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Kerry, in 1996: Traditional view of marriage a ‘caste system’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Although Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry now says he is against same-sex “marriage,” in 1996 he came close to embracing its legalization, comparing bans on homosexual “marriage” to past bans on interracial marriage and calling the traditional view of marriage a “caste system.”

Writing for the homosexual-themed magazine “The Advocate,” Kerry’s column explained his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed the Senate 85-14 and was signed into law in 1996 by President Clinton. The law prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex “marriage” and also gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s same-sex “marriages.”

“Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage,” Kerry wrote in the first-person column, which was published Sept. 3, 1996, and recently posted on the magazine’s website.

“I will not be party to that. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained 30 years ago, ‘Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married.’ This is the essence of the American pursuit of happiness and the core of the struggle for equality.”

Kerry also asserted that DOMA was unconstitutional and that the U.S. Constitution’s full faith and credit clause requires states to recognize the marriage licenses of another state — a position Kerry has since reversed.

“The authors of the bill mistakenly claim that Congress has the authority to allow one state to ignore a legally recognized marriage in another,” he wrote in 1996. “But the U.S. Constitution is unequivocal on this point: ‘Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.’

“Imagine the confusion if we didn’t have such a clause: A child-custody decision in California could be ignored by Illinois; a divorce concluded in Nevada could be rejected in New York. DOMA does violence to the spirit and letter of the Constitution by allowing the states to divide.”

In a February Democratic presidential debate, Kerry distanced himself from his 1996 position on the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I think, under the full faith and credit [clause], that I was incorrect in that statement,” he said at the debate, which was held in California. “I think, in fact, that no state has to recognize something that is against their public policy.”

The Defense of Marriage Act is at the heart of the battle by homosexual activists to legalize same-sex “marriage” nationally. If it is overturned in federal court, then, presumably, a same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts would have to be recognized in some if not all states.

A ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts — Kerry’s home state — is set to take effect May 17.

In his column, Kerry encouraged homosexuals to speak out on political issues. He also lumped homosexual rights into the category of civil rights.

“We will win this fight for civil rights,” he wrote. “We will win the fight for equal protection under the law. We will win the right for all Americans to live with whom they love without the fear of discrimination and violence.

“I learned from the struggles of the ’60s and ’70s that the wheels of progress turn slowly. We must all push together as one powerful force to roll over the obstacles of hatred and bigotry in this country. The strongest menace we face is not DOMA but our own inertia and complacency.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit

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  • Michael Foust