“I want my children to understand everything about the difficulties that gay and lesbian couples are faced with every day, the discrimination that they’re faced with every single day of their lives,” Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards said – responding to a question from moderator Tim Russert, at a New Hampshire debate this week.
Edwards was answering a question put to the candidates regarding the book King & King, in which two hero princes become smitten – with each other. Russert wanted to know if the candidates believe the book is appropriate to be read in second-grade classes.
The book was read to a second-grade class in Massachusetts and a lawsuit was filed against the teacher and school in 2006.
Edwards answered instantly, “yes, absolutely”.
He explained, “I suspect my two younger children, Emma Claire, who’s 9, and Jack, who’s 7, will reach the same conclusion that my daughter Cate, who’s 25, has reached – which is, she doesn’t understand why her dad is not in favor of same-sex marriage.”
UPDATE: Cate talks about her views on marriage equality.
None of the Democratic front runners support marriage equality.
However, he continued, “I don’t want to make that decision on behalf of my children. I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in – did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God.”
Fox News reports that Obama told Russert his beliefs are similar to those of Edwards, and his wife has explained same-sex marriage to their children.
“The fact is, my 9-year-old and my 6-year-old I think are already aware that there are same-sex couples. One of the things I want to communicate to my children is not to be afraid of people who are different. One of the things I think the next president has to do is stop fanning people’s fears. If we spend all our time feeding the American people fear and conflict and division, then they become fearful and conflicted and divided.”
Hillary Clinton said she respects the viewpoints of Obama and Edwards, but she did not answer the question of whether she’d be comfortable having a storybook like “King & King” read to her own child at that age.
After hearing of the debate, Mitt Romney, a candidate for Republican nomination, took advantage of the progressive discussion to promote conservative views on the subject.
“Last night’s debate was just the latest example of how out of touch the Democratic presidential candidates are with the American people. Not one candidate was uncomfortable with young children learning about same-sex marriage in the second grade.”
“This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public school teachers,” he said.