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Kerry criticizes Massachusetts Democratic Party for backing same-sex marriage

Kerry criticizes Massachusetts Democratic Party for backing same-sex marriage

U.S. senator John Kerry, visiting Louisiana for a forum on children's health care, criticized the Massachusetts Democratic Party for its expected approval of a statement in the party platform in support of same-sex marriage. "I think it's a mistake," Kerry said. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state." Kerry made the comments to The Boston Globe after hosting the event on his proposed KidsFirst Act, which would bring health care to uninsured children. Kerry's opposition to same-sex marriage puts him at odds with the chairman of the Massachusetts Democrats, Philip W. Johnston, who said that the senator's stance will not change the expected approval of the language at next weekend's party meeting in Lowell. "I have great affection and respect for John, but I disagree on this issue," Johnston said. "It is important that the state Democratic Party support civil rights. We need to take a stand." U.S. senator Edward M. Kennedy said he supports the inclusion of the same-sex marriage language in the party platform. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since last year. "The majority of people in Massachusetts have embraced reality with acceptance," said Eric Stern, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats. "We respectfully and strongly disagree with Senator Kerry and urge him to follow the example of the state's senior senator by supporting the enforcement of state law. Senator Kerry has been a champion for gay and lesbian families in the United States Senate for decades. That is why we are so deeply disappointed by his remarks." The 3,000 Massachusetts Democratic Party delegates are scheduled to meet at Tsongas Arena in Boston on May 14. Johnston said he did not expect that there would be an effort to block the same-sex marriage plank. In his Louisiana appearance, Kerry also touched on his failed 2004 presidential campaign, saying that he saw promise in how much support he received even in states where he lost. In Louisiana he lost to President Bush 57% to 42% but received 30,000 more votes than the previous Democratic nominee, Al Gore, in 2000. Kerry's stop in Baton Rouge was part of a weeklong series of events around the country to promote the KidsFirst bill. An aide said he has a similar forum scheduled Friday in Miami. (AP)

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