Kerry Opposed State Gay Marriage Ban

On July 12, 2002, Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) signed a letter organized by Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass,.) in opposition to a state constitutional amendment that would have limited marriage in Massachusetts to “only the union of one man and one woman.” As reported by the Associated Press, the letter said, “We believe it would be a grave error for Massachusetts to enshrine in our Constitution a provision which would have such a negative effect on so many of our fellow residents.” A year later the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the state legislature to legalize gay marriages within 180 days. Kerry’s positioning on this issue resembles his position on the Iraq War–which he voted for but then opposed. In 1996, Kerry was one of 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that President Clinton signed into law. DOMA protected states from having to recognize gay “marriages” contracted in other states. Now, however, Kerry says he is against gay “marriage.” In a Senate floor speech in opposition to DOMA, Kerry said, “It is hard to believe that this bill is anything other than a thinly veiled attempt to score political debating points by scapegoating gay and lesbian Americans.” A senior White House aide recently told a gathering of leading social conservatives that President Bush will endorse and aggressively push for congressional approval of the Federal Marriage Amendment sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R.-Colo.). The amendment says: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.” There has been some confusion as to whether this would ban “civil unions.” Many early backers thought it would. But Alliance for Marriage President Matt Daniels told the Washington Post last week that he sees a “good chance” that congressional hearings will alter the amendment to make it clear it does not ban civil unions. Daniels opposes banning civil unions in a constitutional amendment.