Harold Ford Jr. and George W. Bush have so much in common: both are from political families and used their family names to get elected; both support the imperialist neo-conservative plan for U.S. global domination; both supported the illegal invasion of Iraq; both support the theocratic agenda of the religious right; neither respects the "separation of church and state"; both *use* relligion for political power; both pander to religious fundamentalists; and both claim to be defending the "traditional family" by opposing equal civil rights for gays and lesbians.
You would expect, then, that both would offer the same response to the New Jersey court decision that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights and obligatons given to married heterosexual couples.
Harold Ford Jr.'s response:
"I do not support the decision today reached by the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding gay marriage. I oppose gay marriage, and have voted twice in Congress to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. This November there's a referendum on the Tennessee ballot to ban same-sex marriage - I am voting for it."
On his website, HFJ contradicts himself by saying he is opposed to marriage equality for gays and lesbians, but not opposed to the civil rights of gays and lesbians:
"I will continue to be pro-family, including supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, without taking away the civil rights of gays and lesbians."
Harold Ford Jr., "My Faith as My Guide" (www.HaroldFordjr.com)
Similarly, George W. Bush has attacked the NJ court decision, trying to shore up support among the anti-gay religious right by attacking "activist judges" and campaigning for GOP candidates to "defend traditional marriage."
Both Bush and Ford share the untenable position that gay couples are entitled to equal civil rights, but not marriage. Both misrepresent what the NJ court decision actually says. It says exactly what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney said in 2004!
As pointed out by John Aravosis on AmericaBlog
George Bush came out in support of gay civil unions before the 2004 election. He believes gay couples should get the benefits of marriage, but not marriage itself. The New Jersey Sup Ct just ruled the same. The rules specifically says NO to gay marriage, but YES to providing some kind of benefits to gay couples. That is George Bush's position as enunciated prior to the 2004 elections.
Here is the ruling.
Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution....
To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision....
We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
Here is George Bush endorsing gay civil unions in 2004:
The New York Times
Published: October 26, 2004
"President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states."
"Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party's official position on the issue."
"In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday."....
"I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others."
Now Bush is contradicting his OWN position by attacking the NJ court decision which says exactly what HE said in 2004! While Bush is on the record as supporting "civil unions" which would grant gay couples most of the same rights as marriage, HFJ has not even gone that far. Does he belive that gays and lesbians should have equal civil rights? If so, how can he oppose civil unions or marriage equality?
HFJ's clearly stated opposition to "gay marriage" has not stopped his Republican opponent from accusing him of supporting it. The GOP is so desperate they are trying to use "gay marriage" as a wedge issue again, hoping it will win them more support among African-American voters. Conservative Democrats lilke HFJ respond likewise by vehemently opposing marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Both parties are guilty of pretending to support the "civil rights" of gays and lesbians while OPPOSING their civil rights!
My question for both parties is: "Do you support equal rights for everyone? Do you support equal treatment for gays and lesbians? If so, how can you oppose equal civil marriage rights for them? Please justify denying us the same rights you enjoy!
I would also ask both Republicans and Democrats to quit denying basic human rights for gays and lesbians for their own political gain. Have some decency and respect the U.S. Constitution which gurantees equal rights for all and the separation of church and state!