According to the Advocate, National Stonewall Democrats executive director Joanne Wyrick is concerned about the views of the DLC’s apparent new chairman, Harold Ford, Jr., on gay rights.
“His willingness to lightly amend the U.S. Constitution and to exploit gay families for political gain should alarm Democrats across the country,” she said in a press release. “The Democratic Leadership Council is in need of leadership that supports and affirms all American families.”
According to the NSD release, Ford has backed the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships.
On Ford’s 2006 campaign Web site, the Senate hopeful stated that he would “continue to be pro-family, including supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, without taking away the civil rights of gays and lesbians.”
Writing for the DLC’s magazine, Blueprint, the former congressman stated that the Democrats’ win in Congress was because the election was won on ideas and not ideology. In the article, he calls same-sex marriage a “traditional wedge” issue like abortion and gun control that has “plagued our party in recent elections.”
The problem with this issue is you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. From a political perspective, Ford would have no chance in winning a statewide election in Tenn. if he backed gay marriage. Then again, it is a safe position to take. An amendment to ban gay marriage or even to just define the term as between a man and woman will never make it through Congress. It takes too many votes and too many hoops to jump through to amend the constitution. So the question really becomes a mere litmus test for politicians in regions where the prospect of gay marriage is unpopular.
One can officially back such an amendment and be reasonably sure he/she will never have to vote on it. Afterall, we can’t all be from Massachusetts or San Francisco.
At the same time, I believe the “leave it to the states” approach of Howard Dean and others is a cop out. Better for the government to get out of the “marriage” business all together, officially recognize civil unions, and respect the First Amendment by discontinuing any official church sanctions of marriage.