Kerry Talks Civil Unions On MTV

Sun. March 28, 2004 12:00 AM by

Washington, D.C. - Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry tried to keep to middle ground as he laid out his policy on same-sex unions for MTV Friday. Kerry said he believes people are born gay but that does not guarantee them the right to marry. Kerry repeated his stand that he supports civil unions.

"I think it's entirely who you are from birth, personally," Kerry said. "Some people might choose, but I think that it's, it's who you are. I think you have ... people need to be able to be who they are."

Asked why he supports civil unions but not marriage if people are born gay, Kerry said the only difference between the two was the word.

"What is distinct is the institutional name or whatever people look at as the sacrament within a church, or within a synagogue or within a mosque as a religious institution. There is a distinction. And the civil state really just adopted that, and it's the rights that are important, not the sort of ... the name of the institution."

Kerry said that civil unions would give same-sex couples all of the benefits of marriage.

"I think that people have a right in America to be who they are," he said. "I believe very strongly that we can advance the cause of equality by moving toward civil union."

Kerry's marriage comments were part of an MTV special: "Choose or Lose: 20 Million Questions for John Kerry," to be aired Tuesday night.

Kerry said he opposes amending the US Constitution to ban same-sex unions because marriage is a state issue. The transcript of the interview released by MTV indicates he was not asked about his support from amending the constitution of his home state, Massachusetts.

Kerry also says he would outlaw job discrimination against gays, extend hate-crime protection, and allow gays to serve openly in the military.

by Doreen Brandt Newscenter
Washington Bureau
©® 2004

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