With polls predicting the Republican Party could lose its majorities in next Tuesday’s congressional elections, George Bush has again attempted to rally conservative voters by attacking gay marriage.

Bush seized on news the state Supreme Court of New Jersey had ruled in favour of legalising same-sex unions. While the court stopped short of supporting gay marriage, it said same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes.

The court gave the New Jersey legislature six months to enact the necessary legislation to provide same-sex unions with equal rights to married couples.

For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order, Bush said on Monday.

Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman and should be defended.

This was the second time Bush had publicly raised the issue in the last week and other Republican politicians were also using the New Jersey decision to rally supporters.

Previously the election had been dominated by the war in Iraq and corruption in Washington, two topics which had disillusioned many Republican voters.

Meantime, Senator Hillary Clinton has told a group of gay and lesbian organisations during a meeting in Manhattan she had evolved on gay issues and would not oppose gay marriage being legalised in the state of New York.

Although she preferred civil unions over gay marriage, she said the decision should be left up to each state to decide, The Advocate reported.

My position is consistent. I support states making the decision, Clinton said.

When Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000 she said she opposed gay marriage based on the institution’s moral, religious and traditional foundations, Gay City News reported.

But she said her view had softened after many long conversations with friends. The problem would be getting the public to accept the term gay marriage, she believed.

I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out, Clinton, who has been touted as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said.

From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment.

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