On Jan. 17, former Vice President Al Gore publicly stated that gays and lesbians should receive full marriage rights.
Gore expressed his opinion in a video message posted to his Web site and news network, Current. Bloggers and news outlets picked up the story on Jan. 23.
In the minute long segment, Gore, seated at a table with a white board in the background, made the following statement:
“I think it’s wrong for the government to discriminate against people because of that person’s sexual orientation. I think that gay men and women ought to have the same rights as heterosexual men and women – to make contracts, to have hospital visiting rights, to join together in marriage – and I don’t understand why it is considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by gays and lesbians. Shouldn’t we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one’s partner regardless of sexual orientation? Because if you don’t do that, then to that extent you’re promoting promiscuity – you’re promoting all the problems that can result from promiscuity. And the loyalty and love that two people feel for one another when they fall in love ought to be celebrated and encouraged and shouldn’t be prevented by any form of discrimination in the law.”
The statement officially marks a sea change in Gore’s opinion on same-sex civil marriage. In his 2000 presidential campaign, Gore said he was in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples, but not full marriage rights.
Currently, none of the remaining contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination – Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John Edwards – supports gay marriage, though all have said they support civil unions.
Gore’s announcement drew praise from several Democrats, including the National Stonewall Democrats, a caucus for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Democrats and their allies.
“We applaud Vice President Gore for firmly stating his support for allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry. It is a position which some would still call courageous, but which a new generation of Americans would call common sense,” said Jon Hoadley, Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats.