The Note

Jenna Bush is a summer intern for a New York public relations firm, according to Rush & Molloy. LINK

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

Seven of nine Democratic presidential candidates pledged to expand gay rights yesterday, but most stopped short of endorsing full marriage rights for gay couples.

That question, as asked on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) candidate questionnaire, is relatively straightforward: do you believe the civil instruction of marriage … should be made legally available to two committed same sex adults?

As Noted elsewhere, Kucinich, Sharpton, Moseley Braun support it … the other six don't, to varying degrees.

For many gay people, the distinction between civil unions and marriage is a big one. Civil unions has a state's rights connotation … a cop-out feel to it … what if state "x" passes it and state "y" doesn't … . while marriage is marriage … fully equal under the law. (Marriage is, after all, a contract between a state and a man and a woman).

Ordinarily, that'd be the end of it. What we'll indelicately and for short-hand reasons call "gay money" would flow toward Kucinich, Moseley Braun, or Sharpton.

But ah, not to stereotype … the gay political community is organized and smart … has won its legislative victories in steps, not leaps, and doesn't believe any of the above candidates can win. So the positions, tones, and histories of the other six candidates will come in for extra scrutiny.

HRC attendees had to be amazed at the evolution (we mean it in a philosophically positive, not normative connotation) of the Democratic Party in only a few short years. (Can you imagine a candidate forum about gay issues in 1992??).

The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein ticks off the points of agreement and dissent: "[A]ll of the Democrats endorsed equal treatment for gays in hiring and adoption. All except Senator Bob Graham of Florida said they would seek to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy implemented under former President Clinton and allow gays to serve openly in the military." LINK

"All of the candidates except Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said they would support 'civil unions' that would offer gay couples most of the same rights and benefits enjoyed by married heterosexuals. Edwards did not take a position on the matter; Lieberman indicated he would leave the decision to the states."

"Kerry indicated he might eventually back gay marriages if a public consensus developed for them," Brownstein Notes.

To the Post 's Mark Leibovich, it was all about the pandering:

"Yesterday was Gay Day in Dem Land. 'I believe we're in such a gay moment in terms of history,' declared Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, by way of introduction. With that, seven of the nine Democrats — only Sens. John Edwards and Bob Graham did not attend — take the stage in a systematic effort to say, in a collective manner of speaking, that some of the Democrats' best friends are gay. " LINK "John Kerry catalogues his support for 'this community' over his career, how he backed gay issues 'before Ellen DeGeneres, before 'Will & Grace' and before anyone knew who Melissa Etheridge was.' (Bonus pander points for pop culture references.)"

((Note Note: Yes, Kerry actually said that!!!))

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