MARRIAGE DIGEST: Howard Dean, DNC chair, reportedly says he backs 'gay marriage'
WASHINGTON (BP)--Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean reportedly said during a court deposition recently that he personally supports "gay marriage," a stance that if true would make him but the latest major Democratic figure to publicly state support for such unions.
Dean's testimony, as reported in the homosexual newspaper Washington Blade, came as he defended the firing of Donald Hitchcock, who formerly was head of the DNC's Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council. Hitchcock has sued the DNC, saying he was wrongly dismissed.
During the deposition, Dean said he came to personally support "gay marriage" while "getting to know gay people" during and after his 2004 run for president, the Blade reported. The newspaper did not give the date of Dean's deposition.
"I learned more," he was quoted as saying. "I learned a lot about the gay community. And I became much more comfortable with the gay community as I got to know more about them."
Dean also said that "three-quarters of my early money" during his presidential run came from homosexual donors. As governor of Vermont Dean signed into law the nation's first civil unions bill granting homosexual couples the legal benefits of marriage.
In recent years, several high-profile Democratic leaders have walked a tightrope on the issue of "gay marriage," stating their public opposition to it but doing so in a way -- at least they hope -- that doesn't offend the homosexual community, a key Democratic voting bloc. Often that comes in the form of Democratic leaders saying they support civil unions and other laws backed by homosexual activists -- a position Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have taken. Obama also supports repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law that gives states the option of not recognizing another state's "gay marriages."
Increasing numbers of Democratic leaders are taking that last step -- backing "gay marriage" -- that homosexual groups want them to take. Former Vice President Al Gore in January released an Internet video stating his support for marriage between homosexuals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin also back "gay marriage."
The Democratic governors of Massachusetts and New York support "gay marriage." Additionally, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, has stated he would sign a bill legalizing "gay marriage" in his state -- as long as the bill comes to his desk after the November elections.
"He will sign a bill, but doesn't want to make it a presidential election year issue," Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said, according to the Associated Press.
'GAY MARRIAGE' IN VERMONT? -- A Vermont legislative commission given the task of getting state citizens' views on the issue of "gay marriage" likely will issue its report -- which could come with a recommendation -- the week of April 15, the committee's chairman told the Rutland Herald newspaper.
Pro-family groups criticized the committee because nearly every member -- if not literally ever member -- supports "gay marriage" legalization. The commission traveled the state, holding public forums to ask citizens their views on the subject.
MARRIAGE AMENDMENT IN PA. -- The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee passed a constitutional amendment March 18 that would ban both "gay marriage" and same-sex civil unions. The proposal, which passed 10-4, must pass both the full Senate and House in two consecutive sessions and then be approved by voters before becoming part of the constitution. The earliest voters would consider it is 2009, the AP said.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.