CNN has him saying the following: “If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union, which I believe is the appropriate way to extend rights, that would be a good amendment. I think that you need to have civil union. That’s my position.” What are we to make of this? The transcript doesn’t make it clear what question he was answering, but he appears to be talking about the FMA. Could Kerry be open to an FMA that allows for legislated civil unions? I’m not sure. He may be saying that he would support an amendment only if it affirmatively established civil unions. Also, elsewhere in the transcript he indicates opposition to the FMA on states’ rights grounds. But this leaves open the possibility that if FMA allows state legislatures to create civil unions, his objection would diminish, possibly to the point of support.
Clearly, opponents of FMA have decided that one of their strongest talking points is that it would prevent states from having civil unions, or other civil-rights protections for gays. I’m sure most of these opponents sincerely believe the FMA would do this. But they don’t seem eager to debate the idea of an amendment that only bans same-sex marriage and judicial overreach. If I were sponsoring the amendment, I would do everything that can be done to clarify its language, so that there is no confusion about the amendment’s scope.