“We score the debate for 10 to 6 in favor of Kerry (out of a maximum score of 10).  Social issues comprised a significant portion of the debate. Bush’s positions highlighted his attitude of moral superiority.

One of the most interesting questions of the evening was when Bush and Kerry were asked about sexual orientation and gay marriage.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, let’s get back to economic issues. But let’s shift to some other questions here.
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.

Bush could not simply answer that it was not a matter of choice, but one of biology. 
The right wing view that homosexuality is a choice has been used to condemn the gay community.  Their premise is that heterosexual relationships are natural, and one has to actively choose to be “unnatural” in order to enter into a homosexual relationship.  This is the basis (along with a series of disputed biblical citations) for the extreme disdain of homosexuals by the extreme right-wing conservatives.

Bush was cornered by Schieffer’s question and did not have a rehearsed stock answer.  No statistic, fact, or figure could help him dodge the question.  Instead, the President simply said, “I don’t know.”

The President continued his comments by praising himself for proposing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
So what exactly does Bush mean when he talks about protecting the “sanctity of marriage?”  Let’s take a look:

1. The state or quality of being sacred or holy; holiness; saintliness; moral purity; godliness.
2. Sacredness; solemnity; inviolability; religious binding force; as, the sanctity of an oath.
3. A saint or holy being. [R.]

There certainly seems the be a significant bit of religious connotation to the word “sanctity.”  Is he furthering his own religious views on the rest of the country?
Consider Bush’s comments on the role religion plays in his policy decisions:

SCHIEFFER: I would like to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?
BUSH: First, my faith plays a lot — a big part in my life.
[ Later in the same response ]
Religion is an important part. I never want to impose my religion on anybody else.

So, when questioned about what role religion plays in policy decisions, Bush maintains that religion plays an important part.  On the same note, he insists that he would “…never want to impose [his] religion on anybody else.”

An odd “flip-flop” becomes apparent.  In his eyes, marriage is regarded as a holy exercise between a man and a woman. He will fight for a constitutional amendment to ensure it’s “moral purity.”  Of course at the same time, he insists his religions beliefs will not be imposed on anyone else.

The specific nature and definition of marriage is out of scope for this article, however, the force-feeding of his values is what should be stressed here.  He is encroaching on the lives of many Americans, by imposing his own personal beliefs. 

Kerry, on the other hand is a clear step in the right direction.  There will be no attempt to write discrimination into the constitution.  He is for civil unions, and based on his comments and past actions, will not object to states granting marriage licenses to the gay community.  Look at Massachusetts!

Overall, the issue is not one of religion, but is a basic issue of humanity.  Marriage is not just a holy activity; it is the human bond of love and compassion. Does the President have the humanity to recognize all people as equal, and deserving equal protection and access under the law?  It’s a clear no from the Bush side, and a clear yes from Kerry.