Kerry addresses gay and civil rights during weekend stop in Mississippi

Senator John Kerry won some applause Sunday in Jackson when he said marriage should only be between a man and a woman but he supports equality for all Americans, including gay people.
      The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of about 900 at the gymnasium of Tougaloo College.
      During a question-and-answer session, 74-year-old Emma C. White of Jackson, who is black, said she resents comparisons between gay rights and the civil rights struggle. 
      Kerry said the Constitution provides equal protection for all Americans.
      He said that after the 1998 slaying of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, it's clear that Americans should be concerned about gay rights.
      President Bush has called for a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
      Hundreds of homosexual couples have gotten married in recent weeks in San Francisco and other places.
      Kerry is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. He came to Jackson two days before Mississippi's presidential primary. 
      His first stop this morning was at Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Church, where he evoked images of the civil rights movement as he spoke to the predominantly black congregation. 
      Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Texas all hold primary elections tomorrow.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)