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Thursday, March 04, 2004

VandeHei Watch 3.4.04: Gay Right$

Jim VandeHei and Ellen Nieves co-byline a Thursday article in the Washington Post about Kerry's stance on gay marriage and gay rights:

SAN FRANCISCO, March 3 -- Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), under fire from gay Democrats for opposing same-sex marriage, has promised that if elected president he would grant state-sanctioned gay couples the same 1,049 federal benefits married heterosexuals enjoy, according to people who met here with Kerry last Friday.

The article makes clear that, "Some Democrats were threatening to pull back on financial support," implying that Kerry's stance on these issues may be changing in order to help his fundraising effort. VandeHei and Nieves claim Kerry on Friday "said for the first time he would bestow all federal benefits such as the right to file joint incomes taxes and collect survivor benefits to same-sex couples who unite legally in civil unions, domestic partnerships and even marriage under their state laws. Kerry made the comments at a gay fundraiser in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood."

I don't think this is quite the scoop the Post portrays it to be, though. For example, let's go to Sunday's debate transcript when Kerry answered a question on gay rights:

I believe that the right, the spousal rights -- the right of inheritance, the right with respect to taxes, the right with respect to visitation in a hospital -- there are a whole series of rights. I am for those rights being afforded to every single American without distinction.

This isn't some policy position Kerry is keeping from most voters and only whispering to gay activists when he holds fundraisers in San Francisco. He has, in fact, stated it on national television.