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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Paper criticizes Kerry’s marriage stance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The editorial board of the largest newspaper in Sen. John Kerry’s own state has criticized him for endorsing a marriage amendment to the Massachusetts constitution.

The Boston Globe published an editorial Feb. 28 saying it is disappointed in Kerry and that his support could lead to a “separate discriminatory status” for homosexuals.

Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, opposes a federal constitutional marriage amendment but backs an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that would ban same-sex “marriage” while legalizing civil unions. He has made it clear that it is the only type of amendment he would favor.

“We have disagreed with Kerry on other issues over his long political career,” the newspaper stated. “And Kerry is, of course, free to hold a personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Many people share this view, though public attitudes have come so far so fast that broader acceptance is likely.

“This is precisely why enshrining a separate, discriminatory status for gays among the state’s guarantees of rights is so odious. Kerry’s instincts are right on the federal amendment. We wish he would follow them at home.”

The editorial underscores the fine line Kerry is walking on the issue. He says he opposes same-sex “marriage” but he favors no national remedy, saying it is a state issue. In 1996 he was one of only 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act.

He recently told a group of homosexual activists he believes that federal law should recognize same-sex “marriages” and civil unions that are legalized on the state level.

“We can understand why Senator John Kerry would like to neutralize gay marriage as an issue in the presidential election,” The Globe said. “We can also understand that civil unions offer him a pragmatic and popular compromise. But it is still disappointing that Kerry, whom the Globe has endorsed in the Democratic primary, is supporting an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution blocking gay marriage, even if the amendment includes substantial legal protections for same-sex couples.”

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, has criticized Kerry’s position.

“He’s said he supports the Massachusetts constitutional amendment, which would limit marriage to a man and a woman, but he’s against a federal constitution amendment to do the same thing,” Romney said on CNN, according to the Associated Press. “So, the fact that he’s not willing to be decisive and to be seen as taking a position on key issues is something, I think, that’ll harm him down the home stretch.”

MASS. UPDATE — With a state constitutional convention March 11 approaching, Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran is considering splitting a compromise marriage amendment in half, according to The Boston Globe. The first amendment would ban same-sex “marriage,” the second would legalize civil unions.

Finneran is consulting with Senate President Robert E. Travaglini on the compromise, the newspaper reported.

Legislators met in February but failed to pass any amendment. The earliest an amendment would go to voters is 2006.

The court ruling legalizing same-sex “marriage” takes effect in mid-May.

SEN. ENZI ON BOARD — Sen. Michael Enzi, R.-Wyo., signed on as a co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment March 3, increasing the number of Senate supporters to 11. In the House, Rep. Max Sandlin, D.-Texas, signed on, bringing the number of House supporters to 117.

NOT IN CHICAGO, YET — After days of uncertainty, Cook County (Ill.) clerk David Orr says he won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though he believes state law is unconstitutional and discriminatory, the Associated Press reported. Chicago sits in Cook County, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has said he supports legalized same-sex “marriage.”

UTAH VOTERS DECIDING — Utah’s House and Senate passed a constitutional marriage amendment March 3, meaning that state voters will decide the issue this November. The amendment passed the Senate 20-7, and shortly thereafter, the House 58-14, thus garnering the required two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Currently, only four states have amendments relating to same-sex “marriage.”

TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE VICTORIES — Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire and Wisconsin lawmakers saw marriage bills advance in voting March 1-5.

In Kansas, a constitutional marriage amendment passed the state House 88-36 and now moves to the Senate.

In Mississippi, the House passed a marriage amendment by a vote of 97-17, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

In Missouri, the Senate passed a marriage amendment 26-6, sending it to the House.

In Wisconsin, an amendment made it through the Assembly by a vote of 68-17. It now goes on to the Senate.

Amendments in Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri would go before voters this fall if approved by both chambers in each respective state. The Wisconsin amendment must be approved by both chambers in two consecutive sessions before going to voters, which would be spring 2005 at the earliest. All of states require two-thirds votes in each chamber.

In New Hampshire March 2, a Senate committee recommended approval of a bill banning same-sex “marriage” by a vote of 4-1, according to the Associated Press.

Kansas, Mississippi and Missouri have laws explicitly banning same-sex “marriage,” although a constitutional amendment is considered much stronger protection against court rulings. New Hampshire and Wisconsin have no such law.

INDIANA SQUABBLE ENDS — Indiana House Republicans have halted their attempt to force the Democratic Speaker of the House to consider a marriage amendment.

“We’ve lost,” House Minority Leader Brian Bosma told The Indianapolis Star March 3.

A marriage amendment passed the Republican controlled Senate but has been bottled up in committee in the Democrat-controlled House, even though it has enough votes to pass. House Speaker Patrick Bauer said the bill would not be considered this session, and House Republicans spent a week and a half walking out and boycotting. But with the House set to adjourn, Republicans saw there was no hope.

GA. HOUSE RECONSIDERS — The Georgia House voted 127-48 March 1 to reconsider a constitutional marriage amendment, days after defeating it. With hundreds of protesters outside — both pro and con — House members voted to hold a second vote, which has yet to be scheduled.

Needing 120 votes, the amendment received only 117 the first time. But 13 members either didn’t vote or were absent, according to the Savannah Morning News. Already, two members who either didn’t vote or were absent have expressed their intent to vote for the amendment. Rep. Glenn Richardson, a Republican, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that supporters have 122 votes. The Senate has already approved it.
For more information on the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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  • Michael Foust