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On a swing through Baton Rouge, Louisiana last week, John F. Kerry made it crystal clear that he doesn’t care much for gay marriage. The intolerant senator scoffed at reporters when asked whether or not he supported the inclusion of a same-sex marriage plank in the Massachusetts Democratic platform. Kerry answered by saying that such a statement does not represent the views held by most party members, including himself.
“I’m opposed to it being in a platform. I think it’s a mistake,” Kerry huffed, “I think it’s the wrong thing, and I’m not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state … I’m opposed to gay marriage.”
The senator, who flip-flopped his way through a self-defeating campaign in 2004, can’t get his act together — yet he is still setting himself up for another run in 2008. Supporting gay marriage amounts to electoral death, or so claims Kerry. He must think inflating his political status is more important than standing up for equality.
Indeed Kerry’s statement is the kind of veiled hate speech we were hearing from racist Democrats down South during the civil rights struggles. Fortunately, Dems in Massachusetts aren’t buying Kerry’s line, as they are planning to vote in favor of putting a same-sex marriage plank in their platform later this month. In fact, Kerry is behind the times, as his state’s Supreme Court legalized gay marriage back in May of 2004.
“Most residents of the state view this as a fundamental civil right for gay and lesbian citizens,” Philip W. Johnston, the state Democratic Party chairman in Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe in response to Kerry’s callous remarks.
The interesting thing is, Kerry, on many occasions has said that he believes gay marriage should be left up to the state, not the fed. But now that his own state of Massachusetts has supported gay marriage, he still opposes it. Besides, leaving civil rights matters, such as gay marriage, up to the state is the clearly the wrong approach. Had this been the case for civil rights legislation of the 1960s and early 70s we’d still have government sanctioned racial segregation in the South.
Many analysts claim Kerry’s opposition to Bush’s plea to constitutionally ban gay marriage cost him the presidential contest. Certainly hatred of homosexuals played a large role in Karl Rove’s successful recruiting strategy. The rightwing Christians love the politics of hate and the Republicans know how to capitalize on their collective prejudice. But what most Democrats and John Kerry don’t realize is that conservative Christians aren’t the folks they should be rallying to the polls.
Instead, Democrats ought to be standing up for what they (should) know to be just. Supporting a living-wage, real universal health care and gay rights would be a gracious start. Not to mention opposing an illegal and immoral war that’s taking thousands of lives and costing billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do the Dems really believe that mirroring the Republican agenda will entice the 40% of eligible voters who stay home on Election Day to go to the polls?
John Kerry along with Howard Dean, John Edwards, Al Gore, Harry Reid and nearly every leading Beltway Democrat, still thinks that Bush-lite politics can win major elections. The results of their ignorance should serve as a valuable lesson: Align yourself with the Bush doctrine, ever so slightly, and lose.
JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be published by Common Courage Press. You can pre-order a copy at discounted rate at www.BrickBurner.org. Josh can be reached at: Joshua@BrickBurner.org.