Kerry Taps Edwards

Tue. July 6, 2004 12:00 AM by

Chicago, IL - LGBT civil rights groups Tuesday hailed Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's selection of former rival John Edwards to be his running mate.

"Sen. Edwards is steadfast in his support of our community," Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques told "From his co sponsorship of key legislation opposing anti-glbt policies Sen. Edwards has demonstrated leadership on our issues in congress.

Like Kerry, Edwards supports granting same-sex couples benefits, but neither endorses gay marriage. Both Kerry and Edwards oppose amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage.

"Washington has no business playing politics with this issue. Marriage is left to the states today and should remain with the states," Edwards said in February.

"While we are disappointed Sen. Edwards does not stand with us on gay marriage he opposes the const to discriminate," Jacques noted.

Edwards also is opposed to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

In May, 2003, Senator Edwards told the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that "the current policy does not serve our national security interests and should be changed. The military should review the current policy and change it so that it...treats people fairly and protects our security."

He has sponsored legislation that would bar employment bias based on sexual orientation and a bill to force the federal government to fully prosecute bias-motivated crimes that target an individual based on their sexual orientation. Currently, federal law does not prosecute these crimes on the same par as similar offenses that target an individual based on race, religion, national origin and other factors.

Edwards also has advocated increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

Gay Democrats were elated with the choice.

"The selection of John Edwards solidifies the most pro-gay, pro-family ticket in the history of presidential politics," said Dave Noble, National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director

Kerry made his selection of Edwards public at a rally Tuesday morning in Pittsburgh.

By selecting Edwards, Kerry is hoping to pick up votes in the South. Edwards, the son of a Raleigh mill worker rose to become a highly praised and successful lawyer.

He was elected to the Senate in 1998.

Charismatic, young, and an accomplished speaker he is considered a strong asset to balance Kerry's patrician and stiff demeanor.

by Paul Johnson Newscenter
Washington Bureau Chief
©® 2004

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.