Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The candidates on the Massachusetts decision: "I don't support same-sex marriage, but . . ."

Wesley Clark

As a society we should be looking for ways to bring us together and as someone who supports the legal rights of all Americans regardless of sexual-orientation, I appreciate today's decision. As President, I would support giving gays and lesbians the legal rights that married couples get.
If the Massachusetts legislature decides to legalize same-sex marriages, it will be up to each state to decide whether those marriages will be valid in their state - and that is a choice each state, not the courts, will have to make.
My hope is that disagreements over this issue can be handled with tolerance and understanding.

Howard Dean

As Governor of Vermont, I was proud to sign the nation's first law establishing civil unions for same-sex couples. Today, the Massachusetts Court appears to have taken a similar approach to the Vermont Supreme Court and its decision that led to our civil unions law. One way or another, the state should afford same-sex couples equal treatment under law in areas such as health insurance, hospital visitation and inheritance rights.
There will be those who try to use the decision today to divide Americans. Instead, this decision should be viewed as an opportunity to affirm what binds us together -- a fundamental belief in the equality of human beings, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.

John Edwards

As I have long said, I believe gay and lesbian Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws. While I personally do not support gay marriage, I recognize that different states will address this in different ways, and I will oppose any effort to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution in response to the Massachusetts decision.
We are a nation comprised of men and women from all walks of life. It is in our national character to provide equal opportunity to all, and this is what unites our country, in laws and in shared purpose. That is why today, we must also reach out to those individuals who will try to exploit this decision to further divide our nation, and ask them to refrain from that effort.

John Kerry

I have long believed that gay men and lesbians should be assured equal protection and the same benefits � from health to survivor benefits to hospital visitation - that all families deserve. While I continue to oppose gay marriage, I believe that today�s decision calls on the Massachusetts state legislature to take action to ensure equal protection for gay couples. These protections are long over due.

Joe Lieberman

Although I am opposed to gay marriage, I have also long believed that states have the right to adopt for themselves laws that allow same-sex unions. I will oppose any attempts by the right wing to change the Constitution in response to today's ruling, which would be unnecessary and divisive.