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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Dean keeps views on marriage to himself

WASHINGTON (BP)–Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean discussed the issue of same-sex “marriage” during an interview Dec. 1 with The San Francisco Chronicle but refused to give his personal views on the subject.

The former Vermont governor told the Chronicle that it’s “up to the people of each state” whether to legalize same-sex “marriage” and that he’s not “going to make a value judgment” on states — like Massachusetts — that choose to do so.

Dean noted that his state — following a court order — chose to legalize civil unions rather than same-sex “marriage.”

Asked why heterosexual couples are allowed to obtain marriage licenses but homosexual couples are not, Dean said: “Marriage started out as a religious institution, and most people still think of it that way. We focused on the notion of equal rights under the law for every American. And civil unions grants that.”

The Chronicle then asked him if he believes same-sex “marriage” is wrong or if he simply doesn’t believe society is ready to legalize it.

“All I can tell you is that we did not do gay marriage in our state,” Dean said. “I’ll say this again, if you like. I’ll say this as many times as you want. The job of the state is to make sure that every person has equal rights the same as everyone else. That’s what civil union does.”

The Chronicle reported that Dean “at one point” sounded “exasperated that he was being asked the same question repeatedly.”

Dean opposes a constitutional amendment that would protect the traditional definition of marriage. The Chronicle said he “supports full equality on matters including filing joint tax returns, Social Security benefits, immigration and hospital visits.”

Most of the other major Democrat candidates have said they personally oppose same-sex “marriage,” even though they all oppose a constitutional amendment.

A Zogby poll released Dec. 4 showed Dean leading his closest rival by 30 points in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary Jan. 27.

MASSACHUSETTS OPTIONS — Speaking publicly for the first time since the Massachusetts court ruling Nov. 18, Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran said Dec. 4 he sees three options for the Massachusetts legislature: passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage,” passing a law legalizing civil unions or doing nothing.

“The ultimate answer to all of this is, what does the majority of the members want to do on this,” he told The Globe.

Most legislators have concluded that at a minimum, civil unions will be legalized, the paper reported.

CREWS QUESTIONS POLLS — Although two polls in Massachusetts suggested that a plurality of adults there support the court ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage,” Ron Crews of the Massachusetts Family Institute thinks otherwise.

“I don’t believe those polls,” Crews, president of the Massachusetts organization, told Baptist Press.

A Boston Globe poll showed adults supporting the ruling by a 50-38 margin, while a Boston Sunday Herald poll showed voters supporting it 49-38.

“We’ve had some folks trying to get the polling instrument, the exact questions that were used,” he said. “And so far, the Globe has not released those to us.

“We’ve done some polling ourselves, and our initial results are quite different, showing that there is support in the Commonwealth for an amendment for marriage. We’re going to be doing some more polling, and those results will be released whenever we get it done.”

OHIO UPHILL BATTLE — The struggle to make Ohio the 38th state with a defense of marriage act may face an uphill battle. According to Gannett News Service, the act — which would prohibit the recognition of same-sex “marriages” from another state — faces a battle in the state senate.

“It will never pass the Senate,” state Rep. Tom Brinkman told the news service.

House Speaker Larry Householder and Gov. Bob Taft both support it, according to Gannett.

But supporters of the act are hopeful because the senate has a new president who promises to put it in committee if it passes the House. Last year’s senate president declined to take any action, Gannett reported.

AMENDMENT IN IDAHO — Although Idaho state law already bans same-sex “marriage,” a state legislator there wants to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would strengthen the ban, according to The Idaho Statesman newspaper.

State Rep. Henry Kulczyk says he’ll introduce the amendment, which he hopes will go before voters next November. It will require passage by two-thirds of the state house and senate to put it on the ballot.

“Are we going to accept homosexual marriages in Idaho or not? I say no,” he told the newspaper.

A similar amendment in Massachusetts would have prevented that state’s court from ruling the way it did.

CANADIAN SUPPORT DECLINING? — A new poll suggests that Canadians’ opinions on same-sex “marriage” may have shifted in recent months.

According to the poll of 1,000 adults conducted in October and November for the National Post newspaper, 31 percent of Canadians are for same-sex “marriage,” 30 percent are against it and 37 percent are against it but believe a category for civil unions should be created. A poll in September and October by Environics found that 56 percent supported same-sex “marriage.”

It is legal for homosexuals to “marry” in British Columbia and Ontario, and the federal government is moving toward nationwide legalization.

MIDLER ON MARRIAGE — Singer Bette Midler, long considered an ally of homosexual activists, recently questioned the commitment homosexual men may have toward same-sex “marriage.”

Appearing on “Larry King Live,” Midler said that while homosexual women may be able to have long-term commitments, homosexual men might not.

“But gay men, they like to — you know, they like to move around,” she said, according to a transcript. “They like to have — you know, they’re — that’s part of it. That’s part of the fun of being a gay man. So if they’re married, does that mean they’re not going to cheat [that] they’re only going to be with one….”

Answering a follow-up question from King, Midler said she wondered “what that commitment is going to be about.”

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  • Michael Foust