The text of the speech is here.
First off, no matter what people may have you believe, he did not endorse the FMA, he did not endorse H. J. RES. 56 or S. J. RES 26 which have been introduced in Congress. He called for AN amendment, but not any particular amendment. He never endorses any particular wording for the amendment. No mention is made of the troublesome "legal incidents thereof". He doesn't say civil unions should be banned at the same time. In fact, he actually says it should protect marriage while leaving the door open for other arrangements like civil unions.
The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.
Secondly, he addresses how this isn't necessarily an action against states' rights.
The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.
Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.
I believe... that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's my belief. If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union... that would be a good amendment.
Keeping in mind the President's "free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage" belief, would anybody care to point out how Kerry's position differs from that of President Bush.
I expect not, but since President Bush is a conservative some have no problem distorting his stance and calling him a bigot.
It's been pointed out that the clip I was working off of above for Senator Kerry's quote was actually in reference to a hypothetical Massachusetts amendment. That would mean that Kerry is taking a more states’ rights approach to gay marriage, but all the same he comes out banning gay marriage and allowing for civil unions, the same as President Bush.
Those calling President Bush a bigot, or who say he’s homophobic and that he doesn’t like gays aren’t doing so because of qualms over states’ rights. They’re doing so because he wants to define marriage as between a man and a woman, the same as Senator Kerry so I stand by the conclusion that he’s getting more heat than a liberal for the same opinions.