Though Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry says he opposes legalizing same-sex marriage, critics are pointing to the candidate’s radical statements and writings in favor of homosexual marriage and claim this is one more divisive issue on which Kerry is attempting to play to both sides in an election year.
Kerry was one of just a few senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which then-President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996.
In a 1996 column for the homosexual publication the Advocate, Kerry slammed the act, known as DOMA, calling it “as unconstitutional and unnecessary as it is mean-spirited and malicious.”
DOMA, which passed with the support of 85 senators, says states are not required to recognize same-sex marriages licensed in other states. “Marriage” is defined in the law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”
In his column, Kerry cites the Constitution’s “Full Faith and Credit” clause, saying Congress does not have the authority to let states off the hook.
Wrote Kerry: “Imagine the confusion if we didn’t have such a clause: A child-custody decision in California could be ignored by Illinois; a divorce concluded in Nevada could be rejected in New York. DOMA does violence to the spirit and letter of the Constitution by allowing the states to divide.”
Kerry claimed DOMA created a “caste system” in the United States.
“It seems no coincidence that every election year a few politicians gang together for some legislative gay bashing,” he wrote. “This behavior panders to the basest instincts of the human condition – scapegoating and ostracizing.
“But we are a better nation than that. Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage.”
The senator praised homosexuals for their contribution to society.
“I have long believed that gay people have a role in all public policy. Each gay man and lesbian in urban centers and small towns across this country brings a wealth of experience to the discussion of civil rights and discrimination.”
Kerry even tied in his Vietnam service, lamenting “when the Senate debated the outrageous ban on gays in the military.”
Wrote Kerry: “I knew firsthand from my tours [sic] of duty in Vietnam the bravery and distinction with which gay soldiers served their country.”
While Kerry verbally opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution the Senate took up last month – he and running mate John Edwards did not vote on the issue – he has said he opposes states licensing same-sex marriage.
Campaigning in Missouri last week, Kerry said he would have voted for the ban on homosexual marriage that state’s voters passed Aug. 3 with 71 percent support. He also supports a similar ban pending in his home state of Massachusetts.
Though supporting state bans on same-sex marriage, Kerry has strongly supported “civil unions” for homosexuals. A page on his campaign website states: “John Kerry and John Edwards will work to support civil unions, prevent hate crimes, end discrimination, increase HIV/AIDS funding, and will protect Gay and Lesbian families.”
Not all homosexual groups embrace Kerry’s ability to seemingly play both sides of the same-sex marriage issue. The Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual group, slammed the Democrat Tuesday for supporting the Missouri measure.
“We are deeply disappointed that Senator Kerry has decided to play politics with the constitutional process in Missouri,” Log Cabin Executive Director Patrick Guerriero told the Advocate. “It is yet another example of a Kerry flip-flop.”
Asked Chris Barron, political director for Log Cabin: “What is Senator Kerry’s message to gay and lesbian Americans? His message seems pretty clear; Senator Kerry will support discriminatory amendments when it becomes politically expedient.”
Though Kerry now supports a ban on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, two years ago he signed a letter addressed to state legislators in opposition to a state constitutional amendment that would have barred recognition of homosexual relationships.
“The proposal to add to that document – essentially a charter of liberty and democracy – a provision as harsh both in its intent and its effect on our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered constituents is in conflict with the generous spirit that motivated its adoption, and that should continue to govern us today,” stated the letter.
The Kerry campaign sees no contradiction or flip-flopping in the senator’s position.
“John Kerry’s position has been crystal clear,” spokesman David Wade told USA Today earlier this year. “He opposed a proposed constitutional amendment in Massachusetts in the summer of 2002 because a sweeping proposal would have threatened civil unions, health benefits, or inheritance rights for gay couples that represent equal protection under the law.
“John favors civil unions, not gay marriage. It’s that simple.”
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