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Report: Bush backs $1.5 billion marriage plan

Bush administration officials are planning a $1.5 billion election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Bush administration officials are planning a $1.5 billion election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Administration officials have worked with conservative groups for months on the proposal, the paper said, and are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.

The plan would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain “healthy marriages,” the paper said.

According to the Times, the officials said they believed the measure was timely because they were facing pressure from conservatives eager to see the federal government defend traditional marriage, after the highest court in Massachusetts ruled in November that gay couples had a right to marry.

Some conservative Christian groups want the president to champion a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, but he has refrained from going that far, saying only that he'd back an amendment that would "honor marriage between a man and a woman."