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July 06, 2007
V 35 Issue 27

 
 
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Keen on the trail
Keen on the trail
By Lisa Keen

Gay news from the presidential campaign trail&

LIAISON NAMED: The campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has named a "national LGBT liaison." Stampp Corbin, 46, of Columbus, Ohio, and San Diego, California, has been placed in the position. Corbin said the campaign has been working on an LGBT Leadership Team for the past month or so and would be formally announcing that news soon. A graduate of Stanford and Harvard Business School, Corbin has served on the board of the Human Rights Campaign and the Columbus AIDS Task Force. He has also founded two companies that recycle outdated computers and other electronics.

THE TWO EDWARDSES: Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, got some press attention for her remarks in favor of same-sex marriage during an appearance at a San Francisco Gay Pride event. The media was saturated last week with news about her confrontation of the right-wing commentator Ann Coulter. Coulter is the one who called Mr. Edwards a "faggot" during her speech to a conservative group in Washington back in March. Then last week, Coulter said that, rather than insult Gays by calling Edwards a faggot, she would just "wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." (Coulter made clear she was parroting a similar comment by liberal talk show host Bill Maher about Vice President Dick Cheney.) While Coulter was being interviewed on MSNBC's Hardball June 26, Elizabeth Edwards called in to the show. On the air, Edwards asked Coulter to please stop the personal attacks, saying they lower the seriousness of political dialogue. "You're asking [young people] to participate in a dialogue that's based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues&" Edwards commented.

Coulter struggled for a coherent comeback and ultimately claimed Ms. Edwards was "asking me to stop speaking." Meanwhile, that same day, candidate John Edwards took a tour of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and almost no mainstream media noticed.

MARTHA STEWART FOR PREZ?: Ann Coulter is not the only conservative commentator in search of lower ground. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan started out a June 22 essay on Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton by writing: "Hillary Clinton doesn't have to prove she's a man. She has to prove she's a woman." Turns out that-according to Noonan-the senator is at her best when she is "dressed in a soft pastel sweater or jacket, with a mellow strand of pearls, and flowers in the background."

NAME GAME REDUX: The Clinton campaign rolled out its formal list of LGBT endorsers last week -65 this time, compared to the 26 it issued in April when the Edwards campaign issued the first of such lists. The Clinton list is an indisputable pearl in Clinton's strand of efforts to win over LGBT voters, with such luminaries as former Human Rights Campaign director Elizabeth Birch, ABC Brothers & Sisters creator Greg Berlanti, and attorney Paul M. Smith, who argued the historic Lawrence v. Texas case. But the name game is far from over.

RICHARDSON AT BAT: New Mexico Governor-and Democratic presidential hopeful-Bill Richardson is, thus far, the first and only candidate to criticize the Bush administration's threatened veto of the D.C. budget bill over its provision to allow for funding of a domestic partnership registry. Richardson said that, "If the President does follow through on this sad threat, I [will] call on the members of Congress who believe in fairness, human rights, and the fundamental promise of our Constitution that all are equal before the law, to override the President's veto." Richardson has been strongly courting the Gay vote in recent weeks. Among other things, he addressed Gay Democrats at a Stonewall Democrats meeting in Las Vegas last month. According to the Washington Post, the governor of New Mexico was the only presidential candidate to do so, although Hillary Clinton's campaign sent a DVD statement from the Senator in New York.

GRAVEL AT PRIDE: A Bay Area reporter noted that Democratic presidential long-shot Mike Gravel, a former U.S. Senator from Alaska, became the first presidential candidate to participate in San Francisco's annual Gay Pride Parade June 24. Local ABC affiliate KGO-TV reported Gravel as saying: "Hey, this is civil rights. They have a right to be what they are, and nobody should impair that right, and no government is entitled to do it." Gravel, who along with Rep. Dennis Kucinich are the only candidates supporting same-sex marriage, predicted the issue would be a non-issue.

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE: Elizabeth Edwards didn't get much media attention on her June 23 stop at John Edwards' Nevada campaign headquarters. After a few informal remarks in support of her candidate husband, she was interrupted by a man who was upset that pop singer Britney Spears could marry a man in Las Vegas after knowing him for only a few hours but a Gay couple who had been together for 37 years could not. "How is that going to change?" asked the questioner. "That is an appalling comparison, I have to say," said Edwards. She referred to a speech U.S. Rep. Barney Frank often gives, in which he mocks those who fear that allowing Gays to marry will cause heterosexuals to become Gay. Echoing the old "I could have had a V-8!" commercial, Frank says, "Men happily married in Alabama& look in the mirror and go, 'Wow, I could have married a guy!'" Ms. Edwards managed not to say that her husband opposes same-sex marriage but instead said only that he believes states should be allowed to make the laws, churches should be able to bless any relationships they choose to, and that Gay couples should have rights under civil unions.

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