[Marxism] Nader & Democrats on Gay Marriage
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Feb 24 06:01:37 MST 2004
***** MR. RUSSERT: Civil rights: Many gay couples believe that
they should be allowed to be married. You heard Governor
Schwarzenegger say he disagrees with that. Democrat candidates will
say they're for civil unions but not gay marriage. Would Ralph Nader
support gay marriage?
MR. NADER: I support equal rights for same-sex couples. I think
there's an interesting quote by a lesbian leader in The New York
Times a few days ago when she said, "It's not a matter of labels,
it's a matter of equal rights." However, that can occur by adjusting
state laws or having a federal law. That is certainly something that
the gay-lesbian community is going to have to work out.
MR. RUSSERT: But gays should be allowed to be married if they so
choose, according to you.
MR. NADER: Of course. Love and commitment is not exactly in surplus
in this country.
***** Vol. VIII Issue 16 Monday, February 23, 2004
John Kerry May Support Constitutional Marriage Amendment
Democratic Candidate Strongly Opposes Same-Sex Marriages
Senator says 'It Depends Entirely on (Amendment's) Language'
By Rex Wockner
Leading Democratic presidential contender Senator John Kerry is not
necessarily opposed to a constitutional amendment to permanently ban
same-sex marriage, he told National Public Radio's All Things
Considered February 9.
Kerry was asked: "I'd like to turn to the subject of gay marriage.
The highest court in your home state of Massachusetts has said that
same-sex couples do have the right to marry. I know you've said that
you oppose gay marriage, but would you support a constitutional
amendment that would define marriage as a heterosexual union?"
He replied: "Well, it depends entirely on the language of whether it
permits civil union and partnership or not. I'm for civil union. I'm
for partnership rights.
"I think what ought to condition this debate is not the term marriage
as much as the rights that people are afforded," Kerry continued.
"Obviously under the Constitution of the United States you need equal
protection under the law. And I think equal protection means the
rights that go with it. I think the word marriage kind of gets in the
way of the whole debate, to be honest with you, because marriage to
many people is obviously what is sanctified by a church. It's
sacramental. Or by a synagogue or by a mosque or by whatever
religious connotation it has. Clearly there's a separation of church
and state here. ... Marriage is a separate institution. I think
marriage is under the church, between a man and a woman, and I think
there's a separate meaning to it."
Kerry said this holds true even for civil marriages that are not
conducted in a house of worship.
"Even for those that aren't, there's still two meanings," he said. "I
mean, the state picked up the concept [of marriage] afterwards. It's
a latecomer to the state."
The day after the NPR interview, Kerry's campaign said he was talking
about amending Massachusetts' constitution not the U.S. Constitution.
On February 4, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court mandated that
the state offer regular marriage to same-sex couples by May 17, and
some state legislators hope to amend the state constitution to block
"Senator Kerry opposes a federal constitutional amendment, he has
always opposed a federal constitutional amendment on gay marriage,
and if someone listened to an NPR interview and believes otherwise,
then he was reacting to a different question, a question about a
Massachusetts amendment, not a federal constitutional amendment,"
Deputy Campaign Manager Steve Elmendorf said in a telephone call to
Several hours later, the campaign e-mailed this reporter multiple
copies of a new press release quoting Kerry as saying, "I remain
firmly opposed to any federal amendment on this issue."
Asked if it wouldn't be odd of Kerry to oppose amending the U.S.
Constitution but not the Massachusetts Constitution, Elmendorf said:
"The federal Constitution and the state of Massachusetts Constitution
are two different constitutions. The state constitutional amendment
has not been written -- it is a hypothetical -- and we're going to
wait and see what it is. ... The Constitution of the United States of
America is entirely different. He does not think the U.S.
Constitution should be tampered with over an issue like this."
Asked if Kerry thinks the Massachusetts Constitution should be
tampered with over an issue like this, Elmendorf said, "He has not
made that decision yet. ... He would consider it."
NPR spokesperson Laura Gross and All Things Considered host Melissa
Block refused to say whether Block had intended to ask Kerry about
the U.S. Constitution or the Massachusetts Constitution.
"Melissa Block asked a question and Senator Kerry answered the
question the way he interpreted it to be asked," Gross said. "That's
a little confusing. It doesn't matter what she was asking him one way
or the other. That was the question that was asked, and he answered
Despite his opposition to same-sex marriage, Kerry was one of only 14
senators who voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]
that passed Congress and was signed into law by Bill Clinton.
"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian
tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or
judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or
tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that
is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State,
territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from
such relationship. ... In determining the meaning of any Act of
Congress, or of any ruling, regulati
on, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and
agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal
union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word
'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband
or a wife."
Kerry told NPR:
"I opposed it [DOMA] because I thought it was gaybashing on the floor
of the United States Senate. It was one of those examples of
ideological Republicans trying to drive wedges into the electorate of
America, and I objected to the Senate being used for that, even as I
still said at the time, 'I don't personally support [gay] marriage as
we understand it within the context of religion.'"
On February 4, Kerry voiced his disagreement with the Massachusetts
ruling which, in addition to mandating legalization of full same-sex
marriage, forcefully rejected the notion of civil unions as
"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom,
if ever, equal," the court said.
Kerry stated: "I believe the right answer is civil unions. I oppose
gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court's decision."
***** Indeed, of the nine candidates running for the Democratic
nomination, six say they do not support gay marriage -- Lieberman,
Kerry, Gephardt, retired Gen. Wesley Clark of Arkansas, Sen. John
Edwards of North Carolina and the front-runner, former Gov. Howard
Dean of Vermont.
Only three are on record supporting full marriage rights for same-sex
couples -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, civil rights activist the
Rev. Al Sharpton of New York and former Sen. Carole Moseley Braun of
Illinois. All three are considered long shots for the nomination.
Ohio State University
<furuhashi.1 at osu.edu>
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