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John Edwards on Wife's Gay Marriage Position: "She Actually Says What She Thinks"

John and Elizabeth Edwards were on The Tonight Show last night and the presidential hopeful told Jay Leno that he does have a difference of opinion with his wife when it comes to gay marriage.

EdwardsElizabeth Edwards appeared at a breakfast event for the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club at San Francisco's Gay Pride last week and told reporters after her keynote speech: "I don't know why somebody else's marriage has anything to do with me. I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage...If he's pleasant to me on the street, if his children don't throw things in my yard, then I'm happy. It seems to me we're making issues of things that honestly ... don't matter."

John Edwards told Leno: "It's not the only thing we disagree about. She actually says what she thinks...A lot of people I love and care about feel the same way Elizabeth does. I'm very strong about ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. But I'm not quite where Elizabeth is yet."

Saying what you think. Now that's refreshing!

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  1. Ha. 24Play - eat a dick. I assume you'll be voting for Kucinich with that logic? Good luck in the general election. I'm not being played, I'm being realistic. The people who are being played are the "on the fence" Americans who are too bigoted to vote for someone who likes the gays too much. I think this was a clear wink that the Edwards campaign is gay friendly without losing the support of those who might not be so gay friendly. And its a gesture far above what any of the other candidates short of Kucinich have done. You can sit and pout because Edwards won't throw on a eurokini and prance down Christopher Street in the gay pride parade until you're blue in the face, but I'd prefer to see the silver lining in a stormy cloud of losers for Presidential candidates.

    Posted by: Carrie | Jun 26, 2007 5:10:38 PM

  2. Carrie,

    I'm glad the wink from the Edwards campaign made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But as I clearly stated at the beginning of the Elizabeth Edwards thread here LAST FRIDAY, politicians have an odious record of dispatching their spouses to send "coded" messages to constituencies they themselves refuse to embrace. And it doesn't mean shit.

    Do you really believe the unwashed American masses are the ones being played? That Elizabeth's wink is a clearer indicator of how John would move on marriage equality than John's own stated policy is? Dream on.

    Yes, the Edwardses, Clintons, Obamas, Giulianis, and even Bushes have numerous gay friends/staffers/cabinet secretaries and are perfectly fine with gay people—on a personal level. But we need them to support us publicly and with actual legal action.

    How their spouses/children/hairdressers feel is absolutely irrelevant. I'm thrilled Elizabeth Edwards is a no-bullshit supporter of equal rights, but her stance doesn't make me the slightest bit more likely to vote for her husband. (I won't be factoring Judy Nathan's foreign policy views or Michelle Obama's opinions on abortion into my vote, either.) Elizabeth's appearances this past week are meaningless pandering. I doubt very much that John would have made that same appearance in SF. (And we won't be seeing the junior senator from New York marching in the NYC Pride parade ever again, either.)

    And BTW, I know it's a convenient straw-man for you, but let's not assume that anyone who didn't pop a boner over Elizabeth's statements this week is a one-issue voter. While I deeply appreciate that Kucinich and Gravel (and in 2004, Sharpton) have all endorsed marriage equality, I have no expectation of voting for them.

    Posted by: 24play | Jun 26, 2007 5:40:29 PM

  3. 24Play - that's fine and overall I agree with you. You said, "But we need them to support us publicly and with actual legal action." Yeah, that'd be nice. So would actually having them get elected first. Like I said, I am realistic. And I am not petitioning that Edwards is the Abraham Lincoln of the gay cause. But I also certainly don't think we should shit on political moves meant to show he's gay friendly just because they are done so in a manner that will keep him from eliminating his chances of actually being elected to anything. I'd love for any of the candidates with electoral viability to stand up for gay marriage equality, but we all know that is a death sentence for their chances in the general election. It's a very easy tool for the right to use to distract voters from real issues by making people think the candidate is a immoral libtard gay loving fairy who clearly cannot run the country. So what serves the greater good now? I'm not satisfied by any means or saying that a wink and a nod is enough...but maybe I'm okay with knowing they are open to dialogue, receptive to ideas and actually thinking about the issue with an open mind and talking about it, which is more than most of the other candidates are doing. It's refreshing to know the candidate is not likely to legislate against gays and lesbians and is open and receptive to our cause and that if he/she becomes President we have an opportunity to educate and someone open and receptive to that education. And a wife at home who agrees with us. He might not be the Lincoln for gay rights, but I certainly think he's open to more than he's telling us now. And let's face it, that's more than we've been given over the last 8 years. While I'm not a one issue voter either (heck before this I wasn't even paying attention to Edwards), it doesn't mean we have to label any positive gesture made as solely political and not worthy of praise or attention. If we keep doing that, why should any of the candidates bother paying attention to us at all?

    Posted by: Carrie | Jun 26, 2007 6:05:45 PM

  4. Carrie,

    It's obvious from the past week that Edwards is making a full-court press for GLBT support, and I appreciate that. I just think the fact that John swung by the LA Center himself today is much more meaningful than anything Elizabeth could say or do on behalf of the campaign. And we need to let the candidates know that winks from proxies don't really cut it.

    When it comes right down to it, I fully expect that, come primary time, the top tier of Democrats will not have more than a hair-breadth of difference between them on gay issues. So we'll all just have to decide between Edwards, Clinton, and Obama (plus whichever dark horse the media elevates to top-tier status when it needs needs a storyline this fall, hopefully Richardson) based on other issues and qualifications.

    And I have no problem with that. Marriage equality really should take a backseat to the continued occupation of Iraq, the threat of terrorism, the need for universal healthcare, and the quick and absolute reversal of the undemocratic, unAmerican, blatantly illegal Cheney agenda that is eroding our most basic freedoms (privacy, habeas corpus, etc.). More than at any time I can remember, the fate of the republic really hangs in the balance in this election. So as I evaluate candidates, I know I will be attaching less importance to gay issues this time around. We're making good headway on the state level with that right now.

    Posted by: 24play | Jun 26, 2007 6:46:12 PM

  5. Well there - we've reach a consensus (well on everything but universal healthcare as I'm not still completely on board with that). :) Should we like, do it now or something?

    Oh and don't forget the now sad and unfortunate Supreme Court we have that ranks the freedom of speech for PACs, corporations and organizations with gobs of money over that of an impressionable 18 year old individual American.

    Posted by: Carrie | Jun 26, 2007 7:05:13 PM

  6. "Gays are hardening to Obama and Clinton..." LOL!

    Posted by: JeffColsOH | Jun 27, 2007 12:22:17 AM

  7. Ever feel like the plain high school girl who is good enough to screw in the backseat of the car, in the dark... but nobody wants to be seen with you in public?

    John Edwards doesn't fool me. He has his wife make nice-nice, but after getting our votes, would pull a Clinton. Y'know, Don't Ask/Don't Tell, Defense of Marriage Act.

    Posted by: ProfessorVP | Jun 27, 2007 1:06:00 AM

  8. So Mrs. Edwards is shilling for the mister? "Johnny isn't there yet (wink-wink) but don't worry about it." I don't purchase it. And you're a fool if you do.

    Posted by: Henway | Jun 27, 2007 2:54:56 AM

  9. "I'm very strong about ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. But I'm not quite where Elizabeth is yet."

    The key word there is yet. Elizabeth is greasing the wheels so that he can change his position later on without looking like a flip-flopper.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Jun 27, 2007 10:57:30 AM

  10. "I'm very strong about ending discrimination against gay and lesbian couples. But I'm not quite where Elizabeth is yet."

    The key word there is yet. Elizabeth is greasing the wheels so that he can change his position later on without looking like a flip-flopper.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Jun 27, 2007 10:58:43 AM

  11. Elizabeth Edwards rocks. She understands that civil unions are the back of the bus. In Massachusetts, we've had three years of gay marriage--and all is well. See pictures of our perfect unions--and how we got there--in a new book from Beacon Press, Courting Equality.

    Posted by: courting_equality | Jun 27, 2007 7:03:40 PM

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