WEIGHING IN: In his announcement, President Bush said amending the Constitution "is never to be undertaken lightly." He called a ban on same-sex marriages a matter of "national importance."

<a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PEPLT000857" title="George W. Bush" href="/topic/politics/government/presidents-of-the-united-states/george-w.-bush-PEPLT000857.topic">President Bush</a> walks in to make an announcement in the Roosevelt Room of the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PLCUL000110" title="White House" href="/topic/politics/government/executive-branch/white-house-PLCUL000110.topic">White House</a>, Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004, that he will back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in an attempt to halt same-sex unions like the thousands that have been allowed this month in San Francisco.

( AP Photo/Susan Walsh / February 24, 2004 )

President Bush walks in to make an announcement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb 24, 2004, that he will back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in an attempt to halt same-sex unions like the thousands that have been allowed this month in San Francisco.

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