NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Presumed Democratic nominee John Kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate July 6 in hopes of balancing the ticket with a senator that some view as a southern moderate.
But on the social, hot-button issues — abortion and homosexual rights — Kerry and Edwards are virtually identical.
Both men oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, support legalizing Vermont-style civil unions and favor eliminating the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In addition, both voted against the partial-birth abortion ban and have touted their pro-choice records.
After Kerry’s announcement homosexual activist groups and abortion rights groups praised the selection of Edwards, saying that the North Carolina senator has been a leader for both pro-choice and “GLBT” (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) issues.
“Senator Edwards is steadfast in his support of our community,” Cheryl Jacques, president of the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “From co-sponsorship of key legislation to opposing anti-GLBT adoption policies, Sen. Edwards has demonstrated leadership on our issues in Congress.”
Dave Noble, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, also praised the Democratic ticket.
“The selection of Senator Edwards solidifies the most pro-gay, pro-family ticket in the history of presidential politics,” Noble said in a statement. “Senator Edwards has loudly demonstrated his support for our community and now our community is ready to stand with him. The Kerry/Edwards ticket greatly contrasts with a Republican ticket that insists on running a campaign that demeans our families and smears our community.”
In 2001-2002, Kerry and Edwards each received a 100-percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign on votes of importance to the homosexual community.
Similarly, both men also have received a 100-percent rating on abortion votes from NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League).
“During his nearly six years in the U.S. Senate, John Edwards — like John Kerry — has consistently voted according to the dictates of hard-line pro-abortion advocacy groups, and contrary to the policies favored by most Americans,” Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said in a statement.
Among the ways that Kerry and Edwards agree:
— Both oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex “marriage” and gives states the option of doing the same. While Edwards was not in the Senate when DOMA passed in 1996, he said in a debate Feb. 26 that he would have voted against it.
— Both believe the federal government should recognize the same-sex “marriages” of individual states such as Massachusetts. Right now, the Defense of Marriage Act prevents that from happening.
“If California chooses to recognize same-sex marriage, that’s fine,” Edwards said on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in February. “If Massachusetts chooses to recognize it, then the federal government ought to honor that.”
— Both oppose Bush’s call for passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment. In February Edwards released a statement saying he opposes same-sex “marriage,” but adding that individual states should be allowed to legalize it if they wish.
“I … oppose President Bush’s attempt to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage,” Edwards said. “Washington has no business playing politics with this issue. Marriage is left to the states today, and should remain with the states.”
Bush argues that without a constitutional amendment, the federal courts will legalize same-sex “marriage”.
— During the campaign both have touted their pro-choice records.
Edwards released a statement in January, celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
“You and I know that since the Supreme Court handed down this landmark decision, forces have been hard at work trying to overturn it,” he said. “When it comes to a woman’s right to choose, there is no choice: I support it and will protect it one hundred percent.
“The president and the Republican Leadership have one goal in mind-to over turn Roe v Wade-and we have a million reasons and ways to stop them and we will start by taking back the White House in 2004.”
For information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit