Bill Weld on Civil Rights
Former Republican Governor; former Senate candidate (MA)
So, you know, I received the Golden Door Award for, you know, friendliness to various diasporas who were resident in our state. So that comes very naturally to me. I'm a pluralist. I think the essence of democracy is that the individual shall not be thrust in a corner. If there are members of groups who by virtue of their membership in that group are being thrust in a corner, that's when my blood temperature really starts to rise.
WELD: In office, in my case, even though I was then a Republican and not a Libertarian, I was way out there by myself on gay and lesbian rights, starting my first month in office, in January 1991. And for 10 years, no one followed suit. I appointed the woman who wrote the decision holding equality of marriage as constitutionally compelled, which led to the Supreme Court case holding that.
Yet Weld does live up his socially liberal reputation in spades. Weld created the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth and was generally in the vanguard of gay-rights causes. As recently as 2004, he delivered the homily at two former staffers' same-sex wedding and endorsed the Goodridge v. Department of Health decision before a Log Cabin Club conclave during the Republican National Convention. He has since told the New York Post that he opposes same-sex marriage beyond Massachusetts.
. [Helms press release]: "WELD PROMOTES MILITANT HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA"
As Governor he has promoted homosexuality among his state's youth, creating a Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, appointing a homosexual youth coordinator and funding the office with $1million, and authorizing his Department of Health to co-sponsor with homosexual activist groups an annual "Gay/Straight Youth Pride March." (Life Advocacy Briefing, 8/11/97)
Weld also parts with many Republicans over abortion, drawing national media attention during the Republican National Convention for his pro-choice statements, in opposition to the party's platform.
[Many] conservative leaders are signatories to an "amicus brief" calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8. Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) prepared an "amicus," or a "friend of the court" brief: a letter to the Supreme Court outlining a position on a pending case. AFER prepared this amicus brief, in support of gay marriage, and the "amici" signed it prior to sending to the Supreme Court.
"Many of the signatories to this brief previously did not support civil marriage for same-sex couples; others did not hold a considered position on the issue," the brief said. "However, in the years since Massachusetts and other States have made civil marriage a reality for same-sex couples, amici, like many Americans, have reexamined the evidence and their own positions and have concluded that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for denying same-sex couples the same recognition in law that is available to opposite-sex couples."
AFER is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American. As the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge of California's Proposition 8, now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, AFER is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American. Building bi-partisan support has been part of AFER's mission ever since the filing of its federal constitutional challenge to overturn Proposition 8.
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