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Same sex marriage rights: Where do the US presidential candidates stand?
Nader supports same sex marriage rights
Ralph supports full equal rights for gays and lesbians. While civil unions are a step in the right direction under current federal and state law they do not afford equal rights. There are 1,049 federal rights that go only with marriage. In addition, at the state level, a civil union is only recognized in the state where it occurs, while marriage, and all the rights that go with it, is recognized in all the states. Thus, the only way to ensure full equal rights is to recognize same-sex marriage. -
Kerry opposes same sex marriage rights
Supports amending MA constitution to ban same sex marriages
On 2/27/04 Kerry said, in the Boston Globe about a Massachusetts amendment to ban same-sex marriage, "If the Massachusetts Legislature crafts an appropriate amendment that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection." He was referring only to the state constitution, not US Constitutional ban that Bush has endorsed.

On 2/24/04 after President Bush said he would endorse a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriages Kerry said, "I believe the best way to protect gays and lesbians is through civil unions. I believe the issue of marriage should be left to the states, and that the president of the United States should be addressing the central challenges where he has failed--jobs, health care, and our leadership in the world--rather than once again seeking to drive a wedge by toying with the United States Constitution for political purposes."
Bush opposes same sex marriage rights
Supports amending US constitution to ban same sex marriages
Bush also said state legislatures should be left to define "legal arrangements other than marriage," suggesting that such an amendment would allow states to establish civil unions for same-sex couples.
"THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

"The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage... [Kerry voted for the Defense of Marriage Act]

"The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress." -

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