicans, Oct. 16, 2004)

Bush: ''I proposed a constitutional amendment [to ban gay marriage]. 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. . . . I'm deeply concerned that judges are making those decisions, and not the citizenry of the United States." (Third presidential debate, Oct. 13, 2004)

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