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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Kerry Backs Missouri Ban on Gay Marriage

August 07, 2004|Mark Z. Barabak | Times Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Drawn into a Missouri debate over same-sex marriage, Sen. John F. Kerry said in an interview published Friday that he would've voted for the gay marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by state voters.

The Democratic presidential nominee, who spent parts of two days campaigning across Missouri, told the Kansas City Star that the ballot measure was the same as one his home state of Massachusetts passed a few years ago. Kerry supported that measure.

In a separate interview with Kansas City's NBC affiliate, Kerry reiterated that both he and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, are opposed to gay marriage, though they favor civil unions.

"We support nondiscrimination against our fellow Americans," Kerry said. "We've always argued the states will be capable of taking care of this by themselves. Massachusetts and Missouri are proving they are capable of taking care of it by themselves. [That] I think bears out that we didn't need a [federal] constitutional amendment in order to do what's right."

Kerry was referring to a proposed amendment, backed by President Bush, that would outlaw same-sex marriage. The amendment was derailed in the Senate in July.

On Tuesday, about 70% of Missouri voters approved adding language to the state Constitution reading, "To be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."

A spokesman for the Human Rights Fund, a Washington group that lobbies for gay rights, said Kerry's support for the Missouri amendment was not surprising. "This is consistent with what he's been saying all along,'' Steven Fisher, the group's communications director, said.

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