A new report from inside the John Kerry campaign suggests that in the final weeks of the campagin former president Bill Clinton advised Kerry to come out in favor of ballot measures that wrote antigay marriage discimination into the constitutions of 11 states. According to the latest issue of Newsweek, "Looking for a way to pick up swing voters in the red states, former president Bill Clinton, in a phone call with Kerry, urged the senator to back local bans on gay marriage. Kerry respectfully listened, then told his aides, 'I'm not going to ever do that.'"
The advice is not inconsistent with Clinton's record: He is the chief executive who signed the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and leaves gay and lesbian couples legally married in Massachusetts since May 17 in legal limbo. The federal DOMA also prevents those couples from acquiring access to the Social Security and other benefits that other legally married couples have.
Similarly, Kerry's response to Clinton's advice is consistent with his position on same-sex couples. Kerry, who voted against DOMA in 1996, told The Advocate that although he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, he favors the establishment of civil unions that included all the rights and responsibilities of marriage and opposes the federal constitutional amendment to ban marriage that President Bush supports.