WASHINGTON (BP)–The major Democratic candidates for president believe the federal government should recognize state-level “gay marriages” — a position that would require repealing a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, according to a questionnaire the candidates filled out for the Human Rights Campaign.
U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards and four other Democratic candidates all favor repealing Section 3 of DOMA and having the federal government grant the federal legal benefits of marriage to same-sex couples on the state level who are “married,” such as those in Massachusetts. As it stands now under DOMA, the federal government does not recognize such “marriages.”
The survey by HRC, the nation’s largest homosexual activist organization, found nearly unanimous views on 15 homosexual issues by the Democratic candidates. Also favoring federal recognition of state-level “gay marriages” are U.S. Sens. Joseph Biden and Christopher Dodd, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel did not respond to the survey.
All seven Democrats who responded also support civil unions for same-sex couples, and all seven favor overturning the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prevents homosexuals from serving openly. The only question in the survey that lacked unanimity was the one on “gay marriage.” Kucinich was the only one supporting its legalization.
“It is extremely encouraging to finally see the focus of the debate around the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans center around extending the American value of equality to all people,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. “2008 is not 2004, and the American people have already put out the warning that divisive, wedge politics that pit neighbor against neighbor will not be tolerated.”
The other sections of DOMA give states the option of not recognizing another state’s “gay marriages.” Although the survey did not address that portion of the law, at least two of the candidates — Obama and Kucinich — have said in the past they support repealing DOMA in its entirety. That presumably could force all the states to recognize “gay marriage.”
The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. Solmonese called the candidates’ positions on DOMA in the questionnaire “groundbreaking.”
According to the questionnaire, the seven candidates also support:
— passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the workplace.
— passage of a federal hate crimes bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the current law.
— extending federal benefits to same-sex couples and their children “provided the partnership meets certain federal standards of commitment and mutuality of interest.”
— expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to include homosexual couples.
— paying survivor benefits to partners of homosexuals.
— treating same-sex couples, under tax laws, the same as married couples.
— giving domestic partner benefits to federal homosexual employees.
— allowing same-sex couples to adopt. The candidates said they oppose laws that ban it.
— passage of the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow a homosexual U.S. citizen to petition for immigration sponsorship for a same-sex partner.
— funding for the Ryan White Care Act and increased funding for HIV/AIDS research.
— passage of the Responsible Education About Life Act, which would provide federal money to schools to teach about premarital sex and contraceptives and, presumably, homosexuality.
Compiled by Michael Foust