BY WESLEY P. HESTER
A Virginia gay rights group is asking Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine to take a stronger stance in support of gay marriage.
The LGBT Democrats of Virginia has sent a letter to the former governor and current Democratic U.S. Senate nominee on the heels of President Barack Obama announcing his unequivocal support for gay marriage earlier this week.
“Governor Kaine, we ask you to join with us, and President Barack Obama, in calling for full marriage equality for Virginians and all citizens of the United States,” the letter says.
Earlier this week, a spokeswoman for Kaine told the Times-Dispatch that he “believes in equal treatment under the law,” but “does not believe government should tell faith congregations what unions to recognize for religious purposes.”
The letter to Kaine urges full support of gay marriage, noting that “it is the position of LGBT Democrats of Virginia that a different name for what is in reality marriage for same-sex couples is not only disingenuous, but also opens the door for continued attempts to exempt these relationships from the benefits received by legally married couples as defined in a myriad of state and federal laws and policies.”
The letter also urges Kaine to fight for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and the state’s marriage amendment, both of which Kaine has opposed and has voiced support for repealing.
It also asks that he assist with efforts to include marriage equality as part of the Virginia and national Democratic Party Platforms.
In response to the letter, Kaine’s campaign reaffirmed his view that gays couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law.
“While he does not believe government should tell faith congregations what unions to recognize for religious purposes, he does believe that all committed couples, regardless of sexual orientation, should have the same legal rights and responsibilities,” said Kaine campaign spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine.
She also noted that Kaine opposes Republican front-runner George Allen’s past efforts to pass a federal constitutional marriage amendment, commenting “we should not be writing discrimination into our Constitution.”
The LGBT Democrats of Virginia is a partnership of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia and the LGBT Democrats of Virginia PAC.