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Hispanic Democratic group in Fla. rejects Kerry endorsement, citing moral issues

MIAMI (BP)–The Democratic League of Miami-Dade County has announced it does not endorse John Kerry for president, mainly because he is part of the current party leadership that has rejected the moral values and ethical principles of the vast majority of Democrats across the country, according to league chairman Eladio Jose Armesto.

With more than 1,000 members and a reach that expands to 100,000 pro-life, pro-family Democrats in Miami, the Democratic League was chartered by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party in 1989 and is primarily led by Hispanic-American Democrats.

The league released a statement Oct. 27, saying the Democratic presidential candidate stands “at a polar extreme of American public opinion” on certain issues, including same-sex “marriage,” partial-birth abortion and human cloning.

“Sen. Kerry’s voting record and public statements reveal a candidate who has disqualified himself from receiving the endorsement of pro-faith, pro-freedom, pro-life, pro-family Democrats,” the release said. “We believe the Democratic Party is rooted in the values of faith, freedom, family and country. If our party is to once again be a guiding light in America, it must do much, much better than extremists such as John Kerry and John Edwards.”

The group listed 10 reasons why they cannot endorse Kerry for president, including:

— Kerry’s stance on the definition of marriage. The Democratic League “supports civil marriage and all its benefits as being reserved exclusively to one man and one woman.” Kerry endorses homosexual civil unions, the league noted, and is against “protecting American taxpayers from being legally forced to extend government approval, financial benefits and moral legitimacy to sexual relationships other than civil marriage.”

— Kerry’s failure to support the right to life. “He has adamantly voted against the right to life in the U.S. Senate and he has sought and accepted the highly dubious endorsement of every major anti-life and anti-family outfit operating in the United States,” the statement said.

— Kerry’s attacks on the dignity of the human person. “He is against any and all ethical regulations stopping the National Institutes of Health from funding research on human dignity-degrading ‘human cloning.'”

— Kerry’s support of embryonic stem cell research. “He has voted against banning embryo-destructive stem cell research, thereby placing an anti-life political ideology over ethical principles and the common good,” the league said.

— Kerry’s failure to support the partial-birth abortion ban. The Democratic League “supports outlawing the barbaric crime of partial-birth abortion where a child is forced partially out of the mother’s womb, then murdered by piercing the back of the skull.”

Other reasons the Democratic League cited for opposing Kerry include his stances relating to parental notification laws for abortions, euthanasia, school vouchers, assisting families in developing Third World countries such as Mexico, and the appointment of Supreme Court justices.

“We don’t check in our consciences, our moral values or our ethical principles at the party hall door,” Armesto told Baptist Press. “We refuse to be censored, silenced or discriminated into submission to a political agenda that has been adopted against our consent and our better judgment. We will not read the current party leadership’s script nor will we tow a party line which we may find objectionable or contrary to the best interests of the Democratic Party.

“Within the Democratic Party, the league demands respect for our pro-family, pro-life conscience,” he added. “Only by tolerating and respecting Democrats such as ourselves will the current Democratic Party leadership be able to win elections and stand before the public and demonstrate that the party is the ‘big tent’ that they claim to be.”

While the league rejects Kerry, who Armesto said “is not a real Democrat,” it does not endorse President Bush.

“As a Democratic Party organization we can only endorse or support Democratic candidates,” Sara P. Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the league, said in an e-mail to Baptist Press. “However, just because a candidate is a Democrat does not mean we are obligated, under party rules, to endorse or support them. We do not feel compelled to rubber-stamp party candidates because that would not be in the best interest of the party.”

Armesto said the league did not endorse Al Gore for president in 2000 because he also had rejected the values of rank-and-file Democrats.

“They have been rejecting the moral values and the ethical principles of the vast majority of Democrats across the country,” he told BP. “That’s why the Democratic Party has been losing so many elections. That’s why we have been unable to endorse a Democratic candidate.”

Armesto observed that Democrats “have been losing ground because the party has been taken over by a small cadre of retrograde dogmatists, political extremists, ideological fanatics and social misfits who do not care, sending the Democratic Party to crushing defeat on election day as long as they get their anti-social agenda into the 6 p.m. newscast.”

Espinoza said no party in America should be under the control of individuals who put their extremist ideology above the good of the nation.

“American political parties can disagree on the war, the budget and the best way to get to the moon,” she said, “but they should never disagree on faith, life, freedom and family. Faith in God, strong families and hard work is what’s right with America, not what’s wrong.”

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  • Erin Curry