At an annual fund-raising dinner Saturday night in Atlanta for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina promised to fight all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation if he were elected president. In his address to the 1,300 people attending, Edwards, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he supports gay adoption, would fight for legislation to combat hate crimes and workplace discrimination, and would work to eradicate the AIDS virus.
"I want to be very clear," Edwards said. "I will listen to you. I will work with you and I will fight with you to protect your rights and to end discrimination against gays and lesbians." Edwards commended companies such as Coca-Cola and BellSouth for offering benefits for employees' same-sex partners. Edwards, however, does not support same-sex marriages. "Not all of us agree on every single issue," he said. "But we all want the same freedoms." The speech capped two days of campaign appearances by Edwards in Atlanta.