GAY ACTIVIST BEGINS WRITE-IN EFFORT AGAINST FORD

GAY ACTIVIST BEGINS WRITE-IN EFFORT AGAINST FORD

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Angered at what he regarded as U.S. Rep. Harold’s turnabout on the issue of a Federal Marriage Amendment, Memphis gay activist Jim Maynard announced Thursday that he intended to run as a write-in candidate against the 9th District congressman. The reasons? Maynard said Ford had “abandoned his prior commitment” to oppose the FMA, “which will write anti-gay discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.”September 30, 2004. His decision was reached, Maynard said, after he received a form-letter response over Ford’s signature to a query about the congressman’s position. Ford’s reply read as follows: “Thank you for your email. As you may know, I have always supported the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That is why I supported the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, a federal law that contains this traditional definition of marriage and grants each state the right to not recognize gay marriages created in another state. “This law has been upheld as constitutional by a federal court. While I question whether an amendment to our sacred Constitution is needed at this time, I will carry out the wishes of citizens such as yourself who favor a constitutional amendment. I agree with you that the institution of marriage is the foundation of our society and one that we must continue to protect. As always, I appreciate hearing your views on this critical issue.” Maynard, an opponent of the proposed amendment, read this reply as a reversal of the congressman’s prior position. (Ford could not be reached for comment Thursday.) In a later communication, Maynard confessed he had “not looked into the legalities” of mounting a legal write-in campaign at this late date and expected to be sounding out election officials on that score. Maynard appealed in his announcement for the write-in votes of “those who oppose discrimination against any group, including gays and lesbians, support cutting military spending, universal health insurance for all, and the separation of church and state.”

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