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Kerry supports amending Massachusetts Constitution but not U.S.

By |2004-04-03T09:00:00-05:00April 3rd, 2004|Uncategorized|

BOSTON – Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry criticized President Bush Feb. 25 for seeking to split Americans over the question of gay marriage.
Looking ahead to a general-election contest with Bush, Kerry said he opposed gay marriage but favored allowing states to determine their own laws. He charged that Bush, who backs a constitutional amendment opposing same-sex marriage, was using a “wedge issue” to distract attention from jobs, education and other topics.
“I think he’s a president in trouble and he’s just looking for a political change of subject,” Kerry told “Good Morning America” on ABC. “He doesn’t want to talk about the real issues in front of the nation.”
Though he opposes amending the US Constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples, Kerry said he supports amending the Massachusetts Constitution for the same purpose, as long as it provides for civil unions for same-sex couples.
“If the Massachusetts Legislature crafts an appropriate amendment that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection,” Kerry told The Boston Globe.
Kerry’s remark angered supporters of marriage for same-sex couples, who said it could help a stalled amendment offered by state legislators that defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman, but creates same-sex unions. Lawmakers are set to reconvene their constitutional convention on March 11.
In 1996, Kerry voted against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union of a man and woman. At the time, Kerry said he opposed gay marriage, but the law amounted to gay-bashing.
Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry, said Feb. 24 that she believed the country would eventually move toward acceptance of gay marriage.
“I think with time and without a lot of politicization of this, we’ll get there,” said Heinz Kerry while campaigning for her husband in San Francisco. “I think our country is basically a tolerant country.”
She told reporters she was “not surprised” by President Bush’s support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. She said she expected the Bush campaign would use her husband’s views on the issue against him in the presidential race if Kerry became the Democratic nominee.
Heinz Kerry said she sees the same sex marriage debate from the perspective of a mother because she has many friends struggling to come to terms with children who are gay.
“I think culturally we’re going through a huge change,” Heinz Kerry said. “I look at it in a human context because I have friends in those situations, and it’s terrible. All we owe people is dignity, respect and civil rights. I think the country will evolve.”

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.