Wes Clark on civil unions

January 25, 2004

MR. RUSSERT: Would you support gay marriages?

GEN. CLARK: I support equal rights, and what that means is if people want to enter into a contract where they have the right to visitation in a hospital, just as though they were family, they should have that right. If they want the rights of survivorship, they should have that right. If they want the right to put their partner on an insurance policy, they should have that right. And whether that’s called marriage or not is really–that’s up to the church or synagogue or mosque and the states. But equal rights in America is a requirement; that’s what we stand for as a nation, and that’s what I support.

MR. RUSSERT: You told The Advocate that in Massachusetts, if you say you’re going to form a civil union, but we’re going to call it a marriage, that as far as you’re concerned, it’s a marriage.

GEN. CLARK: That’s up to the states.

NBC News Meet the Press Jan 25, 2004

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MR. RUSSERT: You are a former military general, as the world knows. This was the cover of The Advocate magazine, a magazine for gay readers. If you became president, would you issue an executive order overruling “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military?

GEN. CLARK: No. What I would do is go to the leaders of the armed forces and ask them to review the policy and come back and provide, to my satisfaction, a policy that is fair and that allows qualified people to serve. I don’t believe the United States armed forces should be the last institution in America that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

NBC News Meet the Press Jan 25, 2004

Meet the Press, January 25, 2004

I will tell you this: that Michael Moore has the right to speak freely. I don’t screen what people say when they’re going to come up and say something like that. That’s his form of dissent, and I support freedom of speech in this country, and I would not have characterized the issues in that way… I will tell you this about Michael Moore, though. I think he’s a man of conscience. I think he’s done a lot of great things for ordinary people, working people, across America. And I’m very happy to have his support. He’s free to say things, whatever he wants. I’m focused on the issues in this campaign and how to take America forward.

2004 Democratic Primary Debate at St. Anselm College,  January 22, 2004

Q: How would your administration revisit the Patriot Act and strike a balance between national security and personal liberties?

CLARK: I’m very concerned about the Patriot Act. It was passed in haste. It’s very long. What we would do is suspend all the portions of the Patriot Act that have to do with search and seizure: sneak-and-peek searches; library records; and so on. If they want a wiretap, they can do it the old-fashioned way, go to a judge with probable cause.

And then, bring the whole act back into the Congress. Lay it out. Ask former Attorney General John Ashcroft to come and testify on his use and abuse of the Patriot Act. What provisions were used, for what, for what good? Why couldn’t it have been done another way? And then we’re going to put together the right kind of authorities for law enforcement to keep us safe. We cannot win the war on terror by giving up the very freedoms we’re fighting to protect.

Press Release, January 16, 2004

Manchester – Today, Wes Clark opened the doors to his Manchester Reading Room and Clark slammed the Bush Administration for governing behind closed doors. The public can come to the Manchester Reading Room to find out about Wes Clark’s personal and financial track record.

“It’s time President Bush played it straight with the American people,” Clark said. “President Bush has shut the people out of government and told them they have no right to know what he says to special interests in the Oval Office. As President, my administration will be an open book. We need a higher standard of leadership in Washington.”

Clark put forward a two-part plan to reverse the Bush Administration’s secrecy policies and to make his administration the most open presidency in history:

Reverse Bush Secrecy Policies:

1. End hiding of documents through classification extension and FOIA rollbacks.
2. End the stonewall of the investigation of September 11th and Bush’s Energy Task Force.

Establish an Openness Doctrine:

1. Restrict the assertion of executive privilege.
2. Eliminate secret task forces.
3. Disclose all meetings with special interests.
4. Require lobbyists to reveal more.
5. Use the Internet to make government transparent.

Clark isn’t just talking the talk – he’s walking the walk. Today, he opened his records — military records, tax returns that cover the period since he left the military, financial records and voting registration documents to the public.

The documents will be available at the Sheraton Four Points hotel in Manchester. They will be posted at www.clark04.com as soon as they are scanned.

“This is just another way for the people of New Hampshire to get to know me and to know that I mean what I say when I call for openness,” Clark said.

During the past three years, President Bush has refused to turn over documents on issues ranging from September 11th to the formulation of energy policy. In October 2001, he signed a new Executive Order, to restrict the Freedom of Information Act. In March 2003, he extended the length of time that classified documents are withheld from the public.

“Voters should be able to scrutinize the track record of those who seek to sit in the Oval Office,” Communications Director Matt Bennett said. “To beat Bush in November, we need a nominee who is willing to open himself up. We call on the other contenders to make their records as available as Wes Clark’s.”