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Sen. John Kerry discuss his ‘evolution’ on marriage equality

Monday, July 11, 2011
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When he ran against George W. Bush in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) suffered from accusations that he was a “flip-flopper” whose stances on issues were dictated by the political winds.

John Kerry

Even during that election campaign, Kerry never supported a federal Constitutional Amendment to limit marriage to heterosexual couples, but he did express that he believed marriage should be between only one man and one woman.

After his home state, Massachusetts, became the first to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, he said that he would support a law that banned such marriages providing that it allowed for civil unions.

But now, Kerry supports full marriage equality for all citizens of the United States, regardless of sexual orientation.

And in an op-ed, he describes that change as an “evolution,” not a flip-flop. Kerry writes that politicians like himself and President Obama should have the right to evolve. He quotes Muhammad Ali, who once said: “The man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

“These seven years of marriage equality in Massachusetts might as well have been 30 years: they erased decades of myths. It’s hard for a lot of young people to even understand the controversy. For them, including my daughters, the right of gay Americans to marry has never been a question.”

For those like him who once considered civil unions to be a sufficient replacement for real marriage equality, Kerry says seeing is believing, noting that no church in Massachusetts has been forced to contradict its teachings since marriage equality became law in Massachusetts in 2003.

Kerry voiced support for the repeal of the archaic and so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” But he admitted that America has a long way to go until GLBT Americans are afforded full equality under the law:

We still have miles to travel. People have to make up their own minds in their own time. But when we grant a right to some citizens but deny it to others, we create a second, unequal class. The America we aspire to doesn’t have any second class citizens.

The full op-ed from Kerry is here.

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