The gay political group Log Cabin Republicans blasted Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Tuesday, charging that he "flip-flopped" on gay rights when he, while on a campaign swing through Missouri, expressed support for the state's just-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. "We are deeply disappointed that Senator Kerry has decided to play politics with the constitutional process in Missouri," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero. "It is yet another example of a Kerry flip-flop."
Kerry, a U.S. senator for two decades, has a lengthy record of supporting gay rights and is vehemently opposed to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would change the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. However, neither he nor his running mate, John Edwards, supports marriage equality for gay men and lesbians. Both have created a firestorm among some gay rights activists who claim that the candidates are not adequately addressing gay issues.
Kerry also supports an amendment banning same-sex marriage in his home state of Massachusetts, a first version of which was passed by the legislature this spring. He told The Kansas City Star on Friday that the Missouri ballot measure was the same as the one passed in his home state. But Log Cabin charged that the Missouri amendment goes even further in preventing equality for gays than the Massachusetts amendment. Missouri law already defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and it does not provide any protections, such as civil unions, for gay and lesbian couples. "What is Senator Kerry's message to gay and lesbian Americans?" asked Chris Barron, political director for Log Cabin. "His message seems pretty clear; Senator Kerry will support discriminatory amendments when it becomes politically expedient."
The measure amending Missouri's constitution passed with about 71% of the vote. It was the first such vote in the country regarding same-sex marriage since the historic ruling in Massachusetts last year that legalized same-sex weddings there. Although the marriage ban was widely expected to pass in conservative Missouri, experts said the campaign served as a key barometer for which strategies work; at least nine other states--and perhaps as many as 12--are voting on similar proposed amendments this year.