— From NBC's Kevin Corke and Tammy Kupperman
DES MOINES, IA -- President Bush, speaking today at a function here for congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti (R) -- whom he twice referred to as Dave -- just criticized yesterday's court ruling in New Jersey, which said that gay couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples, but left it to the state legislature to determine whether their union should be called marriage or something else.
"We believe marriage is a fundamental institution of civilization," Bush said. "Yesterday in New Jersey we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and I believe -- I believe it's a sacred institution, and it's critical to the health of our society and the well being of families, and it must be defended."