President Bush on Monday renewed his call for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages (search).

On the same day that Massachusetts began issuing licenses to gay couples, Bush said in a statement, "The sacred institution of marriage should not be redefined by a few activist judges."

In the statement, read aboard Air Force One by White House press secretary Scott McClellan while traveling to Topeka, Kan., Bush said that "all Americans have a right to be heard in this debate."

Noting that he had called on Congress some time ago to pass a constitutional amendment banning such marriages, Bush said "the need for that amendment is still urgent, and I renew that call today."

Although Bush has not actively put pressure on Congress to pass the measure, McClellan said the White House had been "in close contact with members of Congress" in an attempt to get the measure moving.