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rodbarnett Donating Member (577 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-10-04 08:40 AM
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Kerry treads cautiously on gay marriage ban
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MEMPHIS -- As Massachusetts lawmakers convene tomorrow to consider amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage, Senator John F. Kerry is attempting a difficult balancing act: preserving his reputation as a national leader on gay rights while remaining silent on the amendment debate that has gripped the gay community.

Kerry has said for months that he opposes gay marriage, as well as the ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court that cleared the way for such marriages starting in May, but that he supports civil unions that guarantee gay couples the same rights and benefits that married couples receive.

But for the fifth day, Kerry declined to say yesterday whether he would support a state constitutional amendment to prevent gays from marrying, even as the Massachusetts Republican Party chairman accused Kerry of being "evasive" on the issue.

Speaking at campaign rallies yesterday in two culturally conservative states, Virginia and Tennessee, which hold primaries today, Kerry laid out his plans for creating jobs, improving public school, and expanding health care in the nation. Civil rights for gays did not come up. But over the course of his career, Kerry has stood as "a hero on gay issues," said Boston media consultant Mary Breslauer, for supporting antibias laws protecting gays, and during his 1996 reelection race, denouncing the politically popular Defense of Marriage Act as "gay-bashing on the floor of the United States Senate."
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