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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, April 18, 2003


Dean on Civil Unions: 9/15/02's%20Dean%20Would%20Recognize%20Civil%20Unions%20If%20President.htm

posted by Scott at Friday, April 18, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I would have posted this under the comments section of Aziz's posting, but I felt it was important enough that it warranted more attention. Click the link above if you want the whole story, but here's the bulk of it:

The man behind Vermont's Civil Union law says he would recognize same-sex couples if elected president. But, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean says he would not try to push a Civil Union bill though Congress.
Dean said it was not the federal government’s role to become involved in marriage statutes. He pledged that if elected he would do all he could to undo the Defense of Marriage Act, passed during the Clinton administration, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages between any couples except one man and one woman.

He made a point of emphasizing he was not advocating full marriage rights. Nor was he pressing other states to enact civil union legislation. "What I am not going to do is tell every state they have to pass civil unions," he said. But, he said, if other states follow Vermont’s lead for same-sex couples, the federal government should recognize them.

Even in this very blog there is evidence that shows that Dean is not waffling. Here's Howard Dean on Capital Report, when challenged on the issue by Alan Murray:

I don’t believe that’s the federal government’s business. What I favor is federal recognition of civil unions, but I don’t favor forcing Minnesota and Alabama to have civil unions if they don’t want to. Same reason I think the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional—that is not a prerogative of the federal government. It’s a prerogative of the states.

I'd heard some whispers in the past about possible waffling on the federal civil unions issue, so I've paid attention to the topic ever since. The above statements makes it very clear that Dean has been absolutely consistent in his stance.

UPDATE: After Scott's post, I've changed the title to the entry below. I want to emphasise that I don't think Dean is waffling - but I am personally rethinking my earlier conviction that a federal law is something America isn't ready for yet, solely because of the analogy to segregation. I might have to disagree with Dean's (consistent) position on this, but I still am just not sure. --Aziz


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.