Untangling Bill Weld

So where’s Bill Weld on same-sex marriage again?

Andrew Kirtzman tried very hard to find out in an interview that aired yesterday. The attempt was endless, kind of comic, and ultimately unsuccessful.

Bear with him here…:

KIRTZMAN: Well, what is your position on gay marriage? You supported it enthusiastically…

Mr. WELD: No, I…

KIRTZMAN: …in Massachusetts…

Mr. WELD: No, I’ve always supported…

KIRTZMAN: …and now you’re not so sure.

Mr. WELD: I’ve always supported equal rights, full equal rights for gays and lesbians. I signed the first executive order in the country authorizing domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians. I had a number of openly gay and lesbian people in my Cabinet. But I never said that I was in favor of gay marriage and I’m not today.

KIRTZMAN: I’m sorry, didn’t you support the Massachusetts court ruling that validated gay marriage in Massachusetts?

Mr. WELD: No. No. I said that you can’t repeal it by a statute, which is quite true as a matter of law.

KIRTZMAN: I’m sorry, did you speak in favor of it or against it?

Mr. WELD: I was not on the court when the court decided the decision.

KIRTZMAN: OK. So you’re…

Mr. WELD: There was a move in the Massachusetts Legislature to repeal the court ruling through a statute, and you can’t do that because the court ruling was based on constitutional law.

KIRTZMAN: Hear, let me put it this way in ways that I guess are more relevant to what’s going on in New York state. As you know, the New York state Court of Appeals may get our own gay marriage case and by next year there could possibly be a ruling in favor of gay marriage in New York state. If you were governor, would you support a Defense of Marriage Act law that would prevent that from happening in New York?

Mr. WELD: A statute?

KIRTZMAN: A law, legislation.

Mr. WELD: Well, if the court decides as a constitutional matter that you’ve got to allow gay marriage, you can’t overturn that by a statute. And I do not think I’d be in favor of a constitutional amendment either. I thought that was- a little cumbersome at the federal level.

KIRTZMAN: OK. So you would–where are you in terms of this issue in New York State? Would you be happy if the court ruled in favor of it or against it?

Mr. WELD: It’s not a question of happy or not happy. The question is are you going to support, as a legislative matter, or oppose the institution of gay marriage, and I think 70, 75 percent of the voters in this state are very uncomfortable with the notion of a statute supporting gay marriage. So I’m going to be on the other side of that issue.

KIRTZMAN: I’m sorry. Are you uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage?

Mr. WELD: I think as governor of this state, you’re entitled to take into consideration the views of the polity, and I would be against gay marriage.

KIRTZMAN: OK. I have a quote here. I was just looking–preparing for my interview before. You told the Log Cabin Republicans in 2004, `the recognition of gay marriage as the Massachusetts Supreme Court has done is a conservative point of view. It’s making the same demands on gays and lesbians as are made on everyone else when they want to commit to each other for a lifetime. I’m surprised that that is not a more broadly held point of view.’ It sounds to me like you liked it.

Mr. WELD: That’s an argument you could be making in that court case, but that doesn’t…

KIRTZMAN: It sounds like an argument you made.

Mr. WELD: …mean that it’s public policy for New York state.

KIRTZMAN: I’m sorry, was that not an argument you were making? Did that not represent your opinion?

Mr. WELD: The court made its own decision and I was saying that was the basis for the court’s decision.

KIRTZMAN: OK. So you were just speaking, I guess, intellectually?

Mr. WELD: Yeah.