Elizabeth Edwards Comes Out for Marriage Equality

This post, written by Pam Spaulding, originally appeared on Pam's House Blend

The bar on marriage equality acceptance moved higher today, as Elizabeth Edwards easily brushed off the fearmongering framing on same-sex unions that the GOP has relied upon for years.

At the San Francisco's Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club breakfast today, she came out firmly in favor of legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians.
"I don't know why somebody else's marriage has anything to do with me,'' she said. "I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage.''
...The breakfast appearance by the candidate's wife -- witnessed by a score of politicians, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Kamala Harris, and City Attorney Dennis Herrera -- was hailed as a milestone in the 30 year history of the Gay Pride event, which had never been visited by a major presidential candidate or spouse.
But Edwards went one step further in a speaking to reporters after the event, and became the first major Democratic candidate or spouse to openly support gay marriage.
But that position differs markedly from her husband, the former North Carolina Senator. Edwards said her husband, though having a '"deeply held belief against any form of discrimination,'' supports gay civil unions, but does not support gay marriage.
Now if only she can get hubby on board; the rest of the SFGate article goes on to repeat the presidential candidate's "internal conflict" and "struggle" with the issue, bringing up his oft-cited Southern Baptist background and upbringing in a rural town.

Of course we are all products of our background, but we're not hostage to it. If John Edwards had a Klansman relative who spouted racist and anti-Semitic bile all around him as a youth, or if young John heard sermons from the pulpit that the races shouldn't mix because the bible says so, certainly the former NC senator could reject those teachings as an adult. It's clear that his progressive views on race and race relations run counter to the upbringing many Southerners from his generation who grew up in small towns received as children.

That said, one cannot dismiss the message the Edwards campaign is telegraphing, and it's clearer than the mixed, weak signals emitting from the Clinton and Obama camps so far. It's not as if John Edwards didn't know what his wife was going to say at this breakfast; it's a political campaign, after all. This kind of statement keeps the dialogue on marriage equality front and center instead of shuttled to the back of the closet as it was in 2004, when Dems at all levels ran from the issue like a bat out of hell. That's a sea change.
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