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More on the civil union problem

Barack Obama has stated his opposition to marriage equality, opting for the now-popular vague Dem benchmark of civil unions, a position that Bush himself took in 2004..

Given this view, I’d like to know whether Obama still stands by these statements from 2004 when he was running for the U.S. Senate.  (Windy City Times):

Since 1996, I have been the sponsor or a chief co-sponsor of measures to expand civil liberties for the LGBT community including hate-crimes legislation, adoption rights and the extension of basic civil rights to protect LGBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment and credit.

…For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted … .

When Members of Congress passed DOMA, they were not interested in strengthening family values or protecting civil liberties. They were only interested in perpetuating division and affirming a wedge issue.

… We must be careful to keep our eyes on the prize-equal rights for every American. We must continue to fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enforced. We must continue to expand adoption rights to make them consistent and seamless throughout all 50 states, and we must repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy.

He addresses the one key position that is critical for all the Dem 2008 candidates to answer and clarify — DOMA —  since the words “civil unions” fall freely from all of their lips as their catch-all answer to questions on the matter, without any elaboration about how civil equality would be reached with CUs. It cannot happen with DOMA in the way. We already know the Clinton camp is fumbling on this one since she’s forced into a corner on DOMA because it  passed on Big Dog’s watch.

See my post, Civil unions: more on less.

Why the statement “I support civil unions” is meaningless

All of this nonsense is why I’ve been saying that the Dem presidential candidates have an obligation to voters to define what they mean when they toss out “I support civil unions” as a salve to gays. Asking for clarity, commitment and well-thought-out answers on the matter is not flogging the issue. There is a morass of separate-but-unequal legislation being debated and amendments voted on “by the people” right now.

So far, it’s been difficult to find out where candidates stand on DOMA. 

Let’s fill in the DOMA blanks…Googlers, do your stuff and find some links!

* Illinois Sen. Barack Obama – for the repeal of DOMA (at least in 2004)

* Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Doddfor the amendment/repeal of DOMA

* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: no answer on DOMA so far. (“Civil unions? Yes. Partnership benefits? Yes…but it’s a jump for me to get to gay marriage. I haven’t yet got across that bridge.” … “I wish I knew the right answer.”)

* Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich – on the record for full marriage equality, so one has to assume he would want DOMA amended/repealed

* Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack – no answer on DOMA so far. For civil unions:

* Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel — ???

* Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. –  He voted for DOMA in 1996. This year he said getting there [marriage equality] will “be an incredibly difficult thing for America to grapple with.”

* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson – (he voted for DOMA in 1996; don’t know how he feels about it now; he threatened a veto on a state DOMA in 2005 unless civil unions were created)

* New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – dancing on the head of a pin?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding