Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, came out in favor of same-sex marriage yesterday after a speech at the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club in San Francisco. Mrs. Edwards was attending a breakfast event to kick off San Fran's gay pride parade.
"I don't know why somebody else's marriage has anything to do with me,'' she said. "I'm completely comfortable with 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.
"John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted,'' she said. "That's up against his being raised in the 1950's in a rural southern town. I think honestly he's on a road with a lot of people in this country are on....They're struggling with this. Most of the gay and lesbian people I know... have seen their friends and family walking down that same road.
"It's frustrating, I know,'' she added, "but it's a long distance from where we are now to the pews of a Southern Baptist church. So, John's been as honest as he can about that.''
She said that she has come to the conclusion that the marriage of another couple "makes no difference to me,'' just as it would make no difference in her views of a neighbor if he painted his house a different color.
"If he's pleasant to me on the street, if his children don't throw things in my yard, then I'm happy,'' she said. "It seems to me we're making issues of things that honestly... don't matter.''
While it's refreshing to see someone involved in presidential politics other than Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel support same-sex marriage, let's not forget the major difference between the three. Mrs. Edwards isn't running for President - her husband is. Her support wasn't exactly enthusiastic either... "Makes no difference to me" isn't whole-hearted support.
Now that Elizabeth has dipped her toe in the wading pool that is same-sex civil marriage, let's see if John follows her lead. After all, this is a presidential campaign. Anyone who thinks that her statement wasn't cleared with the campaign beforehand is living in a fantasy land. I'll be impressed when her husband gets off the "road" and starts helping to build the community. Until then, I'll be in the deep end of the pool swimming laps while Elizabeth sits on the edge with one foot in the water fanning herself with her (perfectly legal and government endorsed) marriage license.