What I think: it's incredibly sad when gay activist groups agree to settle for a candidate that isn't supporting their cause. I expect "regular" citizens to do that, to decide that Kerry is good enough for now. But when the organized activists start doing it, that's a bad sign, because they're supposed to be one step ahead of the rest of us. Who will lead if they start to say,"Well...he's good enough, I guess."?
I don't think I can vote for Kerry, and it's not particularly because I'm a one issue voter. Well, I am a one issue voter, and that's the issue of universal health care, but I can't vote for Kerry because I'm tired of listening to him dissemble when he suggests gay and lesbian interests can be taken care of with civil unions. As Kerry very well knows, a civil union doesn't even stand up to the "separate but equal" scrutiny--it falls deep into "separate and not equal." He knows this, and still he promotes it as if it would take care of everything. Because of reciprocity laws, anyone who gets married in one state will be recognized if they move to another state. Not so with civil unions. Anyone who gets married in any state has their marriage recognized by the federal government. Not so with civil unions. According to a recent article, civil unions in Massachusetts would guarantee couples some 350 state benefits previously denied gay/lesbian couples, but still withhold some 1,000 federal rights. Fair? No. So, either Kerry is trying to deliberately mislead gay and lesbian voters, or he's too stupid to know he's not telling the truth. I'm tired of having a stupid president, and I'm tired of having a deliberately sly president, so Kerry isn't getting my vote until he shapes up.
Which brings me to another point. I'm kind of tired of (well-intentioned) people saying, "The government should stay out of marriages, anyway!" In an otherwise great post, Wil Wheaton suggests that the government shouldn't be involved in marriage, anyway. Well, I'll tell you. I've got a marriage that doesn't involve the government, and it sucks. Yeah, my partner and I can take care of the spiritual/emotion/religious bond, but it's the lack of a legal contract with the government that is making my life hell. If something happened to Catherine, not only would I not have insurance, I wouldn't have a house, because although we had wills drawn up, there's no way I can come up with the money to pay the inheritance taxes on the house, our property, and our car. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The thing is, most straight people really don't notice how much the government is involved in their marriage, they don't really think about the legal contract part of it--it's so ingrained in the concept of marriage in the U.S. that they just take things for granted. So, no offense to Wil, but I think he's wrong on this point (but right on the rest of it).
It sounds like it's all about but money, but it's not, or at least not totally. Financial distress is simply a manifestation of being considered a lesser citizen. Money--financial security--is a language most Americans speak, it's the lingua franca of privilege, and when it's denied to someone, that sends a message loud and clear. Listen, I can mess up a primary relationship as well as the next (straight) guy, so I don't see why I can't get as involved with the government as everyone else.