What candidates think of same-sex marriages

May 15, 2008 7:31:20 PM PDT
The State Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage is going to figure into the presidential campaign. But not like it did four years ago.

Four years ago same-sex marriage was a hot potato for Democrats.

This time around, conservatives will likely bring it up again, but it's the Republicans and John McCain who will be struggling with it.

Four years ago after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages, George Bush energized his conservative base by threatening a constitutional ban.

"If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process," said President Bush during 2004 State of the Union Address.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was so gun shy of the issue at the convention, Kerry didn't want to be seen with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"If that hurts then I'll stand aside whatever it takes to win this election," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on July 27, 2004.

Four years later, Newsom's support of same-sex marriage is echoed by a largely Republican appointed State Supreme Court.

"Six out of seven of these jurists are Republican appointees. So this is not political any more and I think we need to get over using it as political, and I have confidence, this is great," said Newsom.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have the same position on same-sex marriage. They oppose it, but support civil unions with equal rights.

"Civil union that provides all the benefits for a legally sanctioned marriage," said Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama during a LOGO Netwoek debate on August 9, 2006.

And they both think it's a matter for states to decide.

"I've always believed that marriage should be left to the states, because that's where it's always been," said Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on the Ellen DeGeneres show on April 7, 2008.

John McCain's position is not that far off from the Democrats.

"I believe that gay marriage should not be legal, but I don't believe we should discriminate against any American, because that's not the nature of America okay?" said GOP presidential hopeful John McCain on This Week With George Stephanopoulos on November 19, 2006.

That's why ABC 7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain says this time around, the issue is more of a problem for McCain and the Republicans.

"Because John McCain is not a Born-Again Christian, he has a very tenuous relationship with the Christian right and they're going to want to know where is he on this issue. If he stakes out a position in the middle a moderate position similar to Hillary and Barack Obama, then he's not giving the conservatives any reason to vote for him," said Cain.

If McCain moves to the right and like Bush supports a constitutional ban, then he's flip flopped.

Conservatives could go after Barack Obama for wanting to repeal the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples.

For a clue as how are the candidates are going to react, a major decision came down and none of the three contenders are talking.


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