Thursday, July 29, 2004

BOSTON — Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank told a cheering Democratic National Convention last night that same-sex “marriage” is a primary goal of the homosexual wing of the Democratic Party.

There is a “gay agenda,” and it includes equal access to the military, jobs and schools without fear of being persecuted for being homosexual, he said.

“And we even believe that when two people are in love — and they are willing to be morally and legally committed to each other, and financially responsible for each other — that if they are prepared to get married, it’s a good thing for the stability for society,” Mr. Frank declared as the enthusiastic audience waved placards for the National Stonewall Democrats, the grass-roots group that represents homosexual, bisexual and transgender Democrats.

The convention this year has been described as exceptionally “gay friendly,” despite Sen. John Kerry’s and Sen. John Edwards’ preference for civil unions over same-sex “marriages.”

Mr. Frank, who has championed homosexual issues in Congress for years, promised advocates that he would push the envelope, and his speech last night marked the first time a podium speaker talked at length about the need for same-sex “marriage.”

Last night also was the first time conventioneers could wave the Stonewall placards. Throughout the week, homosexual-rights activists had asked to wave signs in support of same-sex “marriage,” but party officials, who approved all signs for security reasons, hadn’t provided any, according to Bay Windows, a local newspaper for homosexuals.

At a lunch yesterday, Mr. Frank said homosexuals “have more riding on” this election than any other group.

If the Democrats win big in November — take the presidency and the Senate, for example — the pundits and politicians “will come to the conclusion that gay bashing did not work,” Mr. Frank said.

But if President Bush wins, despite problems in Iraq, the economy and environmental issues, “we will get blamed,” Mr. Frank said. “It may not be accurate. It certainly won’t be fair. But it’s a political reality.”

Homosexual-rights activists must, therefore, do all they can to convince voters to choose the Kerry-Edwards ticket, not independent Ralph Nader, the Massachusetts congressman said.

Mr. Frank bucked Mr. Nader’s inference that there’s no “overpowering” difference between the Republican and Democratic parties regarding homosexual issues.

Former California Assemblywoman Carol Migden, who leads the state’s tax commission, urged the luncheon crowd to practice patience and perseverance.

“We have to pace ourselves for the long haul” and “make allowances” for people to adjust to new ideas, said Ms. Migden, who sponsored California’s landmark 1999 domestic partner registry law.

Times have changed, added Ms. Migden, who recalled how she once had to fight to get the word HIV into a Democratic political platform. Homosexual issues are progressing so well, that “10 years from now, gay marriage will be the law of the land,” she predicted.

“It’s our time now,” said openly homosexual Florida businessman Jim Stork, who is running against Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., Florida Republican.

The Boston convention has been particularly friendly to homosexual interests: More than 250 homosexual delegates are attending, and national homosexual figures, including Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrat, and Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest homosexual activist group, have addressed the convention.

Activists have talked of their expectations that, once elected, the Kerry administration will be a strong ally on homosexual issues.

Discussions about “gay marriage,” however, have been kept private, out of deference to the positions of the Democratic nominees; both are on record as supporting civil unions for homosexuals, but not same-sex “marriage.”

At least one homosexual-rights group,, scolded activists this week for supporting an “anti-gay” candidate such as Mr. Kerry.

Ms. Jacques of HRC said earlier this week that her group’s support for the Kerry-Edwards ticket was warranted. Democrats have “a willingness to have a discussion” and “we agree on the same goals,” she said at a party Monday night attended by about 800 homosexual-rights activists and allies.

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