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Revealing interviews: 3 Dem. candidates talk to homosexual mag

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A popular homosexual magazine has landed interviews with three of the leading Democrat contenders in recent months, revealing much about the candidates that normally goes unsaid on the campaign trail.

A smiling Wesley Clark tells readers in the Feb. 3 edition of The Advocate that he “absolutely” would support a decision by Massachusetts legalizing same-sex “marriage” and that he believes the issue should be left up to the states.

But he isn’t the first Democrat candidate to talk with the magazine. Howard Dean was featured on the cover last April, and an interview with John Kerry was published in September. Richard Gephardt, who has dropped out of the race, also did an interview.

The Advocate is considered by many to be the nation’s top homosexual-themed newsmagazine.

At least on social issues, the interviews with the candidates generally are more revealing than their stump speeches and day-to-day interviews.

“I support whatever the state says,” Clark told The Advocate. “If the state of Massachusetts says we’re going to form a civil union but we’re going to call it marriage, then as far as I’m concerned, that’s marriage.”

“And what about the federal rights that come with marriage?” he was asked.

“They come,” Clark replied.

“So you support Massachusetts’s calling it marriage?” he was asked.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he replied.

On another topic, Clark said he agrees with those who say the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy needs to be “fixed.”

“The armed forces are the last institution in America that discriminates against people,” he said. “It ought to be the first that doesn’t. They ought to have the right to be who they are. They shouldn’t have to conceal their identities.”

The Feb. 3 edition contains a chart rating all the Democrat candidates, as well as an advertisement by the Democratic National Committee with the banner: “Vote Democrat.” The ad lists the Republican and Democratic platforms — with the intention of showing the Democratic Party’s friendliness toward the homosexual movement.

Regarding same-sex issues, Clark said, “I’m the one person who can bring their issues forward, and I will.”

Clarks also said that marriage is a “term of art.”

“[W]hether you call it marriage or not is up to the church or the synagogue or the mosque,” he said. “And it’s up to the state legislatures. I think marriage is a term of art. It’s a term of usage. But the legal side of it is not: It’s not negotiable.”

Homosexual activists also consider Dean and Kerry friends of the movement. As governor of Vermont, Dean signed the nation’s first same-sex civil union law. Kerry, meanwhile, was one of only 14 senators to vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which protects states from being forced to recognize another state’s same-sex “marriage.” It also bars the federal government from recognizing such contracts.

“It was a tough position to take, but I took it because I thought [the bill] was outright gay bashing,” Kerry told The Advocate. “My support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and civil unions has been complete.”

Kerry’s interview took place before the Massachusetts high court issued its ruling siding with same-sex “marriage.”

He told the magazine that he doesn’t support legalizing same-sex “marriage” but added he is “not going to go out of my way to oppose it.” He then indicated that his position could change.

“Will I come to a different view sometime down the road?” he asked. “Who knows?”

Kerry also stated his opposition to a federal marriage amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

“My argument would be that a constitutional amendment may in fact have negative effects on people’s health rights through the unintended consequences of such an amendment,” he told The Advocate.

Dean told the magazine he believes the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and would like to see it repealed. The Advocate’s Chris Bull tried to pin Dean down on the issue of same-sex “marriage,” but Dean wouldn’t budge. He did, though, imply that politics has played a role in his decision.

“Why not just go all the way?” Bull asked. “Why not just support same-sex marriage and the reform of marriage laws?”

“Well, because it wouldn’t be possible,” Dean answered. “Politics is the art of the possible.”

Bull then said, “I still don’t understand why you don’t support marriage rights for gay people. Do you have a religious objection?”

“No, I don’t,” Dean replied. “I just feel that we dealt with the question of equal rights under the law. I’ve had this same argument many times. My argument is that the state’s obligation is to make sure that everyone is equal under the law.”

Dean also said he doesn’t believe homosexuals can change.

“It has no basis in science,” he said. “When all the evidence is in, it will be shown that being gay has a significant genetic component. The idea that you can change sexual orientation is laughable. It just goes to show the ignorance of the right wing.”

According to the chart in the Feb. 3 edition, every major Democrat candidate opposes a federal marriage amendment. In addition, Clark, Dean and Kerry oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, while Joseph Lieberman voted for it in 1996. The magazine did not list John Edwards’ position on DOMA. Clark, Dean, Kerry and Lieberman want to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy,” while Edwards wants to “revisit” it, according to The Advocate.

For more information on the battle over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: LATEST ISSUE OF THE ADVOCATE.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust