- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2000

LOS ANGELES Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley both define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
But the rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination both spoke out Thursday against a California ballot initiative to define marriage precisely that way.
Mr. Gore, campaigning in Los Angeles, and Mr. Bradley, who campaigned in San Francisco Thursday, do not want to alienate homosexual voters, a major Democratic constituency. The California primary presidential primary is scheduled for March 7, the same day on which voters will decide the homosexual "marriage" initiative.
In a surreal town meeting that stretched into the wee hours of Thursday morning at Los Angeles City College, Mr. Gore derided as mean-spirited the Knight Initiative, named for its sponsor, Republican state Sen. Pete Knight.
"I oppose the Knight Initiative. I think the Knight Initiative is mean-spirited in too many ways," Mr. Gore said.
The Knight Initiative, or Proposition 22, would add 14 words to the California state family code:
"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The measure is meant as a pre-emptive move to prevent California from having to recognize homosexual "marriages" in the event that gay activists in other states such as Vermont win recognition of homosexual "marriages" there.
Mr. Bradley, who campaigned in San Francisco Thursday, also opposes the initiative.
"Bill Bradley said early on that the Knight Initiative was divisive and mean-spirited and he would not support it," said Kristen Ludecke, a Bradley spokeswoman.
But both candidates have also said they oppose homosexual "marriage."
"While I'm against gay 'marriage,' if I was a voter in California, I would not support the Knight Initiative," Mr. Bradley told the Advocate magazine last year.
"Gore has a record and a history of opposing same-sex 'marriage,' " said Kikki Moore, his campaign press secretary, last fall.
California has 367 of the 2,170 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. It also promises 54 electoral votes. Mr. Bradley is trying to overcome a two-to-one Gore lead in California. Mr. Gore has made more than 65 trips to California as vice president and more than 20 just since January 1999.
Mr. Gore campaigned at a high-tech firm in Venice Thursday afternoon before heading on to Olympia, Wash., and back to Washington, D.C. Mr. Bradley had a noon campaign stop in San Francisco before heading to Maryland.
Mr. Gore campaigned with California Gov. Gray Davis Thursday at Digital Domain, which produces special effects for movies and television shows.
Mr. Gore noted that the company has been unable to fill 30 high-paying jobs because it cannot find workers with the appropriate skills. Mr. Gore used the problem to criticize Mr. Bradley, saying the former New Jersey senator would spend the entire budget surplus on his plan for universal health care.
"When the surplus is gone, he can't invest in education. That's why he has not put forward a comprehensive education plan," Mr. Gore said.
The Bradley spokeswoman said: "There's only one candidate in the Democratic race who busts the budget surplus and that's Al Gore. He overspends the 10-year budget surplus by $350 billion.
"Bill Bradley has put forward a number of education proposals that would deliver help to people where they live their lives," she said. "He doesn't think, as Al Gore does, that the solution to education comes in a box from Washington."
Mr. Gore believes town-hall meetings helped overcome Mr. Bradley's early lead in New Hampshire. The test for Mr. Gore is whether town-hall meetings can work in a huge state in which TV ads make the difference.
"Word of mouth even in a large state has extra impact," he said Thursday on a local TV interview.
Mr. Gore gabbed for three hours and 18 minutes at the city college. The town meeting ended a frenzied Wednesday in which he had flown from New Hampshire to New York, to Washington, to Ohio and then headed to Los Angeles.

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