Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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Quotes: Legal Marriage
© February 26, 2014, Demian

“The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be a guaranteed right for every ethnicity and every culture as well as every person, regardless of sexual orientation or preference. “I think it’s easy for me to look at gay rights objectively because I’m an atheist. I don’t have a book dictating to me that some people have a right to get married and some people don’t. I don’t have that prejudice in my heart. I don’t look at same sex marriage as a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. I look at it as a civil rights issue, because that’s exactly what it is. The majority is denying the minority the basic right of falling in love and officially stating that they want to live together as a couple, as a family unit, as legal partners.

“Those same Tea Party types, who are always harping about how we need less Government, are actually the ones really pushing for more Government by trying to legislate what people can and can’t do with their personal lives. The hypocrisy is astounding.

“I am asking the American people to be objective, to be fair, to do what’s right. You don’t have to agree with someone else’s choices, but those choices are that person’s right to make.

“Who gives you the right to decide for someone else who they can fall in love with? You do not have that right.

“What gives the government the right to decide who can and can’t get married? The government does not have that right.

“Don’t deny people the right to live as the Bill of Rights and the Constitution intended us all to live: as equals.”

       — Jesse Ventura (James George Janos), American politician, actor, author, veteran, former pro wrestler and 38th Governor of Minnesota (1999-2003)
            in his article: “The Civil Rights Movement of 2014” - posted on his “Off the Grid” blog, January 20, 2014

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.

“That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.

“Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

“I’ve thought a great deal about this issue, and like millions of Americans in recent years, I’ve changed my mind on the question of marriage for same-sex couples. As we strive as a nation to form a more perfect union, I believe all of our sons and daughters ought to have the same opportunity to experience the joy and stability of marriage.”

       — Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), in the Columbus Dispatch, March 15, 2013
            from “Rob Portman commentary: Gay couples also deserve chance to get married”:
            A staunch conservative, Portman previously never spoke against same-sex marriage, however, he consistently
            voted against it, as well as voted for a bill that prohibited same-sex couples in D.C. from adopting.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.

"My son came to Jane, my wife, and I, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice, and that it’s just part of who he is, and that’s who he’d been that way for as long as he could remember.

       — Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), March 15, 2013
            interviewed on CNN:
            A staunch conservative, Portman previously never spoke against same-sex marriage, however, he consistently
            voted against it, as well as voted for a bill that prohibited same-sex couples in D.C. from adopting.

“California’s Proposition 8 is headed to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of companies and families as well as Republicans are submitting briefs urging the 9 judges to allow gay people to marry. I thought that was ridiculous. Why would judges want all of that underwear? Then, after a quick talk with some people, I found out what a brief was.

“I’ve never filed a brief to the Supreme Court, so I thought I would post mine here. I’m sure someone will tweet it to them.

“Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.

“But even though Portia and I got married in the short period of time when it was legal in California, there are 1,138 federal rights for married couples that we don’t have, including some that protect married people from losing their homes, or their savings or custody of their children.

“The truth is, Portia and I aren’t as different from you as you might think. We’re just trying to find happiness in the bodies and minds we were given, like everyone else.

“Coming out was one of the hardest things I ever did. I didn’t intend to be on the cover of Time magazine saying, ‘Yep, I’m gay.’ The truth is, I don’t even remember saying that. I mean, I definitely said the ‘I’m gay’ part. It’s the ‘yep’ I don’t remember. I’m not really a ‘yep’ person. ‘Yes siree Bob’ maybe. But not ‘yep.’

“In the words of Benjamin Franklin, ‘We’re here, we’re queer, get over it.’ And there’s another famous quote that says ‘A society is judged by how it treats its weakest members.’ I couldn’t agree with that more. No one’s really sure who said it first, so if anyone asks, tell them I said it.

“I hope the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and let everyone enjoy the same rights. It’s going to help keep families together. It’s going to make kids feel better about who they are. And it is time.

“*I was just told Benjamin Franklin did not say that first quote. I apologize and see that I have a lot to learn about stuff.”

       — Ellen Degeneres, March 1, 2013
            from her Web site:

“But it’s difficult to get people even to consider your reform ideas if they think, with good reason, you don’t like or respect them. Building a winning coalition to tackle the looming fiscal and trust deficits will be impossible if we continue to alienate broad segments of the population. We must be happy warriors who refuse to tolerate those who want Hispanic votes but not Hispanic neighbors. We should applaud states that lead on reforming drug policy. And, consistent with the Republican Party’s origins, we must demand equality under the law for all Americans.

“While serving as governor of Utah, I pushed for civil unions and expanded reciprocal benefits for gay citizens. I did so not because of political pressure—indeed, at the time 70 percent of Utahns were opposed—but because as governor my role was to work for everybody, even those who didn’t have access to a powerful lobby. Civil unions, I believed, were a practical step that would bring all citizens more fully into the fabric of a state they already were—and always had been—a part of.

“That was four years ago. Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.

“All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.

“Marriage is not an issue that people rationalize through the abstract lens of the law; rather it is something understood emotionally through one’s own experience with family, neighbors, and friends. The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans.”

       — Jon Huntsman, February 21, 2013
            from his article “Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause” on The American Conservative Web site:

Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

“We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”

       — 2012 Democratic National Platform, September 6, 2012
            The Democratic Party became the first major American political party to endorse
            marriage equality in it’s platform, in contrast with the Republican Party’s official stance.

“Signing the marriage equality bill this spring was one of the proudest days of my life. The love, joy, and excitement in that room were electric. For the first time our LGBT Washingtonians had, within their reach, the right to marry. Now, with the issue before voters, that momentum must be maintained.

“We cannot say to one couple that their love is deserving of marriage and to another that their love should only be called a partnership. ‘Separate but equal’ is never equal. Children of same-sex couples should not grow up wondering why their family is treated differently from other families.

“Parents who have fought fiercely for the rights of their much-loved Gay and Lesbian children should not have to worry that their children will be treated differently. As a mother, I can tell you that there is no prouder moment than watching your children grow up, fall in love, and commit to that love in front of their families and friends. I want that same joy for every parent and every child.”

       — Christine Gregoire, Washington State Governor, July 22, 2012
            Full article: Washington’s Chance to Make History

“The three of us are excited about their upcoming wedding and it may be one of the happiest wedding ceremonies I have conducted in my 50-plus years of ministry — because it represents the highest expression of Christian love.”

       — Arthur Caliandro, on his offering to perform a legal marriage ceremony for two men who have been together 40 years.
            August 2, 2011 - Dr. Arthur Caliandro’s Blog
            Dr. Caliandro served as minister of New York City’s historic, Protestant, Marble Collegiate Church for 42 years.
            During the 80s, Dr. Caliandro was instrumental in developing a ministry for his church that was welcoming to gay men and lesbians.

“Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C, § 7 (‘DOMA’), unconstitutionally discriminates. It treats same-sex couples who are legally married under their states’ laws differently than similarly situated opposite-sex couples, denying them the status, recognition, and significant federal benefits otherwise available to married persons. Under well-established factors set forth by the Supreme Court, discrimination based on sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny. Under that standard of review, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.”

       — Department of Justice brief in federal court
            supporting Karen Golinski’s federal lawsuit seeking access to equal health benefits for her wife.
            July 1, 2011

“What this state said today brings this discussion of marriage equality to a new plane. That’s the power and the beauty of New York. The other states look to New York for the progressive direction.

“We reached a new level of social justice this evening — marriage equality.

“And I thank the advocacy community, that came together from all across the nation, and worked as one. They were sophisticated, smart and constructive in their effort. It was my pleasure to work with them.

“I am always proud to be a New Yorker, but tonight I am especially proud to be a New Yorker.”

       — Andrew Cuomo, New York State Governor, Marriage Equality Press Conference
            Click here for an extended version.
            June 24, 2011 - shortly before signing the law allowing legal civil marriage in New York State

“Because we must treat others the way we want to be treated, I personally believe in marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

       — U.S. president Barak Obama
            June 1, 2012, in “Presidential Proclamation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2012” on
            Read full version here: Barack Obama - Pride Month Proclamation

“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

       — U.S. president Barak Obama
            May 9, 2012, ABC News report

“Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.”

       — Bill Clinton, U.S. president
            May 5, 2011

“All of my life I've spent a lot of time with gay men — Montgomery Clift, Jimmy Dean, Rock Hudson — who are my colleagues, coworkers, confidantes, my closest friends, but I never thought of who they slept with! They were just the people I loved. I could never understand why they couldn’t be afforded the same rights and protections as all of the rest of us. There is no gay agenda, it’s a human agenda.

“Why shouldn’t gay people be allowed to marry? …

“I feel that any home where there is love constitutes a family and all families should have the same legal rights, including the right to marry and have or adopt children!

“Why shouldn’t gay people be able to live as open and freely as everybody else? What it comes down to, ultimately, is love. How can anything bad come out of love? The bad stuff comes out of mistrust, misunderstanding and, God knows, from hate and from ignorance. …

“During my life I’ve seen many things, good and bad, but the bad things never came out of loving acts, loving gestures or loving relationships. That’s why I’m here tonight; to celebrate you and your families. And to tell you to hang in there and to say, once and for all of us, long live love.”

       — Elizabeth Taylor, actor, philanthropist
            upon receiving a media award from GLAAD, April 15, 2000

Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed while the case works its way through the system.

Every day that the case drags on, gay and lesbian couples who would like to marry are being deprived of their civil rights. … The denial of constitutional rights, even temporarily, is a deplorable situation that must meet high legal standards to be allowed to continue. In our view, those conditions have not been met.

During the trial, the supporters of Proposition 8 were unable to identify any harm that would befall them if same-sex weddings took place.

Right now, same-sex couples are being deprived of their constitutional right to marry, and every indication is that unless the stay is lifted, they’ll have to keep waiting for more than a year. That is real harm, and there is no valid reason to allow it to continue.

       — excerpt from an Los Angeles Times editorial, February 28, 2011
            The California Supreme Court was asked by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on
            whether supporters of anti-gay, anti-marriage Proposition 8 had the right to continue their case.
            Prop 8 banned marriage equality for same-sex couples on November 5, 2008, a right won in court on May 15, 2008.

“This is about equal rights. This is about equality. We as Black people cannot forget the struggles we went through.  For too long, we have been in denial about our brothers and sisters, that we have gays and lesbians in the African American community. We don’t want to put our dignity on a ballot. It is about dignity, it is about respect. …

“The reality is there needs to be an honest conversation about the solidarity of the Black family. What has to be recognized is that gay and lesbian rights as African Americans need to be an inclusive part of the African American conversation … marriage equality can build stronger Black families.”

       — Sharon Lettman, National Black Justice Coalition executive director
            interviewed on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, August 5, 2010
            following the August 4 U.S. District court ruling striking down California’s ban on marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“Nearly a century after the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed that ‘marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man.” ’ That 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia, ended bans on interracial marriage in the 16 states that still had such laws.

“Now, 43 years after Loving, the courts are once again grappling with denial of equal marriage rights — this time to gay couples. We believe that a society respectful of individual liberty must end this unequal treatment under the law. …

“The Perry case — scheduled for closing arguments next Wednesday — was brought by two couples whose relationships are marked by the sort of love, commitment and respect that leads naturally to marriage. Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and their four children, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, ask for no more, and deserve no less, than the equal rights accorded to every other American family. But they are blocked from obtaining marriage licenses under California's Proposition 8. …

“As the country evolved, the meaning of one small word — ‘all’ — has evolved as well. Our nation's Founders reaffirmed in the Declaration of Independence the self-evident truth that ‘all Men are created equal,’ and our Pledge of Allegiance concludes with the simple and definitive words ‘liberty and justice for all.’ Still, we have struggled mightily since our independence, often through our courts, to ensure that liberty and justice is truly available to all Americans.

“Thanks to the genius of our Framers, who separated power among three branches of government, our courts have been able to take the lead — standing up to enforce equal protection, as demanded by the Constitution — even when the executive and legislative branches, and often the public as well, were unwilling to confront wrongful discrimination.”

       — John D. Podesta (Center for American Progress founder and president) and Robert A. Levy (Cato Institute chairman)
            from “Marriage equality for all couples” an opinion editorial in the Washington Post, June 8, 2010

“Marriage is so far from having been an institution, fixed by permanent and unalterable laws, that it has been continually varying in every period, and in every country.”

       — William Alexander
            The History of Women, From the Earliest Antiquity, to the Present Time, vol. 2
            (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1779), page 240

“It’s great that people feel passionate about this, but do you really think a rally on the Boston Common does one thing to change anything? I would prefer people channeled that energy — whether it’s for marriage equality or employment nondiscrimination — into mobilizing and trying to persuade those who disagree with them. Notice that the NRA never marches. This is my continual debate with people in the gay community, many of whom want to hold rallies instead of doing political lobbying.”

“There’s a danger of using tactics that can advance you in the short term but hurt the long-term goal of marriage equality. The most important thing we can do is change the minds of people who voted against us.”

       — rep. Barney Frank (D - Massachusetts)
            The Advocate Magazine, December 03, 2008, titled “Harrumph!”
            A response to the California anti-marriage Proposition 8 passing, which prompted countrywide protests.

“Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.”

       — Chief Justice Ronald M. George, California Supreme Court in the majority opinion which
            requires that legal marriage be allowed for same-sex couples, May 15, 2008
            Click here for the entire ruling (172-page PDF file): California Court Finding
            Also see our article: California Offers Marriage

“It is our steadfast belief that Love, not law, is the basis and the foundation of marriage. We also believe that no government should be allowed to legislate for or against any person based upon their gender, race, sexual orientation or religious belief.

“First Nation Church, its members and ministers believe that marriage is a covenant between two adults and their God, based upon their love for one another. We believe that love for each other, for nature and for all things created by God materializes from the heart, not from legislative bodies.

“This basic tenet was so important that the founding fathers established it as the cornerstone of the United States Constitution, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights: that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ ”

“First Nation Church is a traditions-based Native American religious organization that is legally permitted to issue marriage licenses to its congregation members regardless of gender or sexual preference. Consenting adult couples may marry under the laws of the church, whether male-female, male-male or female-female.”

       — First Nation Church, April 2007
            from their Web site

“Both the Iowa Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have recognized that the right to marry is a fundamental right.” …

“The Defendant repeatedly makes the argument that because no state Supreme Court or United States Supreme Court decision has declared same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right, this Court is precluded from finding the existence of such a right. However, the Iowa’s appellate courts have acknowledged that Due Process rights are fluid, and that such protections ‘should not ultimately hinge upon whether the right sought to be recognized has been historically afforded. Our constitution is not merely tied to tradition, but recognizes the changing nature of society.’ Callender v. Skiles, 591 N.W.2d 182,190 (Iowa 1999). Iowa Courts have generally been at the forefront in preserving the civil rights of their citizens in areas such as race, gender and sexual orientation. See In Re Ralph, 1 Brandf. 3,l Morris 1,7,1839 WL 764 (Iowa 1839) (rejecting a claim by a slave owner seeking a slave’s return); Cole v. Cole, 23 Iowa 433, 1867 WL 355 (Iowa 1867) (allowing for a gender-neutral rule in child custody determinations); In Re Marriage of Walsh, 45 1 N.W.2d 492 (Iowa 1990) (holding that a restriction of a gay father’s visitation ‘to times when “no unrelated adult” is present’ was inappropriate in light of statutory goal of keeping children in close contact with parents) State v. Pilcher, 242 N.W.2d 348 (Iowa 1976) (declaring Iowa’s sodomy statute to be unconstitutional). The Defendant’s argument that this Court is precluded from finding a “fundamental right to same-sex marriage” is not accurate or persuasive. In Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court found that Virginia’s statutory prohibition of interracial marriage violated an individual’s fundamental right to marriage. Loving, 388 U.S. 1,87 S.Ct. 1817,18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967). The Court struck down the Virginia statute on Due Process grounds despite its observation that, ‘[plenalties for miscegenation arose as an incident to slavery and have been common in Virginia since the colonial period.’ Loving, 388 U.S. 1,6 87 S.Ct. 1817,1820 - 21 18 L.Ed.2d 101 0 (1 967). The fact that there was no historical tradition of interracial marriage in Virginia did not preclude the Court from holding that the fundamental right to marriage was violated through Virginia’s prohibition against interracial marriage.

“Unlike the anti-nepotism provision at issue in Sioux City Police Officers’ Ass’n, Iowa Code §595.2(1) constitutes the most intrusive means by the State to regulate marriage. This statute is an absolute prohibition on the ability of gay and lesbian individuals to marry a person of their choosing. Accordingly, this statute warrants the application of strict scrutiny. Regardless of the potential rationales for the enactment of §595.2(1) proposed by the Defendant, this Court concludes that the statute significantly interferes with the decision to enter into a marital relationship in its prohibition of same-sex marriage. The Defendant argues that possible rationales for §595.2(1) may include: promoting procreation, child rearing by a mother and father in a marriage relationship, promoting stability in opposite sex relationships, conservation of state and private resources, and promoting the concept or integrity of traditional marriage. Though the Defendant cites an abundance of case law indicating that Courts have long considered marriage to be an important relationship, the Defendant makes no argument that promoting procreation, child rearing by a mother and father in a marriage relationship, promoting stability in opposite sex relationships, promoting the concept of traditional marriage or conservation of state and private resources are compelling state interests, despite the fact that it is his burden to do so. This Court concludes that the Defendant has not sustained his burden of proof in articulating compelling reasons for Iowa Code §595.2(1). This Court concludes for similar reasons that an absolute prohibition of same-sex marriages is not ‘closely tailored to effectuate only those interests’ articulated by the Defendant. See Sioux Citv Police Officers’ Ass’n 495 N.W.2d at 696 (citing Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374,386,98 S.Ct 673,681,54 L.Ed.2d 618,631 (1978)) (emphasis added)). The Defendant has cited no evidence that precluding gay and lesbian individuals from marrying other gay and lesbian individuals will promote procreation, will encourage child rearing by mothers and fathers, will promote stability for opposite sex marriages, will conserve resources or will promote heterosexual marriage. Iowa Code §595.2(1) manages to be both over and under-inclusive while effectuating none of its purported rationales. The law is extremely over-inclusive in its attempt to strengthen heterosexual marriage and procreation by preventing an entirely distinct group of individuals - homosexuals - from marrying. The law is also extremely under-inclusive by failing to regulate at all how heterosexuals enter into marriage and procreative relationships, despite the narrow focus of the legislation's goals on that group of individuals. The Defendant fails to sustain his burden of proof that §595.2(1) is narrowly tailored to effectuate the achievement of a compelling state interest. Consequently, this Court concludes that §595.2(1) violates Plaintiffs’ Due Process rights guaranteed by Article I, §9 of the Iowa Constitution.”

       — Robert B. Hanson, judge, Fifth Judicial District of Iowa, August 30, 2007
            ruling in Varnum v. Brien
            See the full ruling: Iowa County COurt Finding - Varnum v. Brien

“Every gay reader understands the secret self that is full and wonderful and has longing and tenderness and a desire for connection to other people. I think that arguments against gay marriage are just ridiculous! Who cares? People want to get married for the same reason I wanted to get married. They want to do it in front of their friends and family. They want it to be a legally binding thing. They want to have that commitment. The idea that there’s some moral issue about it is so ridiculous.”

       — Lynda Carter, writing in Instinct Magazine, May 1, 2007
            Actor and singer Carter performed in the popular 70s TV series Wonder Woman.

“For Planned Parenthood, marriage equality is a critical social justice and equality issue, and the denial of marriage is a threat to our basic human and civil rights. Planned Parenthood stands firm in its vow to end inequality and discrimination, and supports the rights of same-sex couples and their families to enjoy the protection of civil marriage.”

       — Planned Parenthood, Washington State branch, March 2, 2007
            Communication to members concerning the Washington State Civil Union Bill.

“As much as the social conservatives might not like to hear it, there will be a time when your grandchildren say: ‘What was the argument with gay marriage? Who cares?’ ”

       — Jim Kolbe, U.S. Rep. (R-Ariz.), December 29, 2006
            A week before his retirement, after 22 years service.
            He also blasted his party’s ceding too much power to social
            conservatives and focusing on opposing abortion and stem cell research.
            He is the only openly gay Republican in Congress.

“Marriage is a civil right. If you don’t want gay people to marry in your church, good for you. But you can’t say they can’t marry in your city.”

       — Julian Bond, National NAACP chair, October 2006
            Spoken at a University of Virginia forum where Bond is a professor.

“We are of the opinion that there should be one law for everyone. It is the only way in which we will truly recognise the equality of all people.”

       — Dutch Reformed Church, mid-October 2006
            Proposal to the South Africa parliament, regarding their consideration of a
            Civil Unions bill, rather than providing equal treatment for legal same-sex marriage.

“Our organization is opposed to Prop. 107 because it puts our candidate pool for future firefighters at risk.

“Domestic partner benefits are an excellent recruitment tool and appeal to many of our new recruits. This benefit helps us secure the most qualified and experienced individuals who will serve Tempe residents. If Prop. 107 passes it would eliminate our ability to offer these benefits in the future, as well as impact all of the families of firefighters who are currently covered.”

       — Rich Woerth, Tempe Firefighters Association president, October 12, 2006
            Prop. 107 is the anti-gay, anti-marriage Arizona constitution mendment.

“The Tempe Officers Association is taking a hard stance against Prop. 107 because it will seriously hinder our current benefits program used as an incentive to recruit employees.

“This proposition will prohibit the City of Tempe and all other public employers statewide from offering domestic benefits to unmarried couples in committed, healthy relationships. I am most concerned for the families of my fellow officers, in this organization and across the state, who will be unexpectedly stripped of their health care benefits if Prop. 107 passes. The negative affects will be far reaching and will impact public safety and law enforcement officials, as well as children and seniors.”

       — Bryan Hall, Tempe Officers Association president, October 12, 2006
            Prop. 107 is the anti-gay, anti-marriage Arizona constitution mendment.

“The proposed Civil Union Bill, soon to be tabled in Parliament, intends to grant same-sex couples the right to form civil partnerships. Although the same legal benefits would be accorded same-sex couples, the state would not recognise these partnerships as marriages. Instead, civil partnerships, a term that exclusively refers to same-sex relationships, would be regulated through a separate legal institution and administered separately. This would relegate same-sex couples to a second-class citizenry and perpetuate the stigmatisation of our relationships. We fought racial apartheid, and we will fight efforts at reintroducing marital apartheid.

“Same-sex relationships have long been part of our African history and heritage. There is ample research illustrating that African people have loved and had sexual relationships with people of the same sex for hundreds of years. For example, in Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria and SA, bond friendships, ancestral wives, female husbands and male wives have existed for centuries as forms of same-sex relationships.

“All these relationships were accepted and respected in Africa, long before Africa was colonised. In addition, these forms of partnerships and marriages were protected by common law. Same-sex practices have always been a part of our sexual desires, intimacy and practice. In SA, the practice has been traced among the Zulu, Lovedu, Sotho, Tswana and Venda tribes. It is important to understand the traditional and cultural institutions that form families, marriages, and clans before we pronounce on these matters.

“There is no record of traditional African societies legislating against homosexuality. Such laws are a western import, manifested through colonial penal codes and the criminalisation of sodomy across the continent. So, one could argue with authority that it is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is un-African.”

       — Fikile Vilakazi, editorial: “Protect SA from Sexual Apartheid”
            in Business Day, South Africa, September 7, 2006
            Please see our article: Marriage Traditions in Various Times and Cultures

“Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.”

       — Brad Pitt, actor, interview in October 2006 Esquire Magazine.
            He said he will not marry Angelina Jolie until restrictions on same-sex marriage are lifted.

“The plurality and concurrence condone blatant discrimination against Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens in the name of encouraging procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, and the raising of children in homes headed by opposite-sex parents, while ignoring the fact that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has no prospect of furthering any of those interests. With the proper issue in mind — whether denying same-sex couples the right to marry will encourage procreation, marriage for individuals in relationships that result in children, or child rearing in households headed by opposite-sex parents — I would hold that there is no rational basis for denying samesex couples the right to marry.

“I would hold further that the right to marry the person of one’s choice is a fundamental right, the denial of which has historically received heightened scrutiny. It is error to artificially limit the inquiry, as the plurality and concurrence do, to whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. It is equally incorrect to limit the definition of the right to marry to the right to marry a person of the opposite sex. Because the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA’s) denial of the right to marry to same-sex couples is not rationally related to any asserted state interest, it is also not narrowly tailored to any compelling state interest.

“Therefore, for both of these reasons, I would affirm the two trial courts in declaring RCW 26.04.010(1) and .020(1)(c) unconstitutional. The plurality uses the excuse of deference to the legislature to perpetuate the existence of an unconstitutional and unjust law. I dissent.”

       — Justice Mary E. Fairhurst, dissenting opinion in Andersen v. King County, July 26, 2006
            [Please see our article: Washington State - Fairhurst’s Dissenting Opinion: Andersen v. King County]

“The DOMA denies fundamental basic human rights to Washington’s gay and lesbian citizens, human rights that impact the very core of their everyday lives. The plaintiffs in this case represent the ever-growing diversity of the openly gay community in Washington. They are teachers, attorneys, ministers, and foster parents. In their everyday lives they are bosses, coworkers, neighbors, clients, parents, friends, and volunteers. It is in these seemingly mundane, everyday roles that the discrimination imposed by the DOMA is deeply felt, but it is nowhere more wounding than in their very homes. Unless the concept of equal rights has meaning there, it has little meaning anywhere.”

       — Justice Bobbe J. Bridge, dissenting opinion in Andersen v. King County, July 26, 2006
            Please see our article: Washington State - Bridge’s Dissenting Opinion: Andersen v. King County

“The National Lawyers Guild strongly opposes the New York Court of Appeals ruling upholding the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. The Guild believes that everyone should be entitled to equal protection under the law, which includes affording the same status, privileges and protections that exist for heterosexual couples to same-sex partnerships.”

       — National Lawyers Guild, press release, July 11, 2006

“Simply put, fundamental rights are fundamental rights. They are not defined in terms of who is entitled to exercise them.”

       — Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, dissenting opinion in Hernandez v. Robles, July 6, 2006
            Please see our article: New York Dissenting Opinion: Hernandez v. Robles

“The history of the struggle for black civil rights demonstrates that only when political leaders actually lead do they begin to help change attitudes. If poll-driven Democratic politicians run away from the issue of full equality before the law for lesbians and gays — including equal rights for their committed couples — they will be retarding social advancement of the goal of full human freedom for all — an integral part of America’s promise.”

       — Doug Ireland,, June 13, 2006

“It’s a strange sort of attack, to be sure: a wonderfully pacific attack, a supportive attack, an attack without the slightest intention or capacity to cause harm, consisting, as it does, of the earnest wish of certain loving couples to join themselves to that very institution and thus to feel themselves, and be accepted as, full members of the American (and human) family.”

       — Hendrik Hertzberg, commentary on The New Yorker Web site, June 12, 2006,
            on the so-called “attack” on marriage by gay men and lesbians

“We affirm:

“That the state should not interfere with couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

       — Executive Summary of the Platform of the Democratic Party of Washington
            As approved by the Washington State Democratic Convention, June 3, 2006

“I believe all New Yorkers should have the right to marry whom ever they choose regardless of sexual orientation.

“I do not believe the government should be in the business of telling us who we can, and can’t marry … as mayor, I have an obligation to enforce the laws of the city and the state, but I also have an equal obligation to work to change laws that I believe are not in our city’s best interest.”

       — Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor, in his weekly radio address, May 28, 2006

“This is a civil and human rights issue of the first magnitude, and the [U.S.] Constitution can not be used as a tool of exclusion.

       — Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights executive director, May 9, 2006
            Spoken during a briefing on the Federal Marriage Amendment
            held by the Coalition against Discrimination in the Constitution.

“As far as I’m concerned, Heather and I are married. We’ve built a home and a life together. She is the person I hope to spend the rest of my life with. We’re just waiting for the state and federal laws to catch up with us.”

       — Mary Cheney, article in USA Today, May 8, 2006
            She is the daughter of the vice president of the United States.

“The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated. It discriminates against thousands of people in our communities our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends and our family members. It would single out members of a particular group and forever deny them rights and protections granted to all other Wisconsin citizens. It would also outlaw civil unions and jeopardize many legal protections for all unmarried couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. We shouldn’t enshrine this prejudice in our state’s constitution.”

“Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”

       — Russ Feingold, U.S. Senitor (D-Wis.), replying to questions posed
            at a meeting in Kenosha County, early in April 2006

“Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy.

“Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”

       — Russell Feingold, U.S. Senator (D-Wis), April 4, 2006
            The statement was made opposing a proposed constitutional amendment facing Wisconsin voters.
            The measure would deny marriage equality, and block recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Professor Jamie Raskin, had just finished testifying against Maryland’s anti-gay, anti-marriage amendment, when radical, right-wing Senator Nancy Jacobs (R), stood up and shouted:

“Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?”

“Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

       — Jamie Raskin, American University law professor, March 1, 2006, Annapolis, Maryland

“New Jersey should recognize marriage as a basic civil right that should not be denied to committed adults, regardless of their gender. Such a recognition would be consistent with this state’s long tradition of opposing discrimination and protecting privacy. The standard contention of opponents of same-sex marriage — that it would pose a threat to heterosexual unions — has never been backed up by a shred of logic or evidence, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that there is none to be found.

“Ideally, this civil right should be established by legislation. But if the Legislature and governor lack the nerve to take this controversial step, we hope the court, in its wisdom, will find that the right is already there.”

       — Editorial: “Is gay marriage already legal?” Trenton Times, New Jersey, February 19, 2006

“I am standing here as a straight man and a regular church-going Christian who passionately supports equality under the law. We must support and cherish the civil rights of our brothers and sisters.”

       — David Chiu, president-elect, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area
            in coverage of Asian support for same-sex legal marriage, CBS 5, February 2006.
            David Chiu also said that Asian Americans have historically suffered under laws
            banning them from voting, owning land and marrying outside their race, and now
            have a duty to support gay members of their community who face similar discrimination.

“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”

       — Coretta Scott King, Richard Stockton College, New Jersey, March 23, 2005

“We must measure human rights by one yardstick. Marry who you want to. And leave when you’re ready.”

       — Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Boston Globe, April 2, 2004

“I’m in favour of gay marriage. If two people love each other, and they have a real commitment, of course they should be able to get married. It’s so obvious. … With all the things to worry about in the world at the moment, I can’t understand why something as harmless as gay marriage has become the hot issue.”

       — Ronan Keating, Gay Times, May 2004

“I should think that people would be more interested in politics and all that is happening, rather than two lovebirds who are looking to wed. I think it’s very nice that in an age when love is so scarce that people are willing to gamble on getting married.”

       — Yoko Ono, Associated Press, July 8, 2004
            Composer of “Every Man Has a Man Who Loves Him,”
            and “Every Woman Has a Woman Who Loves Her”
            gay-friendly versions of her earlier song “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him.”

“Now the Bush Administration wants to change the positive inclusive direction of our Constitution by calling for an amendment that authorizes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Well, I say, no way. Dr. Martin Luther King taught us that the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. We must always go forward, towards greater liberty and greater equality, not backward.

“You know, for me, the realization that two people should have the right to form a sacred union regardless of their gender was strengthened when I saw a performance of the play The Normal Heart in 1985. After feeling the love those two men had for each other, I dare anybody not to want them to get married by the end.

“The law cannot dictate matters of the heart. When two people form a deep bond, there is usually a soul connection, and the soul has no gender. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights in this country. Happiness can be many things — a good meal, a good friend, a warm puppy, and certainly — love. How can anyone legislate who you can love? That is a human right, the right to love and be loved.

“And when you love someone, whether you’re in a heterosexual or same-gender relationship, shouldn’t you be able to visit them in the hospital when they’re sick or dying? Shouldn’t everyone have the right to enter into a loving, legally binding, committed relationship that takes on special responsibilities and obligations?

“Current civil union legislation doesn’t go far enough in protecting equal rights. We must not deny gay families many of the benefits that help keep families strong — social security, pensions, veteran’s support, inheritance, the right to take unpaid leave to care for a spouse — the list goes on and on.”

       — Barbra Streisand, remarks upon receipt of the Human Rights Campaign Humanitarian Award, March 6, 2004

“If two people love each other and they want to be together they should be allowed to be together.”

       — Liza Minnelli, attending the Human Rights Campaign Humanitarian Awards, March 6, 2004

“I am going to be tonight very strongly on the side of those who are fighting for a legal frame in which they can develop their relationship normally in their lives. In other words, gay marriage — yes, please! Absolutely yes!”

       — Antonio Banderas, remarks upon receipt of the
            Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Vanguard Award, March 28, 2004

“There is the religious point of view on what marriage is. Then there’s the folks that aren’t religious. People who are not religious get married too, and it’s called marriage.

“I want people to get down to the truth. What is it that bothers you about it? Why are you so concerned about it? It's not like you’re marrying someone who’s gay. Why do you care who marries who? I do believe it’s an issue of separation of church and state for me.”

       — Whoopi Goldberg, remarking about an episode on her TV show “Whoopi”
            called “Don’t Hide Love,” on NBC in March 2004.

“Hi, you know me as newspaper columnist, but I’m also a father, and a husband who just celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary.

“Naturally, I’ve been petrified of the homosexuals, who have been a constant threat to the sanctity of my marriage. Every year, my wife and I toast each other, and say, ‘Here’s to another year of resisting the gay lifestyle.’

“It’s amazing my heterosexual marriage has lasted in a state with only a law against gay marriage, but not a constitutional ban against it as well. And I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.

“I feel vulnerable and exposed, worried that I’m just a Brokeback Mountain matinee away from being on a parade float in Key West’s Fantasy Fest. And I need — no, I demand — help from my state, which is failing to provide the extra layer of protection that the citizens of Georgia, Mississippi and other states can count on to keep them straight.

“So please, help preserve the sanctity of my marriage, and vote to vilify committed gay relationships in the state constitution. If you don’t, the next time you see me, I just might be the guy on the parade float, the one wearing chaps.”

       — Frank Cerabino in satire column “It’s about time we broke back of same-sex marriages”
            Palm Beach Post, January 15, 2006

“Same-sex couples are revolutionising the institution of marriage, because there’s no ownership of the other person, there’s no expectation to get married. It’s equal, one gender doesn’t dominate the other, and they’re creating things out of scratch. They’re marriages but they look a little bit different. They’re just awesome.”

       — Jason McCheyne, quoted in The Age, Australia, January 8, 2006
            Jason McCheyne and Adrian Tuozon, together since 1998, were legally married in Canada.
            Their marriage is not recognized in their home country, Australia.

“One group of parents, same-sex couples, can tie the knot in only one state. According to census figures, if all same-sex couples that identified themselves either as already married or as unmarried partners were to legally marry tomorrow, they would be less than one in 100 married couples in the United States. Yet, for members of this small group, lack of a marriage license may cost tens of thousands of dollars — and the loss of a home — when a partner dies.”

       — Urban Institute, “Making Marriage Work,” 2005

“Two people of the same sex should have the right to marry under state law and to undertake the legal responsibilities and enjoy the legal protection associated with civil marriage under the law.”

       — King County Bar Association Board of Trustees resolution, Washington State, October 5, 2005

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the county of Humboldt declares its support for civil marriage licenses and any enactments which codify civil marriages equality for all couples residing in California who are citizens of the United States; and request our elected representatives in state and federal government to act with vigor to develop laws to allow same-sex marriage, defend same-sex civil marriages and protect the fundamental liberties of all families.”

       — Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, December 7, 2005

“Beyond any question of activism, support for same-gender marriage is simply what is ours to do in bringing forth a greater revelation of God's Love, Peace and Freedom on earth.

“Through the principles and guiding ideas of our Community, we have established ourselves as an organization that supports equality of being, worth, opportunity and expression among all people. Moreover, we have called each other and ourselves to living outwardly that which we hold as true in our hearts. To deny human rights to some people — in particular, the right to legal marriage — while those rights are guaranteed to others, is inconsistent with our teachings and our practice of congruence.”

       — Dr. Kathy Hearn, Community Spiritual Leader, United Church of Religious Science, 2005

“The Democratic Party would like to express its profound disagreement with the stand taken recently by the Humboldt Republican Party in its opposition to the right of homosexual men and women to marry.

“We believe that denying this right to all citizens is a denial of equal justice under the law and is an unjustified imposition of the religious or private moral beliefs of one group in society upon another group.

“We fail to understand how marriage can be ‘under attack’ and ‘threatened’ by allowing a greater number of people to enjoy the rights and joys of a legally sanctioned committed relationship. Such language reflects fear and insecurity rather than rational analysis and should be avoided.”

       — Patrick Riggs, chair, Humboldt County Democratic Party, December 6, 2005

“Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives — the right to equal treatment before the law. These are rights shared by all — there is no one in the United States who does not — or should not — share in these rights.”

       — Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman of the Board, November 20, 2005
            Speaking about same-sex marriage at the Third Annual Equality Maryland Jazz Brunch, Baltimore

“I am not going to deny the dignity and the civil rights of gay people.”

       — Rev. Robert E. Nee, Roman Catholic priest, October 30, 2005
            Speaking about legal marriage in Eileen McNamara’s Boston Globe article

“Civil marriage is a social institution that promotes healthy families by conferring of a powerful set of rights, benefits and protections that cannot be obtained by other means. Civil marriage can help foster psychosocial stability and financial and legal security as well as an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a more nurturing and secure environment for their children.”

       — American Academy of Pediatrics, July 2005
            Excerpt from an analysis prepared for the AAP board of directors

“But gay marriage opponents are right about one thing: Marriage is an important societal marker. When divorce was legalized, when contraception was deemed a private choice within marriage, when married women were given rights to their own credit and inheritance, and when interracial marriages were allowed, marriage was the crucible through which changes in society were forged. Each time, ‘traditional’ marriage was seen as being under attack.

“Massachusetts voters are free to sign the petitions for the gay marriage ban. But if history is any guide, time will prove them to have been on the wrong side of justice and equality.”

       — Editorial excerpt, Boston Globe, October 2, 2005

“In the interests of maintaining and promoting mental health, the APA supports the legal recognition of same-sex civil marriage with all rights, benefits and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits and responsibilities.”

       — American Psychiatric Association board of trustees, July 31, 2005

“[The church’s General Synod] should affirm the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender persons to have their covenanted relationships recognized by the state as marriages equal in name, privileges and responsibilities to married heterosexual couples. I believe our local churches, as they are able, should move toward the development of marriage equality policies so that the same liturgical and pastoral blessing and discipline may be offering all entering into covenanted relationships.”

       — Rev. John H. Thomas, president, United Church of Christ, June 28, 2005
            Spoken during a speech at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

“Marriage will be enhanced, not diminished, religious freedom will be protected, not threatened, and Canadian society will be strengthened, not weakened, as a result of this legislation.”

       — Richard Chambers, Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit, June 27, 2005
            In speaking for the United Church of Canada in a call for the Canadian government
            to move in a timely way to end debate on Bill C-38 and to vote
            or the same-sex marriage legislation.

“It is time to end years of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. It is time to make equal marriage the law of the land. After all, eight Canadian courts have ruled that refusing gay and lesbian couples the right to marry is discriminatory under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

       — Paul Moist, national president, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), June 24, 2005
            CUPE’s National Executive Board sent an urgent appeal to its 540,000 members,
            urging them to lobby their MPs in favor of equal marriage.

“I am convinced that our churches and our society must affirm gay, lesbian and transgendered persons as completely equal in every way with those of us who are heterosexual. It is time for those of us who believe that the Gospel is for all and who believe that civil rights are for all to speak up.”

“In the course of our lifetimes, we change our minds about things we once thought were settled forever. This has really become a justice issue. Gays are being treated unjustly, both by the church and by society. And it is not God’s way. Any true conservative who cares about stability in our society ought to support gay unions, and ought to bless these relationships.”

       — Herbert W. Chilstrom, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, retired.
            From his speech at a church conference, Wisconsin, May 2005

“I will never understand those who proclaim love as the foundation of life, while denying so radically protection, understanding and affection to our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues. What kind of love is this that excludes those who experience their sexuality in a different way?”

       — José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain’s Prime Minister, May 11, 2005
            in his “state of the nation” address to Parliament
            responding to the Catholic Church’s condemnation of legislation
            that seeks to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples.
            [For Zapatero’s speech supporting legal marriage just before Spain allowed legal marriage,
            please see our article: Freedom and Equality / La Libertad y La Igualdad]

“It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.”

       — Richard Kramer, San Francisco Superior Court Judge, April 15, 2005
            In his final written judgment in the California marriage equality case, Woo and Chung v. Lockyer.
            [See our article: Legal Marriage Court Cases - A Timeline: U.S. court cases from 1971 to the present]

“And how will banning same-sex marriages protect families? Does anyone think that banning gay marriage will reduce divorce rates among heterosexuals? Does anyone think that banning gay marriage would have any influence at all on heterosexuals?

“And if not, what will a constitutional amendment do?

“Will it suddenly improve parenting skills? Will taking a hard line against gays suddenly convince deadbeat parents to start paying child support?

“Where in all this is a defense of the family? Where is there anything that is “essential to the state?”

“In general, government should afford gay people the same rights that other people have.

“In general, government should resist the temptation to limit rights for some that already are guaranteed to others.”

       — Heber Taylor, The Daily News, Galveston County, TX, April 14, 2005

“In a place like California, you can not possibly work for rights if you don’t work for gay rights. You either believe in the rights of everyone or you are in the wrong business.”

       — Alice A. Huffman, president, California NAACP, April 5, 2005
            Upon releasing information that the California chapter of the NAACP
            has endorsed a bill to would legalize same-sex marriage in California.

“Eleven states, in righteous indignation, have blocked the possibility of two people affirming and legalizing their love for each other. There will come a time when we will look back upon these actions for the shame it is. I hope it will be soon.”

       — Reverend F. Russell Baker, United Church of Christ, Benton Harbor, Michigan, March 29, 2005

“If we all take a vow of silence and never mention gay marriage again, do you really think George Bush is not going to raise the Federal Marriage Amendment again?

“They’re going to use that issue whether we vow never to touch it or not. It’s … silly … to believe that somehow our enemies, those who support discrimination, are going to play by the rules, and not raise the issue if we don’t.”

       — Cheryl Jacques, former Massachusetts state senator and former executive director Human Rights Campaign
            Interviewed in the Boston Globe, January 6, 2005

“It is incumbent upon us, as a minority, to stand up in solidarity with Canada’s gays and lesbians despite the fact that many in our community believe our religion does not condone homosexuality.”

       — Rizwana Jafri, president, Muslim Canadian Congress, February 8, 2005
            Speaking on the pending offering of legal marriage to Canada nationwide.

“I think people have the right to love, to live with and to marry whoever they want, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

       — Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor, New York City, February 5, 2005

“Fundamentally the question is this: what right do we as a society have to refuse gay Canadians something that the rest of us are entitled to, namely, a civil marriage license?”

       — Jim Prentice, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre North, Alberta, Canada, February 2, 2005
            [The full article: Statement on Same-Sex Marriage by Jim Prentice, M.P.]

“The Charter is a living document, the heartbeat of our Constitution. It is also a proclamation. It declares that as Canadians, we live under a progressive and inclusive set of fundamental beliefs about the value of the individual. It declares that we all are lessened when any one of us is denied a fundamental right. …

“To those who value the Charter yet oppose the protection of rights for same-sex couples, I ask you: If a prime minister and a national government are willing to take away the rights of one group, what is to say they will stop at that? If the Charter is not there today to protect the rights of one minority, then how can we as a nation of minorities ever hope, ever believe, ever trust that it will be there to protect us tomorrow?

“My responsibility as Prime Minister, my duty to Canada and to Canadians, is to defend the Charter in its entirety. Not to pick and choose the rights that our laws shall protect and those that are to be ignored. Not to decree those who shall be equal and those who shall not.”

       — Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada
            Introducing legislation for same-sex civil marriage on February 1, 2005
            [The full speech: The Heartbeat of Our Constitution: Address on Bill C-38 - The Civil Marriage Act]

“It is the responsibility of Parliament to ensure that minority rights are uniform across the country. The government cannot, and should not, pick and choose which rights they will defend and which rights they will ignore.”

       — Irwin Cotler, Canadian Justice Minister
            representing the government introducing legislation on February 1, 2005
            to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Courts already legalized it in
            eight of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.

“Unitarian Universalists will continue to do all we can to work for marriage equality. Standing on the side of love, our ministers will preach for equality, our congregations will mobilize for equality, and our Association will voice support for marriage equality in the public arena. For Unitarian Universalists, this is a matter of justice. And in the long run, I know justice will prevail.”

       — Rev. William G. Sinkford, Unitarian Universalist Association president, January 2005

“And we must continue our vigorous fight for the freedom to marry and the equal protections, rights and responsibilities that safeguard our families, strengthen our commitments, and continue to transform understanding of our lives and our relationships.”

       — Civil Rights. Community. Movement. Excerpt from a joint statement
            signed by more than 20 GLBT U.S. organizations, January 13, 2005

“My personal views are to respect the human rights of all Manitobans in the most tolerant way possible.”

       — Gary Doer, the Catholic Premier of Manitoba, December 28, 2004

“For more than six months, same-sex couples in Massachusetts have been getting married, and nobody else’s marriage has been affected. Massachusetts continues to have the nation’s lowest divorce rate.”

       — David Buckel, Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director, November 29, 2004

“As researchers have noted, the areas of the country where divorce rates are highest are also often the areas where many conservative Christians live.

“Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas, for example, voted overwhelmingly for constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage. But they had three of the highest divorce rates in 2003, according to figures from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.

“The lowest divorce rates are largely in the blue states: the Northeast and the upper Midwest. And the state with the lowest divorce rate was Massachusetts, home to John Kerry, the Kennedys and same-sex marriage.”

       — Pam Belluck, NY Times News Service, November 14, 2004

“Several centuries ago, it would have been understood that marriage be available only to opposite-sex couples. The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today.”

       — Supreme Court of Canada, December 9, 2004
            Court ruling allowing the Canadian government to proceed with legal marriage

“The Canadian Supreme Court’s opinion released today clarifies the federal government’s right to redefine marriage to include marriages between same-sex couples. It also reaffirms rights of religious freedom that continue the existing responsibility of churches and other religious institutions to determine for whom they will perform the religious rites of marriage.

“Our civil laws should accurately reflect current societal values.

“Marriage is a civil and, for some, a religious institution. These two aspects are not identical. Marriage predates the church, and civil and religious elements have frequently been at odds (for example, the remarriage of divorced people).

“Today’s opinion relates primarily to the civil definition of marriage, and also reaffirms protection for the religious convictions that undergird the second.

“In civil law, marriage is a contractual arrangement. We support the government’s desire and, we believe, obligation to maintain the equality of all people before the law. Property rights, inheritance issues, access to care and personal support, are a matter of justice, and must be available in a fair and equitable manner to all.”

       — Bishop Colin Johnson, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Canada, December 9, 2004
            Statement excerpt, following Canadian Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

“ ‘I believe (gay marriage) did energize a very conservative vote,’ California Sen. Diane Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘It gave them a position to rally around. The whole issue has been too much, too fast, too soon.’

“As a black man married to a white woman, I couldn’t help wondering what might have happened if Americans had voted on interracial marriage back in 1968, when the Supreme Court ruled that laws against such unions were unconstitutional. According to a Gallup poll from back then, 72 percent of respondents disapproved of the idea.

“I couldn’t imagine someone telling me my marriage was ‘too much, too fast, too soon,’ even then.

“Expecting the Democratic Party to turn its back on a minority group fighting for equality feels too much like throwing out the baby with the bathwater — parroting a prejudice voters wouldn’t believe coming from the party of Barney Frank and Ted Kennedy, anyway.

“There was a time when black people were told their demands for equal housing, schools and voting rights were ‘too much, too soon,’ and they turned to the courts for victories they couldn’t win at the ballot box. Can anyone blame today’s gay activists — with 40 years of black-focused civil rights history behind them — for an unwillingness to wait now?”

       — Eric Deggans, St. Petersburg Times Op/Ed Columnist, November 13, 2004

Q: Should Washington recognize gay marriage and/or same-sex civil unions?”

A: Yes. The ability to separate the spiritual, religious or moral judgments about marriage and secular contractual arrangements is the genius of this country. Separation of church and state, what Garry Wills calls the freedom of conscious, resulted in a country with the most flourishing religious diversity of any nation in the world, and the greatest ‘churched’ populations. I don’t think our government has any place in intervening in religion or in the values religions place on relationships within their communities. There is, after all, a distinction between the religious sacrament called marriage and the legal commitments we as a larger society provide for the stability and predictability in the relationships between individuals.”

       — Fred Jarrett, State Rep. (R-Mercer Island), October 2004
            from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and League of Women Voters of Seattle “Voter’s Guide”

“The denial of the right to marry forecloses one of life’s most rewarding personal choices and withholds the most effective means to show one’s beloved they are precious and irreplaceable.”

       — Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights, September 3, 2004

“A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. …

“There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.”

       — C.S. Lewis, British essayist, author, cleric

“This President [G.W. Bush] has decided it will help him politically to tear us apart [regarding same-sex marriage]. His base is restless over government spending and Iraq, and this is a means to placate and energize it. If that means turning a tiny minority into a lethal threat to civilization, so be it. If that minority’s sole crime is to seek to live in fidelity, uphold the family, support responsibility, then that also is beside the point. In this battle, the president has shown his true colors. He is a divider, not a uniter.”

       — Andrew Sullivan, former Bush supporter, in Time Magazine, July 26, 2004

“I think part of our challenge as a movement is to truly believe that we can enlist nongay allies and nongay support if we would talk to our neighbors, family members and friends. It’s almost a cliche, but that’s how social change happens, and we have the opportunity to do it. We’re in a period of tremendous organic change right now. We’ve hit the tipping point and, again, it’s not going to come without attacks, but we can make it happen if we engage ourselves and don’t under-reach.”

       — Evan Wolfson, executive director, Freedom to Marry, Metro Weekly (D.C.), May 20, 2004

“Individual states should be given an appropriate amount of wiggle room to ensure that their laws on non-federal issues comport with their values. The Federal Marriage Amendment is at fundamental cross-purposes with such an idea in that, simply put, it takes a power away from the states that they have historically enjoyed.”

“We meddle with the Constitution to our own peril. If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of having a Constitution in the first place.”

“I am particularly disturbed that the first sentence of the Federal Marriage Amendment is not limited to state actors. In other words, it appears to bind everyone in the United States to one definition of marriage.”

“In the best conservative tradition, each state should make its own decision without interference from Washington. If this produces different results in different states, I say hurray for our magnificent system of having discrete states with differing social values. This unique system has given rise to a wonderfully diverse set of communities that, bound together by limited, common federal interests, has produced the strongest nation in human history.”

“I worry, as do many Americans, about the erosion of the nuclear family, the loosening influence of basic morality, and the ever-growing pervasiveness of overtly sexual and violent imagery in popular entertainment. Divorce is at an astronomical rate — children born out of wedlock are approaching the number born to matrimony. The family is under threat, no question.

“Restoring stability to these families is a tough problem, and requires careful, thoughtful and, yes, tough solutions. But homosexual couples seeking to marry did not cause this problem, and the Federal Marriage Amendment cannot be the solution.”

       — Bob Barr, former U.S. Senator, June 22, 2004
            From his testimony at a Hearing on the Federal Marriage Amendment
            before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
            Barr authored the original “Defense of Marriage Act”

Asked his position on lesbian and gay families and marriage:
      “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period.”

Asked whether gay couples should get the same Social Security, tax, and other federal benefits as married couples:
      “I don’t see why they shouldn’t. I think that’s a proper goal.”

       — Gerald Ford, former president of the United States, October 29, 2001
            in a Detroit News column by Deb Price

“I am very proud to be mayor of the city on this particular day. We have broken down another barrier. That is what life is all about, breaking down barriers and making this an open society for everyone to live in, to cherish each other and to have a great life.”

       — Tom Menino, Boston mayor, as he escorted same-sex couples
            into Boston City Hall to buy their marriage licenses, May 17, 2004

“If you let us marry each other, we will stop marrying you!”

       — Jason Stuart, comedian, 2004
            His message to straight people about same-sex marriage.

“It is time to bring to an end, once and for all, the intolerable discrimination still suffered by many Spaniards exclusively by virtue of their sexual preferences.

“Homosexuals and transsexuals deserve the same public consideration as heterosexuals and have the right to live freely the life that they themselves have chosen.

“We will recognize on an equal basis, their right to marriage, with the consequent effects on labour rights, inheritance and social security protection.”

       — José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain
            From his first parliamentary speech, April 15, 2004
            [For Zapatero’s speech supporting legal marriage just before Spain allowed legal marriage,
            please see our article: Freedom and Equality / La Libertad y La Igualdad]

“Affirming that our federal and state constitutions exist to protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority and in the context of the current debate over same-sex marriage, we of the Alliance of Baptists decry the politicization of same-sex marriage in the current presidential contest and other races for public office. We specifically reject the proposed amendments to the constitution of the United States and state constitutions that would enshrine discrimination against sexual minorities and define marriage in such a way as to deny same-sex couples a legal framework in which to provide for one another and those entrusted to their care.”

       — The Alliance of Baptists
            Statement on Same Sex Marriage, April 17, 2004
            [See article: Statement on Same Sex Marriage]

“I am going to be tonight very strongly on the side of those who are fighting for a legal frame in which they can develop their relationship normally in their lives. In other words, gay marriage, yes, please! Absolutely yes!”

       — Antonio Banderas, actor
            GLAAD Media Awards, Los Angeles, March 27 2004

Neil Cavuto:
“Can same sex couples marry?”

Representative Nancy Pelosi:

“So what the mayor of San Francisco is doing, you would approve of it?”


       — Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader
            Interview on Fox News TV, March 24, 2004, regarding the civil disobedient act
            of offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The law forbidding marriage
            is contradicted by California’s constitutional protection of equal access. Pelosi
            strongly opposes a Federal Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

“We’re endorsing the same values of stability that Jews have always upheld. Anything that supports committed relationships is a good thing. What matters is the quality of the relationship and the devotion of the people in it, not their gender.”

       — Rabbi Richard Hirsch,
            executive director Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (in Philadelphia)
            interview, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 17, 2004

“My oath of office requires me to uphold the law and I will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as state law prohibits it. Yet I believe the Defense of Marriage Act is wrong and violates equal protection under the law.

“In 2004, gays and lesbians cannot realize the blessing of marriage equality. Today’s laws offer no protection for same-sex couples who have to make urgent health-care decisions when one partner is ill or dying. Today’s laws offer no protection regarding inheritance, benefits and insurance for the surviving partner of same-sex couples. Today’s laws must be changed. Equality for all cannot be achieved if equality for some is denied, and discrimination anywhere makes it that much easier for discrimination to flourish everywhere.

“My great-grandparents, who were slaves, could not marry because it was against the law. Decisions by the courts changed that. Prior to 1967, my own marriage would not have been possible because interracial marriage was illegal. Decisions by the courts changed that, too. We still have discrimination in this state when it comes to marriage. I believe the court decision on this issue will also be just, and will change the law.”

       — Ron Sims, King County executive, ordained Baptist minister
            excerpt from his guest column in the Seattle Times, March 11, 2004

“Aristotle said, ‘You can’t live a good life in an unjust society.’ And I think there’s tremendous injustice when we deny the rights of 40-plus million Americans — the same rights that my wife and me have. That’s wrong, and I can’t feel in any way, shape or form that my marriage is as whole when I’m denying the same rights that I have as a married man to millions — millions and millions — of Americans.”

       — Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor on CBS’s 60 Minutes II, March 10, 2004

“We should never tell people who love each other, who have entered into a relationship soberly, people who will function for the rest of their lives as one … who will raise children — we should never deny those individuals the right to be married.”

       — Ron Sims, King County executive, in the Seattle Times, March 8, 2004

“The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend on marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built on same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

“The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.”

       — American Anthropological Association, Statement on Marriage and the Family, February 26, 2004
            Issued in response to president Bush’s call for a federal constitutional
            amendment to ban same-sex marriage which he called “a threat to civilization.”
            The AAA is the world’s largest organization of anthropologists.

“Legislative attempts to restrict marriage are doomed to be ground to powder through repeated litigation in the courts because there is no clear, scientific and strict definition of ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ There are millions of people with ambiguous gender in America — many of them already married — who render these absolute categories invalid.”

       — William Beeman, Executive Board member, American Anthropological Association
            op-ed, Providence Journal, February 13 2004.
            [See his article: What Are You: Male, Merm, Herm, Ferm or Female?]

“I know the pain of being less than equal and I cannot and will not impose that status on anyone else. I was but one generation removed from an existence in slavery. I could not in good conscience ever vote to send anyone to that place from which my family fled.”

       — Massachusetts Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston), February 11, 2004
            Arguing against the constitutional marriage ban.
            She related her experience as a black woman raised in Arkansas,
            where the hospital did not allow her mother to deliver her children.

“Being one born under a dictatorship, who has lost family because of the actions of those dictators, I say the most precious gift that we have is this constitution and for us to amend it for the purpose of discrimination is to really take away from who we are.”

       — Massachusetts Representative Marie P. St. Fleur (D-Boston), February 11, 2004
            Arguing against the constitutional marriage ban.
            She was born in Haiti.

“Several centuries ago, one could marry a child or own a woman as property, and in the last 50 years, marriage to a person of a different race could result in imprisonment. Tradition as a rationale for discrimination is not persuasive.”

       — Massachusetts Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), February 11, 2004
            Arguing against the constitutional marriage ban.

“In every instance [of amending the constitution] we have extended liberties to the people. I will not vote to use the constitution to exclude human beings from the pursuit of their own personal happiness.”

       — Massachusetts Representative Lida E. Harkins (D-Needham), February 11, 2004
            Arguing against the constitutional marriage ban.

“I have no problems with that issue [same-sex marriage] at all.

“Marriage has been undermined by divorce. So don’t tell me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror.

“I think marriage has been undermined for a number of years, if you look at the facts and figures on it. So don’t blame the gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual community, please don’t blame them for it.

“You have to point out the strength of this community, your doctors, your lawyers, your journalists. They have adopted children. To me, we have to understand this is part and parcel of our families and extended families.”

       — Richard Daley, Chicago Mayor, press conference, February 18, 2004

“ ‘Judicial tyranny’ is a phrase usually heard from those whose prejudices have not been sustained by a court’s decision. Happily, the fundamental rights of citizens in this Commonwealth and republic are in the long run defended against another form of tyranny even more dangerous, the tyranny of the majority.

“Legislatures more often than not are subject to the prevailing passions of any majority that can muster sufficient votes; rarely are legislatures in the first instance instruments of social change. It was, after all, legislators who, reflecting the views of those who elected them, kept in place every oppressive law on the books until challenged by aggrieved citizens who sought relief in the courts.

“If society waited for majority opinion and legislative action, African-Americans, for example, would still be enduring the indignities of separate but equal accommodation and the other manifestations of legal, social, and political segregation. If the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge is ‘judicial tyranny,’ let there be more of it.”


“The way to the future is always paved by extending, not restricting, liberties, especially to those who heretofore have been excluded. The health of a republic may well be determined by its capacity to adapt itself to the extension of its own privileges and responsibilities to those whom it would be easy by custom and conviction to ignore.”

       — Peter J. Gomes, American Baptist minister, from “For Massachusetts, a chance and a choice”
            Boston Globe article, February 8, 2004
            on Goodridge v. Department of Public Health and winning the right to marry in Massachussette
            Please see our article: Massachusetts Offers Marriage
            Gomes is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and
            Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University

“I see this as a civil rights issue. That means I support gay civil marriage.”

       — Julian Bond, in a National Black Justice Coalition announcement, February 2, 2004
            He is the board chair for the NAACP
            One of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
            Served in the Georgia General Assembly
            Is Distinguished Professor in Residence at American U.
            and a Professor of History at U. Virginia

That the American Bar Association opposes any federal enactment that would restrict the ability of a state to prescribe the qualifications for civil marriage between two persons within its jurisdiction or to give effect to a civil marriage validly contracted between two persons under the laws of another jurisdiction.

       — Recomendation from the American Bar Association,
            Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Section of Family Law             February 2004

“I don’t understand why the movement to legitimize gay marriage would bother people so much. We have to fight to educate people and transform that visceral response … (because) one of the strengths of the black civil rights movement is that it's served as a model for so many other movements. We who have suffered so much should also be the most compassionate.”

       — Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University professor
            in the St. Petersburg Times, January 18, 2004

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to let our families and friends know the true status of gay relationships in America — that we are unionless. We pay equal taxes but are eligible for far fewer benefits — 1,049, to be exact. We have neither inheritance rights nor access to our partners’ social security or pensions. Most of us don’t even have the right to visit our partners in the hospital. And the national GOP wants to enshrine this oppression in the very constitution that guarantees everyone else freedom and the pursuit of happiness. We’ve all heard the stories of German Jews who said nothing to their neighbors as the Nazis rose to power. Let’s learn a lesson from history and not wait until it’s too late to let the world know that we’re under assault from people who mean business.”

       — Louis Weisberg, columnist, Chicago Free Press, January 28, 2004

Tom Brokaw:
“When the Massachusetts State Supreme Court directed the legislature to, within 180 days, find a solution to the proposition of gay marriages, saying, in effect, “Make this happen,” the court ruled that a gay marriage would not in anyway be threatening to a traditional marriage. Do you agree with that? Do you think that Massachusetts, the legislature, should go ahead and pass law that will make gay marriages between same sex possible in the state of Massachusetts?”

Carol Moseley Braun:
“Yes, and I’ll tell you why. Because I believe this is a civil rights issue.

“My relative, my aunt, married a white man in the 1950s when their marriage was illegal in half the states of this country. Indeed, my uncle, had he taken his wife across the wrong state line, would have been guilty of a criminal violation.

“It seems to me that if people want to marry a person of a different race that’s no different than somebody wanting to marry someone of the same sex. And, indeed, we should be celebrating the fact that these people are talking about forming solid relationships, families, because families, in the end, will keep the community stable and are the basis upon which our country has been built and will survive.

“And so I think rather than allowing the panderers to fear and division to use this as a wedge issue in this election, I think and I believe the American people will rise to a level of saying, “Wait a minute, it’s no skin off my back in terms of the law if somebody marries the person they love and that person is of the same gender.

“I think the religious issue is different, of course, than the issue before the government. And civil unions falls short. It’s not the same thing. It doesn’t give the same rights. We ought to allow people of the same sex to legitimate their relationships.”

       — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun
            Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Forum, Iowa, November 24, 2003

Tom Brokaw:
“If a gay couple gets married in the state of Massachusetts, if that becomes possible, and they move to the state of Iowa, Iowa has a law on the books that the only marriage that this state will recognize is between a man and a woman. Is that fair? And could it be successfully challenged in the courts, in your judgment? And should it be?”

Wesley Clark:
“Well, I think that what you’re talking about here is civil rights. And what I favor is everybody being treated equally.

“What I learned in the military is that we want the right for every person to serve. And if it’s your children and you love them, you want them to have the same rights regardless of their sexual orientation. So that’s why I said I welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court in the state of Massachusetts.

“I think we need to move forward with this issue. I think that people who want same-sex relationships should have exactly the same rights as people who are in conventional marriages. I’m talking about joint domicile, rights of survivorship, insurance coverage and all those rights. I think that’s essential in America today.”

       — Former General Wesley Clark
            Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Forum, Iowa, November 24, 2003

Tom Brokaw:
“We were talking about this move that seems to be moving inexorably to the idea of legalizing gay marriages, if not in Massachusetts, in some state at some point. Do you have any trouble with that idea?”

Al Sharpton:
“I think it’s a human rights issue. When I’m asked, “Do I support a gay marriage?” Do I support Greek marriages? Do I support Latino marriages? Do I support black marriages? Are we prepared to say that gays and lesbians are less than human? If we’re not prepared to say that, then how do we say that they should not have the same human rights and human choices of anyone else?

“Even if you have a disagreement with it in terms of your own personal life, you cannot limit the humanity of others unless you’re prepared to say they are less than human. And not only were people of different races one time — at one point in this country were people of different races may be illegal if they married, people of the same race, when we were slaves, couldn’t marry.

“I would not support any limitations on human and civil rights for anyone in the country. Whatever my view is, I think my view I have the right to personally. I do not have the right to impose that on others.”

       — Reverend Al Sharpton
            Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Forum, Iowa, November 24, 2003

Tom Brokaw:
“What’s going to be the political effect of all of this in a state like North Carolina — or across the South for that matter, at a time when the Democratic Party is trying to gain its old foothold in the South again — this issue of gay marriages?”

John Edwards:
“Well, I can tell you what my own personal experience has been. I have an almost perfect or perfect voting record, I believe, with the Human Rights Campaign. And when I have gone back to North Carolina to campaign in town hall meetings, and this issue has been raised, my answer has been very straightforward.

“I grew up in a small town here in North Carolina. In the community where I grew up, we believe in everybody being treated the same and everyone having equality, everyone having the same kind of opportunities and everyone being treated with the same level of dignity and respect.

“And I think so long, Tom, as we talk about these issues in the basic context of equality, dignity, treating same-sex couples with the same dignity and respect that we treat other Americans and providing them with the same kind of equal rights that we provide other Americans, I think this is not — should not be able to become — a wedge issue for us.”

Tom Brokaw:
“If you become the presidential candidate of your party, would you then make it a primary human rights plank of your own platform in running for president in the primaries?”

John Edwards:
“I can tell you that I have, during the course of this campaign, talked about the importance of equality for all Americans, no matter what their race, no matter what their ethnicity, no matter what language they speak, no matter what their sexual orientation. I think this has to do with a bigger issue, which is bringing America together, making sure that we’re all moving in the same direction and that we embrace and lift up everybody. It’s really a pretty basic thing at the end of the day.”

       — Senator John Edwards (N.C.)
            Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Forum, Iowa, November 24, 2003

Tom Brokaw:
“It is in your state of Massachusetts that they’ll have to make a decision about what they’re going to do about gay marriages. Will you urge the legislature to as swiftly as possible to make it legal for gay couples to be married in the state of Massachusetts? And will you try to head off those efforts by the governor, and others there, to come up with a constitutional amendment or some other means of derailing any effort to do just that?”

John F. Kerry:
“I would urge the legislature to do precisely what the Constitution requires, and I would congratulate each of the candidates who have already spoken. I think each of them has spoken eloquently about this. It is a matter of equal protection under the law. And the court in the decision drew a distinction between church-sanctioned marriage and what the state has to provide in terms of rights.

“And what we’re talking about is somebody’s right to be able to visit a loved one in a hospital, somebody’s right to be able to pass on property, somebody’s right to live equally under the state laws as other people in the country. I think the term “marriage” gets in the way of what is really being talked about here.”

       — Senator John F. Kerry (Mass.)
            Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Forum, Iowa, November 24, 2003

“The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expected they make such commitments. We shouldn’t just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.”

       — David Brooks, “The Power of Marriage,” opinion in the New York Times, November 22, 2003

“The odd thing about the opposition to gay marriage is that if opponents were not so blinded by bigotry and fear, they would see that gay men and lesbians provide the last, best argument for marriage: love and commitment.

“Gay marriage will not and cannot weaken the institution of marriage.

“A heterosexual is not somehow less married because a homosexual has tied the knot. On the contrary, the institution will be strengthened, bolstered by the very people who for conservatives represent everything loathsome about modernity. Gays are not attacking marriage. They want to practice it.”

       — Richard Cohen, “This May Be Good for Marriage,” in the Washington Post, November 20, 2003

“The Bush administration spends billions spreading freedom abroad while at home it devises legislation to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. What is it with you people, anyway? Are you so insecure about the way you handle marriage that you’re scared gay folk will show you up? Trust me, we will make as much of a mess out of matrimony as you do. Just give us a chance.”

       — Harvey Fierstein, op-ed in the New York Times, November 26, 2003

“The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.”

       — The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, November 18, 2003

“If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?”

       — John McCallum, Defense Minister, Canada
            in support of full same-sex, from the Edmonton Sun, August 13, 2003

“Separate is never equal. Civil unions are a step in the right direction. But they almost always offer less than the full roster of rights that marriage entails — and they still stigmatize same-sex relationships as deserving only second-class recognition.”

       — Kenneth Roth, executive director Human Rights Watch
            September 4, 2003

“The concept of ‘separate but equal’ was properly rejected as inherently problematic by the Supreme Court in the landmark school-desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. While I applaud the Vermont Civil Union law, I am convinced that ultimately inequities will arise if there is one set of laws governing marriage commitments for heterosexuals, and another set of laws governing marriage commitments for homosexuals.”

       — Carol Moseley Braun, July 15, 2003
            return answer on the Human Rights Campaign’s
            2004 Democratic Presidential Candidate Questionnaire

“RESOLVED: That this 129th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark calls upon the State of New Jersey to affirm the rights of same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage..”

       — Diocese of Newark, 129th Annual Convention, January 25, 2003

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CCAR oppose governmental efforts to ban gay and lesbian marriage.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this is a matter of civil law, and is separate from the question of rabbinic officiation at such marriages.”

       — Central Conference of American Rabbis, March 29, 1996

“BECAUSE Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; and

“WHEREAS the Unitarian Universalists Association Board of Trustees and the Unitarian Universalists Ministers Association have voted their support for the right to marry for same-sex couples …

“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 1996 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association adopts a position of support of legal recognition for marriage between members of the same sex.”

       — Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly
            In Support of the Right to Marry for Same-Sex Couples, Adopted June 25, 1996

“I believe God blesses same-sex unions, and I believe that the state should allow all couples, regardless of orientation, to enjoy the benefits of marriage.”

       — Rev. Frederick A. Davie, Presbyterian Church USA

“Because we consider marriage to be a basic human right, we believe that the State … should join same-gender couples in civil marriage to the same extent that the State is willing to join men and women in civil marriage. The State should provide rights and responsibilities to such couples equal to those of any other married couples.“

       — New Brunswick Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, New Jersey, early 2003

“I really see this as a question of equality and justice and fairness.”

       — Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio),
            on legal marriage in an article by Boston Globe reporter Susan Milligan called
            “Gay Civil Unions Find Support in Democratic Field,” April 26, 2003

“It’s like asking ‘Do I support black marriage or white marriage?’ … The inference of the question is that gays are not like other human beings. [It’s] like saying you give blacks, or whites, or Latinos the right to shack up — but not get married.”

       — Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network,
            in a Democratic presidential candidates’ forum
            moderated by Sam Donaldson (ABC News), July 15, 2003
            reported in a Mother Jones article called “Tied Into Knots,” July 17, 2003, and elsewhere

“The majority of social conservatives oppose gay marriage; they oppose gay citizens serving their country in the military; they oppose gay citizens raising children; they oppose protecting gay citizens from workplace discrimination; they oppose including gays in hate-crime legislation, while including every other victimized group; they oppose civil unions; they oppose domestic partnerships; they oppose … well, they oppose, for the most part, every single practical measure that brings gay citizens into the mainstream of American life. This is simply bizarre. Can you think of any other legal, noncriminal minority in society toward which social conservatives have nothing but a negative social policy?”

       — Andrew Sullivan in The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2003

“Living a full and rich life for many of us includes going through it all with a committed partner, someone ‘to come home to’ in every sense of the word. Life is full of joys, disappointments, challenges, successes, failures, pain and sorrow. And it is also full of the ordinary and the mundane. Sharing all of it with another person for many people enriches the ordinary as well as the extraordinary which life has to offer. “None of this is dependent on a person’s sexual orientation. We all go through life in one way or another and sharing it with another person brings many people joy that a single life would not. If you happen to be heterosexual, your union to that other person who is sharing your life is licensed by the state. If you are homosexual and share this life with another, as many committed men and women already do, your union is not recognized by the state. Thus you are denied the privileges and the status of a married couple. “This is unfair to those people who wish to take that leap of faith into marriage, a lifelong commitment, but happen to be gay or lesbian. The rather simple solution to this would be to legalize same sex unions in NJ.”

       — Rev. Suzanne Henshaw, Community Minister
            First Unitarian Fellowship of Hunterdon County, Baptistown, early 2003

“Therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society affirms equal marriage rights for same sex couples …

“Further affirms equal access to the basic rights, institutional protections and quality of life conferred by the recognition of marriage.”

       — United Church of Christ, Office for Church in Society
            Resolution on Equal Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Couples, 1996

“I see Jesus as inclusive — accepting and inviting all to eat at his table. I believe that this intent calls upon us all to accept people of all sexual orientations with the full complement of social and civil implications. Same-sex couples should be invited to the table of equal rights in society, including the choice to have a civil marriage.”

       — Rev. Dr. Chaudoin Callaway, New Jersey, early 2003

“It is at the times when people are most vulnerable, like when you need to be at the hospital bedside of your partner or when settling legal matters right after her or his death, that the discrimination tends to hit same-sex couples the hardest. I support marriage equality for same-sex couples because of my commitment to Jesus Christ. I am led by Christ’s calling to help build a more just and compassionate society specifically by seeking out those who are vulnerable or considered ‘outsiders’ and making sure that they are no longer treated like second class members of our community.”

       — Rev. Dr. Traci C. West, New Jersey, early 2003

“I have many good, responsible friends who happen to be gay and lesbian. I believe all of them deserve all of the rights and privileges we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America, including civil marriage to those in committed relationships.”

       — Rev. Herbert W. Chilstrom, Retired Presiding Bishop
            Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, early 2003

“There are gays and lesbians in your congregation who want to share in all the benefits and responsibilities of a legal marriage. Any American who wants to be married should have that right. It’s a matter of justice.”

       — Rev. Mel White, Soulforce, Soulforce director, early 2003

“I and my congregation believe that this is a matter of individual equality and religious liberty. We have supported marriage for same-sex couples for nearly two decades. We perform religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples because we believe that their love and commitment should be celebrated and respected equally. These ceremonies, however, do not have legal standing. We believe that same-sex couples should be treated equally in the eyes of the law, as well as the eyes of our congregation.”

       — Rev. C. Irving Cummings, Old Cambridge Baptist Church, Cambridge, Mass., early 2003

“The right of the state to regulate and recognize civil marriages is taken for granted. The fact that some people are left out of such recognition is not often realized. I firmly support the right of gay and lesbian people who live in committed relationships to be able to be married and have those marriages recognized by the state. Such recognition and the rights that go along with such marriages is, in my opinion, a simple question of civil justice.

“While I realize that religious institutions, my own (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) included, may not at this time, see fit to marry or to bless such same gender relationships, the state should not prevent such a marriage. I choose to add my ‘religious‘ voice to the call for full and equal rights for all people, including gay and lesbian people, under the law.

“Rather than weakening the family unit and the values that are inherent in them, such marriages will add a new and needed dimension to the understanding of ‘family.’ Gay and lesbian people highly value the family unit and being granted the right to a legal marriage would underscore such a value. Now is not the time to tear families apart, but to work to bring them together.”

       — Rev. Robert O. Kriesat, Pastor, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Chatham, New Jersey, early 2003

“The Jewish tradition teaches us the importance of justice and compassion, both values that we take to heart in formulating our position concerning homosexuality in contemporary Judaism. We must have compassion for the position of gays and lesbians in our social structures — they have suffered too much discrimination for too long. Our sense of justice compels us to correct the discriminatory laws of our society and create a society more fully reflective of the equal rights we value as Americans. It is time for New Jersey to serve our gay and lesbian population by adopting a law permitting state recognized civil marriages.”

       — Rabbi Amy J. Small, Congregation Beth Hatikvah, Chatham, New Jersey, early 2003

“The Reform Movement within the Jewish Community has been in the vanguard of many civil rights issues, including most recently its ‘support for the full recognition of equality for lesbians and gays in society.’ Our rabbinical organization, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and our national lay body, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations have both passed resolutions supporting the legalization of civil marriage for gay men and lesbians. They have done so in the hope that the right to a civil marriage would end discrimination in areas such as health insurance, visitation rights in hospitals and nursing homes, and the status of same-sex couples in inheritance matters. Furthermore, the position taken by the Reform Movement is a recognition that discrimination against any group within our society is contrary to the prophetic ideal set forth in our sacred scripture.

“Perhaps, equally as important as the legal protections that legalized marriage would provide same-sex couples will be the public recognition that relationships between people of the same gender are no less valid than heterosexual relationships. The irony in the position of those who oppose legalized marriage for same-sex couples is that they claim that these relationships either are not monogamous or do not last. Yet, when same-sex couples who have been together for many years seek to have their relationships legally recognized, these same people seek to deny them that right.

“It is most important for clergy and religious communities to be in the forefront of the campaign for legalization of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Often religious texts are quoted and presented as evidence not only in opposition to same-sex marriage, but also in opposition to any effort which seeks to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians. As a Reform Rabbi, I respect the scriptural texts, which form the basis of my faith tradition; however, I view those texts as having a vote but not a veto in determining contemporary religious standards and attitudes. I also recognize the fact that the biblical perspective on relationships between people of the same sex was completely different than our contemporary perspective, and therefore should not be used as the basis for setting policies today. The behaviors described in biblical texts were not long term loving relationships based on equality and mutual respect, of the type which are common today.

“The Reform Movement welcomes lesbians and gay men into our synagogues. Our seminary ordains and our congregations hire gay and lesbian rabbis and cantors. Our movement has called for the state to recognize gay and lesbian marriages and families. We do this based on our understanding that all people are created ‘b’tzelem Elohim,’ in the image of God, and are therefore endowed with the same divine essence and entitled to have the same rights within society. My participation in the *New Jersey Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry is a logical extension of my denomination’s support to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples and my own personal commitment to creating a society in which gay men and lesbians will no longer experience discrimination.”

       — Rabbi Kenneth Brickman, Temple Beth El, Jersey City, New Jersey, early 2003
            [* See our article: Organizations of Faith Supporting Same-sex Couples]

“Less than equal is less than adequate. To create another institution [such as civil unions] just contributes to the fact that we would tell those members of the gay and lesbian community that they are not entirely part of our society. Why wouldn’t they be part of marriage?”

       — Martin Cauchon, Canadian Justice Minister
            in the Edmonton Sun on August 13, 2003

“We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

“This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

“Some say let’s choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms, without regard to either skin color or sexual orientation.”

“We hurt our fellow citizens and our community when we deny gay people civil marriage and its protections and responsibilities. Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It’s time we treated them as equals, as family.”

       — Rep. John Lewis, (D) Georgia
            “At a Crossroads on Gay Unions,” October 15, 2003, Boston Globe editorial
            [See full article here: At a Crossroads on Gay Unions]

“By expanding the definition of marriage to recognize the union of same-sex couples, we are recognizing that all Canadians have the right to equality under the Charter. [It] does not take away any rights from opposite-sex couples, nor does it erode the significance, or sanctity, of marriage. On the contrary, it provides more Canadians with access to the institution of marriage.”

       — Martin Cauchon, Canadian Justice Minister
            in a news conference on July 17, 2003

“Lost in much of the debate over gay marriage is that this is a rights issue, not a religious issue.

“No one is asking any religious organization to sanctify marriages of homosexuals. The advocacy is for the right to a legal union under civil law, which is now denied to gays and lesbians. It’s beside the point whether our laws stemmed from the religious traditions of the country’s founders.

“Laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman are passé, just as were the laws against interracial marriage.

“Society has evolved to the point where gay unions are commonplace and open. Extending the legal protections of marriage to these couples is only logical, and only fair. It is discriminatory, in fact, to deny them the benefits of marriage.”

       — Ned Bristol, editor, in “Gay Marriage Should be Made Legal”
            The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, Mass., July 13, 2003

“In Massachusetts as elsewhere, the everyday reality of same-sex families is far ahead of the law. At Little League games, school plays, and Thanksgiving dinners, gay and lesbian couples and parents are living ordinary lives. They have made moral, emotional, and financial obligations to each other and seek only the recognition and protections a legal marriage affords. ‘The desire to marry is grounded in the intangibles of love, an enduring commitment and a shared journey through life,’ reads the plaintiff statement to the SJC [Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court]. It is time to extend these rights — and responsibilities — to all Americans.”

       — Gay marriage should be made legal Boston Globe Editorial, July 8, 2003

“The right of same-sex couples to marry is a critical issue for me because it is a fundamental issue of human rights. It is a fundamental test of leadership. I believe that the role of the leader of the Liberal Party, the role of the prime minister is to stand up for minorities.”

       — Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, contender in the Liberal leadership race
            Parliament Hill news conference, May 27, 2003
            [With a Liberal majority in the House of Commons, the next
            leader of the party will automatically become prime minister.]

“I want the choice. I want to be able to marry when my partner and I decide that’s what we want.

“What motivates me personally is not so much my own personal desire. It’s much more about ending this injustice and holding America to its promise that everyone has the right to be both different and equal and no none should have to give up her or his difference in order to be treated equally.”

       — Evan Wolfson, attorney, founder of the Freedom to Marry Collaborative
            interviewed by Duncan Osborne, Gay City News, March 10, 2003

“We’re not interested in some kind of constitutional booby prize.”

       — John Fisher, Egale executive director, warning that civil unions are not an option
            when he appeared on February 4, 2003 before the Canadian parliamentary committee
            that is looking at options for recognizing same-sex relationships. Courts in Toronto
            and Montreal ruled in 2001 that the legal definition of marriage as a union between
            one man and one woman was unconstitutional, and gave the government two years to
            amend the law. Three options are being considered: same-sex marriage, remove the
            government from the marriage business and leave it to churches, create a
            civil unions registry.

“If I died, Alistair could not inherit the house. I could as easily leave it to a neighbor or the cat. The law does not respect our relationship, our family, our household — in effect, our humanity.”

       — Tim Miller, performance artist and author, January 16, 2003 press release

Mr. Russert:
“Are you in favor of gay marriage?”

Rev. Sharpton:
“I feel that people have the right to choose and I would support that no matter what the lifestyle.”

Mr. Russert:
“Legalize gay marriage?”

Rev. Sharpton:
“I would support it. Whatever the lifestyle, people should have the right to choose their own life.”

       — Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network
            on Meet the Press, August 25, 2002

“The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. And I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.”

“I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that’s appropriate. I don’t think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area.”

       — Vice President Dick Cheney
            during a debate with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Connecticut) in October 2000

“Memo to the Congress: Thanks for thinking of me, but I don’t need you to defend my marriage. My husband and I can handle that ourselves. Spare me ‘The Defense of Marriage Act’ label on a bill banning same-sex marriages. The name implies that the value of heterosexual marriages goes down once you let homosexuals into the institution. There goes the neighborhood. I don’t buy this realtor’s view of relationships. Gay and lesbian couples who want to wed aren’t trying to assail the grounds for marriage. They’re trying to share them. If anything, they want to stabilize the gay community.”

       — Ellen Goodman, columnist, Boston Globe, May 1996

“Okay, conservatives have changed my mind. Allowing gay marriage, I have been persuaded, will destroy the family, weaken Western civilization, turn America into Sodom and Gomorrah, increase the trade deficit with Japan, endanger the family farm and promote tooth decay. The impeccable logic of conservative opponents is simply too powerful to deny.”

       — Stephen Chapman, columnist, Chicago Tribune, May 1996

“I’m surprised actually that the legislation is taking as long to catch up to that [legal marriage]. In fact, there are gays and lesbians who are married now. So this has reached the technical question.”

       — Glenn Clark, premier of British Columbia, Vancouver’s Xtra! West, 1997

“Homosexuality, at its core, is about the emotional connection between two adult human beings. And what public institution is more central — more definitive — to that connection than marriage? The denial of marriage to gay people is therefore not a minor issue. It is the entire issue.”

       — Andrew Sullivan, New Republic

“As civil marriage is currently conceived and practiced in America, it contains no requirements and holds out no aspirations that homosexuals cannot achieve as easily as heterosexuals. The point of modern marriage is not merely to procreate — as many childless heterosexual married couples attest. Neither is it to entrench ancient gender roles, with women at home and men at work — as innumerable working families prove. It is to provide a secure, acknowledged institution in which the love of one person for another can find expression and support and in which children, if they are present, can find security and protection. If homosexual love is as deep and as worthy as heterosexual love and if the children of homosexuals are deserving of as much social support as the children of heterosexuals, then there is no principled reason to allow civil marriage for straights but not for gays. Legalizing gay marriage, then, is not a radical reformulation of an unchanging institution. It is the long-overdue correction of a moral anomaly that dehumanizes and excludes a significant portion of the human race.”

       — Editorial “Separate but Equal?” in the New Republic, January 10, 2000

“Marriage is not, whatever its enemies say, a means to tame or repress or coerce gay men and women. On the contrary. It is, in fact, the only political and cultural and spiritual institution that can truly liberate us from the shackles of marginalization and pathology. It is the critical institution in our culture related to the emotional and sexual attraction of one human being to another — guaranteed under the Constitution to anyone who loves another person, guaranteed to prisoners and rapists, to deadbeat dads and the mentally incompetent, to murderers and even aliens. And yet it is denied to gay men and lesbians. It is the institution more than any other that links the equality of politics with the intimacy of the heart. Which is why it is so strange — but so telling — that we have avoided it as an issue for so long.”

       — Andrew Sullivan, Advocate, January 20, 1998

“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”

       — Chief Justice Earl Warren writing for the majority, Loving v. Virginia, 1967

“Marriage is a great institution. No family should be without it.”

       — Mae West

“Legally, homosexuals are excluded from the civil right to marry one another, and they face major obstacles in child custody cases. The laws of some states ban a variety of sexual activity between consenting adults, including same-gender sex.

“Committed life partners are denied basic rights granted legal marital partners, such as custody over the children they have raised with a now-deceased blood parent, access to joint tax filing and insurance policies, as well as the lack of visitation and control in custodial care of a seriously ill partner. These disabilities create situations which range from the annoying to tragic.”

       — Homosexuality and Judaism: The Reconstructionist Position
            (Report of the Renconstructionist Commission on Homosexuality),
            Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot and the
            Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, 1993; page 29

“Gay marriage is not a radical step; it is a profoundly humanizing, traditionalizing step. It is the first step in any resolution of the homosexual question — more important than any other institution, since it is the most central institution to the nature of the problem, which is to say, the emotional and sexual bond between one human being and another. If nothing else were done at all, and gay marriage were legalized, ninety percent of the political work necessary to achieve gay and lesbian equality would have been achieved. It is ultimately the only reform that really matters.”

       — Andrew Sullivan
            Virtually Normal: An argument about homosexuality, Alfred A. Knopf, 1995; pg. 185

“We can only speculate about the effects of the legalization of gay marriage on society at large. It could introduce new stability and security into the lives of millions of Americans who, but for their sexual orientation, resemble their fellow citizens in their aspirations and beliefs. It would place on the shoulders of gays and lesbians the moral responsibility for their own lives. You can’t, after all, take responsibility for what you are denied access to, and responsibility is a gift of freedom. Gay marriage might just re-infuse the beleaguered institutions of marriage and family with fresh enthusiasm, reality and life, restoring them to their proper character as a serious and important means for humans to achieve intimacy, stability, and shelter from the storms of life.”

       — Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff,
            Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America, St. Martin’s Press, 1994; pg. 154

“One thousand forty-nine. That is the number of federal statues that provide benefits, rights, and privileges to individuals who have the legal right to marry. I am at the end of my patience with gays who say they’re not interested in obtaining the right to legally marry. Those 1,049 benefits, rights and privileges, which amount to respect, don’t interest them. Dumb, stupid, blind gays opposed to gay marriage obviously have not had to watch helplessly as a lover who has no citizenship or a green card is deported from America like a common criminal. Demanding legalized gay marriage is a pragmatic decision! It is not about ‘copying’ them. It is about money and rights.”

       — Larry Kramer, Advocate, May 27, 1997

“The journal ‘Demography’ recently published the results of a twenty-three year study of the relationship of cohabitation to marriage; they suggest ‘the possibility that cohabitation weakens marriage as an institution.’ The authors concluded that living together before the marriage may not strengthen the marriage; on the contrary living together before marriage commonly produces ‘attitudes and values which increase the probability of divorce.’ These conclusions underscore the particular burdens society places on same-sex couples who try to form and maintain lasting relationships: If the chosen cohabitation of heterosexuals weakens their bonds, how could it not weaken the relationships of same-sex couples who not only may not marry but in addition struggle against the stereotype that their relationships must inevitably dissolve? If, as the ‘Demography’ study indicates, marriage is a key ingredient in the longevity and solidity of intimate relationships, then denial of that most important advantage to one class of citizens on account of sexual orientation is cruelly unfair.”

       — Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff,
            Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America, St. Martin’s Press, 1994; pg. 148

“As gay marriage sank into the subtle background consciousness of a culture, its influence would be felt quietly but deeply among gay children. For them, at last, there would be some kind of future; some older faces to apply to their unfolding lives, some language in which their identity could be properly discussed, some rubric by which it could be explained — not in terms of sex, or sexual practices, or bars, or subterranean activity, but in terms of their future life stories, their potential loves, their eventual chance at some kind of constructive happiness. They would be able to feel by the intimation of a myriad examples that in this respect their emotional orientation was not merely about pleasure, or sin, or shame, or other-ness (although it might always be involved in many of those things), but about the ability to love and be loved as complete, imperfect human beings. Until gay marriage is legalized, this fundamental element of personal dignity will be denied a whole segment of humanity. No other change can achieve it.”

       — Andrew Sullivan
            Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality, Alfred A. Knopf, 1995; pg. 184

“We support the right of lesbians and gay men to marry persons of the same sex, and advocate that lesbians and gay men be eligible for marriage licenses and marital status before the law regardless of sexual orientation.”

       — Washington State Democratic Platform, Human Rights subsection, adopted June 11, 1988

“The Romans had legal protections for their military soldiers who were in holy unions (same-sex marriages). In fact, Roman law had required the Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, to come up with its own law to punish Jews who stoned or defamed lesbian/gay couples of Roman citizenship.”

       — Rev. Timm Peterson, Ph.D.

“I asked a question about the importance of legal marriage for same-sex couples and Sean stops me cold. ‘I wish we’d had a marriage, because …’ He stops himself. His eyes begin to glisten as he looks away. ‘If there had been some sort of support behind our commitment ceremony … I had a hard time dealing with his family, with Pedro’s death and being allowed in the hospital.’ ”

       — Sean Sasser interviewed by Anderson Jones on life with Pedro Zamora, POZ, June 1997

“Thirty-seven years ago I violated a societal taboo. My wife’s skin is white, and I married her. That was against the law in virtually every state in this nation. And the same arguments that I heard then, I hear now: ‘This will violate God’s law. If God wanted people to cross racial lines, he wouldn’t have made black and white. This is going to destroy civilization.’ None of that has come to pass.”

       — Ward Connerly, regent of Univ. of Calif. and an African-American, quoted in
            “Party split on same-sex marriage ban; GOP officials oppose Prop. 22”
            by Hallye Jordan in the San Jose Mercury News, January 28, 2000

“The bill to ban recognition of same-sex marriages was passed by the matrimonial experts in the [state] Assembly and sent to the Senate. California has a divorce rate higher than Reno, and the Assembly wants to keep folks living in sin.

“These same Republicans once decried gay promiscuity. Now they want to stymie gay monogamy.

“I’m … against restricting the pleasures and despair of marriage to heterosexuals. Gays and lesbians should share the joys of fights over toothpaste caps.

“Do same-sex marriages have fights over toilet lids?

“Never mind active or passive, butch or fem. Who has to take out the trash?”

       — Rob Morse, columnist, San Francisco Examiner, 1996

“We can tax the paychecks. The government is very happy to take money from gays and lesbians, but apparently it is not quite capable of providing freedoms and basic privileges like the right to marry and the freedom to have a family.”

       — Leeza Gibbons
            quoted by Rex Wockner on the 11th annual GLAAD media award, April 15, 2000

“As civil marriage is currently conceived and practiced in America, it contains no requirements and holds out no aspirations that homosexuals cannot achieve as easily as heterosexuals. The point of modern marriage is not merely to procreate — as many childless heterosexual married couples attest. Neither is it to entrench ancient gender roles, with women at home and men at work — as innumerable working families prove. It is to provide a secure, acknowledged institution in which the love of one person for another can find expression and support and in which children, if they are present, can find security and protection. If homosexual love is as deep and as worthy as heterosexual love and if the children of homosexuals are deserving of as much social support as the children of heterosexuals, then there is no principled reason to allow civil marriage for straights but not for gays. Legalizing gay marriage, then, is not a radical reformulation of an unchanging institution. It is the long-overdue correction of a moral anomaly that dehumanizes and excludes a significant portion of the human race.”

       — Editorial in The New Republic, January, 10, 2000

“Indeed, there is no moral reason to support civil unions and not same-sex marriage unless you believe that admitting homosexuals would weaken a vital civil institution. This was the underlying argument for the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which implied that allowing homosexuals to marry constituted an “attack” on the existing institution. Both Gore and Bush take this position. Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have endorsed it. In fact, it is by far the most popular line of argument in the debate. But how, exactly, does the freedom of a gay couple to marry weaken a straight couple’s commitment to the same institution? The obvious answer is that since homosexuals are inherently depraved and immoral, allowing them to marry would inevitably spoil, even defame, the institution of marriage. It would wreck the marital neighborhood, so to speak, and fewer people would want to live there. Part of the attraction of marriage for some heterosexual males, the argument goes, is that it confers status. One of the ways it does this is by distinguishing such males from despised homosexuals. If you remove that social status, you further weaken an already beleaguered institution.

“This argument is rarely made explicitly, but I think it exists in the minds of many who supported the DoMA. One wonders, for example, what Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich, both conducting or about to conduct extramarital affairs at the time, thought they were achieving by passing the DoMA. But, whatever its rationalization, this particular argument can only be described as an expression of pure animus. To base the prestige of marriage not on its virtues, responsibilities, and joys but on the fact that it keeps gays out is to engage in the crudest demagoguery. As a political matter, to secure the rights of a majority by eviscerating the rights of a minority is the opposite of what a liberal democracy is supposed to be about. It certainly should be inimical to anyone with even a vaguely liberal temperament.”

       — Andrew Sullivan
            “Why ‘Civil Union’ isn’t Marriage,” The New Republic, May 8, 2000

“Would any heterosexual in America believe he had a right to pursue happiness if he could not marry the person he loved? What would be more objectionable to most people — to be denied a vote in next November’s presidential election or to no longer have legal custody over their child or legal attachment to their wife or husband? Not a close call.”

       — Andrew Sullivan
            “Why ‘Civil Union’ isn’t Marriage,” The New Republic, May 8, 2000

“There’s one more thing. When an extremely basic civil right is involved, it seems to me the burden of proof should lie with those who seek to deny it to a small minority of citizens, not with those who seek to extend it. So far, the opposite has been the case. Those of us who have argued for this basic equality have been asked to prove a million negatives: that the world will not end, that marriage will not collapse, that this reform will not lead to polygamy and incest and bestiality and the fall of Rome. Those who wish to deny it, on the other hand, have been required to utter nothing more substantive than Hillary Clinton’s terse, incoherent dismissal. Gore, for example, has still not articulated a persuasive reason for his opposition to gay marriage, beyond a one-sentence affirmation of his own privilege. But surely if civil marriage involves no substantive requirement that adult gay men and women cannot fulfill, if gay love truly is as valid as straight love, and if civil marriage is a deeper constitutional right than the right to vote, then the continued exclusion of gay citizens from civil marriage is a constitutional and political enormity. It is those who defend the status quo who should be required to prove their case beyond even the slightest doubt.

“They won’t have to, of course. The media will congratulate George W. Bush merely for conceding that the gay people supporting his campaign are human beings. Gore will be told by his pollsters that supporting the most basic civil right for homosexuals would be political suicide, and he will surely defer to them. That is politics, and I have learned to expect nothing more from either candidate. But the principle of the matter is another issue. To concede that gay adults are responsible citizens, to concede that there will be no tangible damage to the institution of marriage by their inclusion within it, and then to offer gay men and women a second-class institution called civil union makes no sense. It’s a well-meaning surrender to unfounded fear. Liberals of any stripe should see this. The matter is ultimately simple enough. Gay men and women are citizens of this country. After two centuries of invisibility and persecution, they deserve to be recognized as such.”

       — Andrew Sullivan
            “Why ‘Civil Union’ isn’t Marriage,” The New Republic, May 8, 2000

“These days, when I receive an invitation to the marriage of heterosexual friends, family members, or students, I am filled with outrage. What nerve! Sending an invitation to me (and, often, my lover) with no reference to the fact that I am being asked to participate as an observer in an event in which I legally am not permitted to be a central participant! No note acknowledging the disparity and injustice, no sheepish apology for participating in an institution of segregation, no phone call checking-in about the politics of it all.”

       — Eic Rofes in Phoenix’s Heatstroke, March 23, 2000

“If the institution of marriage is a positive and beneficial institution for society and works for heterosexual couples, it should work for same-sex couples. We have no right to deny same-sex couples the same opportunities to participate in that institution given their equality rights.

“Why would we want to deny to same-sex couples the opportunity to affirm and strengthen their relationships, and by doing so strengthen the bond not just for themselves and their families but also for society as a whole?”

       — Andrew Petter, British Columbia Attorney General, Associated Press report, July 21, 2000
            On the occasion of his filing a petition with the Canadian province’s supreme
            court to determine whether the ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional.

“My dream list is everything short of marriage.”

       — Elizabeth Birch, executive director, Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest
            gay-rights advocacy organization interview by Chuck Colbert, “Democrats, Family
            Values, and an American Dream for Gays,” New York Times, August 17, 2000 She
            was asked for her wish list for gay Americans under a Gore presidency and
            Democratic control of the House.

“Marriage is a basic human right. You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to say when people talked about interracial marriage and I quote, ‘Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married.’”

       — Rep. John Lewis, (D) Georgia in an address to the U.S. House of Representatives
            regarding the “Defense of Marriage Act,” July 11, 1996
            [See the full text: A Mean Bill]

“Gay marriage is not a real problem. Those who loathe homosexuals have tried to make it one during this current squabble by drawing tellingly desperate moral parallels between consensual gay relationships and sex with dead bodies and animals, sex with little children, incest, polygamy, prostitution and seemingly every other crime and perversion they can think of. You’d think it was the apocalypse itself instead of just another red-meat issue of little real dimension or consequence — like flag burning and late-term abortions — being churned for political advantage not by advocates but by opponents.”

       — Eric Zorn, columnist, Chicago Tribune, May 1996

“The national debate over governmental regulation of marriage has not attended adequately to the expressive issues involved. Whatever else civil marriage does and provides, it is a unique expressive resource, and the mixed-sex requirement rests upon an expressive basis. Moreover, this expressively based restriction is both content discriminatory and viewpoint discriminatory. Accordingly, the restriction would be constitutional under the First Amendment only if it satisfied heightened scrutiny, which it does not. The public welfare purposes offered in defense of the mixed-sex requirement are indefensibly over-broad, under-broad, or simply not compelling. And the First Amendment precludes reliance on the expressive purposes that might under-gird the mixed-sex requirement, aimed as it is at insulating the current symbolic meaning of marriage from contestation, protecting the psyches of heterosexually identified marriage conventionalists, or shielding heterosexually identified civil marriage from democratic and social questioning.

“It may well be, however, that the country’s current constitutional doctrines and legal institutional cultures will render acceptance of this analysis difficult for courts, legislatures, and legal scholars. This Article, however, may at least contribute to an increased appreciation of what is truly at stake in the controversy. An understanding of the unique expressive dimensions of civil marriage may afford another reason to conceive the fundamental right to civil marriage as prima facie embracing claims by same-sex couples, who desire and would be able to exercise this expressive resource were the mixed-sex requirement eliminated. Such an understanding also underscores the full value of civil marriage, which is being denied to lesbigay persons, and this in turn may improve the long-run chances for success of the equal protection challenges that are being leveled against the mixed-sex requirement.

“As more states follow in Vermont’s footsteps, the bankruptcy of the common justifications for limiting civil marriage to mixed-sex couples will become clearer. So too, I hope, will the constitutional offensiveness of even a regime (different from Vermont’s) that gave same-sex couples all the protections and obligations of civil marriage — whether controlled by states, the federal government, or international law — yet withheld admittance to this historic institution as such and instead insisted on a semiotically separate status for lesbigay people. This is, after all, one nation, with one people equal before the law. It is time for this truth to triumph over the mixed-sex requirement for civil marriage.”

       — David B. Cruz
            in “Just Don’t Call It Marriage: The First Amendment and Marriage as an Expressive Resource”

“‘I think they ought to be treated equally. Period,’ Ford declared. Asked specifically whether gay couples should get the same Social Security, tax and other federal benefits as married couples, he replied, ‘I don’t see why they shouldn’t. I think that’s a proper goal.’”

       — Gerald Ford, former president
            interviewed by Deb Price, Detroit News, October 29, 2001.

“Now we come to a statement by the CCF [Campaign for California’s Families] that’s a direct threat to anyone, gay or straight, who wants to participate in the essential institution: ‘It is unjust and unconscionable to rob marriage of its uniqueness by awarding the rights of marriage to people who aren't married.’


“The defenders of marriage have gone Bushian in a big way and tripped over their grammar, accidentally ruling out marriage for everyone who doesn’t happen to be married already, which would put an end to that essential institution in a couple of generations. But it’s a Freudian slip that reveals their true intentions.

“These subversives are trying to control marriage the way Enron tried to control energy. It’s un-American and leaves a lot of good people out in the cold.

“If you think an institution is essential to civilization, how can you bar some citizens from it?

       — Rob Morse, columnist, San Francisco Chronicle, February 17, 2002

“If marriage is essential to civilization, isn’t it better to let the heathen gays partake of the institution instead of running wild doing whatever conservatives imagine they do?

“And you know they like imagining all that. On its Web site, as examples of the gay threat, the Campaign for California’s Families even posts literature unfit for family viewing.

“Maybe the threat of gay marriage is that gays will get boring.

“The sex will disappear. A big night out will be dinner at Applebee’s. These behavior choices could happen, if gays and lesbians achieve marital equality.

“Then what will the fearful imagine while stuck in their own marriages?

       — Rob Morse, columnist, San Francisco Chronicle, February 17, 2002

“He: I think you should have all the rights of marriage, just call it something else.

“Me: Works for me, give us marriage and rename your relationship with your wife.

“And he got it. I could see it in his face, he made the leap.”

       — Bill Dubay of Seattle
            describing a real encounter in an e-mailing list on legal marriage, April 1, 2002

“Social Security would be strengthened if same-sex partners were treated equally.”

       — Democratic National Committee resolution at their 2002 winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

“The American Humanist Association reaffirms the validity and supports the legalization of same-sex marriages in all states of the United States.”

       — American Humanist Association, statement from the board, 1997

Quotes — Affirmations and Provocations on Same-sex Couples

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