President Bush is preparing a White House event to support Republican Senator Bill Frist’s attempt to ban same-sex marriage across the US through a proposed constitutional amendment.

Senator Frist and the Republican Senate will bring the controversial Federal Marriage Amendment to the floor of the Senate for a vote on June 6. The President will hold a White House event to express his support for the amendment the day before.

According to a White House spokesman, “The president firmly believes that marriage is an enduring and sacred institution between men and women and has supported measures to protect the sanctity of marriage.”

The White House decision to weigh in on Senator Frist’s divisive resolution comes despite the First Lady’s admonishment that marriage should not be used as a political issue, and even Vice President Cheney’s reported opposition to doing a White House event to support the bill.

“Because polls show that the American people, including their core supporters, have completely rejected their failed agenda, President Bush and Bill Frist are once again pushing a hate-filled Constitutional amendment that attacks LGBT Americans. This is not only immoral and un-American, but it is deeply hurtful to LGBT Americans and their families,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera.

The constitutional amendment would define marriage as only being between a man and woman, and would effectively bar individual states or judges from choosing to recognise same-sex marriage. The proposal will need two-thirds support both in the Senate and House, and must be ratified by at least 38 states to become law.

The President’s support of the bill is largely seen as political posturing to appease his conservative backers – pundits say that it stands little chance of being passed by the Senate, where it is reportedly struggling to find support among half of the members.

The same-sex marriage debate has become one of the key social and political issues of the time in the US, with various ongoing legal and legislative battles in many states aimed at recognising or barring gay unions.

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