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Kerry addresses gay rights during Mississippi stop

Kerry addresses gay rights during Mississippi stop

Sen. John Kerry won some applause in Jackson, Miss., on Sunday when he said marriage should be between only a man and a woman but that he supports equality for all Americans, including gay couples who seek state-granted rights such as hospital visitation or property inheritance. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president made his comments during a campaign appearance in the gymnasium of historically black Tougaloo College. A forum on jobs turned into a wide-ranging question-and-answer session before an standing-room-only audience of about 900. Emma C. White of Jackson, 74, a self-identified Democrat who is black, told Kerry she believes most Americans "are sick and tired" of comparisons between gay rights and the civil rights movement. "There is no correlation between gay rights and civil rights compared to what black Americans have gone through in this country," White said to some boos and some applause from the audience. "I resent it, and I am insulted." Kerry--who had invoked images of the civil rights movement earlier Sunday when he spoke to a predominantly black church congregation in Jackson--told White it's important to remember that the U.S. Constitution has an equal protection clause. "When Matthew Shepard gets crucified on a fence in Wyoming only because he was gay...I think that's a matter of rights in the United States of America," Kerry said, referring to the University of Wyoming student who was slain in 1998. Kerry arrived in Jackson late Saturday and left the state Sunday afternoon following a $2,000-a-person fund-raiser at an upscale restaurant. After last week's Super Tuesday primaries, Kerry, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, effectively wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination.

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