Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Statements on Marriage from Presidential Candidates

Interesting round up of candidate statements in response to the CA Supreme Court Marriage Equality ruling:


Although Republican John McCain does not support a federal marriage amendment, in 2006 he did support a proposed constitutional marriage amendment in his home state of Arizona, and even taped a television ad for it. Following the California decision, his campaign released a statement implying he backs the amendment effort in that state. "John McCain supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona," it read. "John McCain doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions."


"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as President," a statement from the Obama campaign said. "He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."


Hillary Clinton's campaign released a statement saying she "believes that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans and believes that civil unions are the best way to achieve this goal. As president, Hillary Clinton will work to ensure same-sex couples have access to these rights and responsibilities at the federal level. She has said and continues to believe that the issue of marriage should be left to the states."


Sara said...

I would describe these at best as "non-statements".

I am in lvoe with this statement from the Prime Minister of Spain about their Parliament's passage of same-sex marriage legislation.

Since, unfortunately, neither of our remaining Democratic presidential candidates can openly embrace this historic moment in civil rights history, today is as good a day as any to reflect on the words and courage of another politician -- Spain's prime minister, Jose Zapatero. The following is an excerpt from his speech upon passing Spain's historic gay human rights legislation. Hopefully, everyone is already familiar with it. If not, enjoy:
"We are not legislating, honorable members, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends, and our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members.
"In the poem 'The Family,' our [gay] poet Luis Cernuda was sorry because, 'How does man live in denial in vain by giving rules that prohibit and condemn?'
"Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty.
"It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph of those who oppose this law, even though they do not know this yet: because it is the triumph of Liberty. Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose the law) better people, it makes our society better. Honorable members, there is no damage to marriage or to the concept of family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens is this class of Spanish citizens get the potential to organize their lives with the rights and privileges of marriage and family. There is no danger to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law enhances and respects marriage.
"Today, conscious that some people and institutions are in a profound disagreement with this change in our civil law, I wish to express that, like other reforms to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law will generate no evil, that its only consequence will be the avoiding of senseless suffering of decent human beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of decent human beings is a better society.

Greg Berlanti posted this at the Advocate:
"With the approval of this bill, our country takes another step in the path of liberty and tolerance that was begun by the democratic change of government. Our children will look at us incredulously if we tell them that many years ago, our mothers had less rights than our fathers, or if we tell them that people had to stay married against their will even though they were unable to share their lives. Today we can offer them a beautiful lesson: Every right gained, each access to liberty has been the result of the struggle and sacrifice of many people that deserve our recognition and praise."

I love it because it is real statement of solidarity.

I am so pissed off at Obama simply because he says he opposes marriage equality because he is a Christian! What?!

The Christ I follow has two commandments, and not being a gay person that is married is not one of them. So there!

PseudoPiskie said...

Seems to me either two are married with all the rights and privileges that come with marriage or they aren't married and don't have those rights and privileges. The semantics are silly and devised to support prejudice.

Linda in VT said...

I'd like to see more push-back on the "courts shouldn't legislate" canard. It needs to be said (again and again and again) that the people's legislature in California DID legislate on this: They approved a marriage bill. The Governator vetoed it. And that's how it wound up in court.

Wayne said...

Part of the push back should also include the point that all ANYONE has is a "civil marriage," -- a contract between two people that makes them, in effect, a corporation in the eyes of the state.

The clergy presiding at a church wedding acts as an authorized agent of the state to witness the contract -- which is why the marriage contract is legally ended in the civil courts.

Further, it does matter what the denomination or spiritual tradition the couple belongs to. The civil contract part of the marriage is the same, no matter what the theology or ritual (or lack thereof) of the ceremony.

This is not to negate having a theology of marriage nor to suggest that the Church not bless marriages. I'm just suggesting we clarify our talking points to make it clear that underlying the familiar -- maybe all too familiar -- ritual, there is simply a civil contract that should be equally available.

Clergy are always able to refuse to participate in a wedding for whatever reasons (canons, personal theology or judgment). Couples should be free to make their contract with whomever they wish and to seek their faith-community's blessing and support, if they wish or the faith-community does indeeed support it.


Frair John said...

Since the Constitution leaves marrage to the States, that part is a non answer.
I'm sort of cold as to the idea that the President could "fix" any of this. Other than over turn DOMA (which niether Democratic candidate is willing to touch) there is precious little a president can do.
Now, ask me about what a President could do for Don't Ask Don't tell.

john said...

Pseudo, the point is, and the Court discussed the issue at great length in its opinion, that civil unions and marriages did NOT carry the same legal rights or status in California. Therefore, the law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples failed under California's due process and equal protection clauses. Far more than semantics were involved.