By Kevin Mccullough and David Degennaro
BOSTON – Maryland delegates to the Democratic National Convention are united in opposition to President Bush’s key policies, but they do not agree completely with Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry either, survey results show.
Maryland delegates disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq, feel the United States is not winning the war on terror and overwhelmingly oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, positions contrary to President Bush’s actions in office, according to a survey conducted by Capital News Service.
Nearly six in 10 of the delegates surveyed said gay and lesbian marriages should be allowed, but both Kerry and vice presidential candidate John Edwards have stated their opposition to gay marriage, instead supporting civil unions.
“I think that’s a personal choice. . . . The government should stay out of people’s bedrooms,” said Maria Cordone, a Democratic National Committee delegate from Upper Marlboro. “The bottom line is love.”
Maryland’s delegates were nearly unanimous in their opposition to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, with 97 percent disapproving.
Bush supports the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would outlaw gay marriage and restrict states’ ability to grant marriage benefits. Kerry and Edwards both oppose the legislation.
Thirty-six of Maryland’s 99 delegates responded to the survey, which was adapted from a KRC/Communications Research poll of convention delegates nationwide conducted for The Boston Globe.
Those responding to the Maryland survey said they felt less secure today than before Sept. 11, 2001, with 69 percent of respondents saying they felt less safe and secure going about their everyday life.
“I think we’re much less safe,” said Cheryl Everman, a first-time delegate from Fredericksburg. “All we’ve done is make people more angry.”
Maryland delegates split on what they thought was the nation’s most important issue. One third said the economy was the issue they would most like to see the next president address, but Iraq and health care each received 22 percent.
The national delegation was split similarly, with the economy receiving 28 percent and Iraq 16 percent. But 13 percent of the delegates nationally cited unemployment as the top priority, while only 2 percent of Maryland delegation thought joblessness was the No. 1 issue.
Delegates expressed their distaste for Bush’s handling of the war on terror, with 88 percent not approving of the decision to go to war with Iraq, and the same percent saying the United States is failing to win the war on terror.
“I believe you have to do everything you can do before you go to war,” said Democratic National Committee member Karren Pope-Onwukwe of Hyattsville. She said the Bush administration had not exhausted all options before bringing the country to war. – 30 – CNS-7-29-04