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Newsom Blasts Dems For Not Supporting Gay Marriage


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Newsom Blasts Dems For Not Supporting Gay Marriage

by Margo Williams 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

Posted: February 9, 2005 2:03 pm. ET

(Cambridge, Massachusetts) San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom got a reception usually reserved for a head of state Tuesday when he addressed students at Harvard University.

Speaking at the John F. Kennedy School of Government Newsom dismissed accusations that his decision to allow same-sex marriages helped reelect President George W. Bush and motivated voters in 11 states to approve constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.

"That train had already left the station," Newsom said. "This was going to be used as a wedge issue regardless of whether or not some crazy mayor was sworn in in San Francisco or not."

In a speech frequently stopped by applause and cheers, Newsom said his issuing of some 4,000 same-sex marriage licenses last year was akin to the actions of Rosa Parks during the civil rights movement

“At the end of the day it’s all about people,” he said. “If you’re going to tell ten-plus million people that they are secondary citizens…I found that fundamentally wrong.”

Newsom wasn't afraid to bash his own Democratic party either.

"I can't stand my party right now. Is it political expediency? Is it accommodation that we're after? Or is it about standing up on principles and values?"

Nor was he afraid to take on the leading LGBT spokesperson in the party, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass). After Newsom began allowing same-sex couples to marry and the issue headed to the courts, Frank accused the mayor of jumping the gun and called for a more gradual change.

But Newsom told students that politicians can't be afraid of going against popular opinion.

"You can't wait for public opinion to move social justice forward," Newsom said, adding that gay marriage is an inevitability - pointing to Massachusetts where same-sex marriage became legal last year.

In a question and answer session the mayor was asked if same-sex marriage could not have a detrimental effect on families.

“We’re talking about marriage here. It is an institution of stability,” said Newsom in response.

Outside the packed room Students for Mass Equality, a Harvard campus organization, was busy recruiting new members.

©365Gay.com 2005


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