At a fund-raiser hosted by gay leaders Friday in New York, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry reinforced his commitment to equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians. Joined by former Vermont governor Howard Dean and award-winning actor and writer Harvey Fierstein, Kerry delivered a speech denouncing the Federal Marriage Amendment as another attempt by George Bush to divide Americans.
"The American family I know won't stand for the politics of fear and distortion," Kerry said. "We won't stand for those who want to amend our Constitution for political purposes. We won't stand for those who want to use the most precious document in our history to divide this nation and distract us from their failures."
An estimated 350 people attended the event, which raised funds for the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Kerry also praised gays and lesbians for their contributions to AIDS funding and spoke about gays and lesbians who have served in the military. "The gay Americans I know have served their country proudly in times of war. Some grew up facing great obstacles and prejudice but have risen above the pain to raise families of their own," Kerry said. "The gay Americans I know work hard, pay their taxes, and worry about the issues we all care about--good jobs, affordable health care, and a chance to build a better life for their families."
Earlier this month the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign endorsed Kerry, citing his record of supporting gay rights.