Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Edwards In The Mainstream On Gay Rights

In a post on The Huffington Post, Wendy Button recounts an episode during which Bob Shrum, who has run (usually unsuccessful) political campaigns for Democratic Presidential candidates and others, reportedly asked Senator John Edwards about gay rights. "I'm not comfortable around those people," Shrum claims Edwards replied.

Ms. Buttons is not alone in questioning this version of an event which occurred in 1998. She is incredulous that someone as decent and devoid of bigotry as John Edwards could have made such a remark. Before Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, before Vermont- as the first state in the U.S.A.- legalized civil unions. And what did Edwards allegedly say? He disliked gay people? That he supported a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? That gay people were not entitled to full partnership benefits? That homosexuality is condemned in the Bible? No. John Edwards, a straight, married man from the American south, allegedly said- almost a decade ago- that he is "uncomfortable" around gay people, a feeling held by many (if not most) people on main street America in 1998. And now.

It is likely that Edwards did not make the remark as quoted by Bob Shrum. But the suggestion that his only defense is that he was significantly misquoted- that such an emotion would be abhorrent- is contemptuous of the values held by a considerable portion of the American electorate.

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