Friday
Aug 10, 2007
V 35 Issue 32

 
 
search only SGN online
Monday, Dec 11, 2017

Lobby

 





 
Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
Groundbreaking presidential debate on Gay issues held
Groundbreaking presidential debate on Gay issues held
Candidates discuss their positions on LGBT issues

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

The six leading Democratic presidential candidates were asked pointed questions from a panel of Gay and Lesbian celebrities, media and leadership during a debate in Los Angeles sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and the Logo channel on Thursday, August 8.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, and Mike Gravel participated in the groundbreaking forum.

The candidates answered questions from journalists Jonathan Capehart and Margaret Carlson, musician/activist Melissa Etheridge and Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solomonese.

The Democratic candidates reiterated their stance on marriage for same-sex couples, which except for former Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, included lesser forms of legal recognition. Obama supports civil unions. So does Edwards, who said he understands that civil unions "stop short of real equality." New Mexico Gov. Bill says he regrets voting for the Defense of Marriage Act, which he now considers "a cheap political" measure that he would seek to repeal as President.

On the issue of the military ban on LGBT people serving openly, Clinton admitted to making some mistakes. She said she saw the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy as an "advance" at the time the policy was implemented, but came out against the policy in 1999 because she realized then that "it wasn't working." All six candidates were against the ban and would revoke it if elected to the White House.

Richardson defied the conventional wisdom of most LGBT people that sexual orientation is something that is determined before birth. Saying it is a "choice," he went on to say that he didn't "like to categorize people."

Etheridge threw some touch punches at the candidates on Thursday. During one exchange, she told Clinton that the election of her husband as President was a "hopeful time" for the LGBT community, but "great promises that were made to us were broken." She also asked Edwards if he was "comfortable," referring to an assertion by Bob Shrum, a key adviser to his 2004 presidential campaign, that Edwards once said he was not comfortable around LGBT people. Edwards pointedly replied that he did not say that but someone else did. Etheridge got flustered and agreed it was not a direct quote.

Not directly tied to the forum, a brand new major national survey of LGBT consumers, released Wednesday, showed that the LGBT community is far more likely to have voted in the last presidential and midterm elections than the population in general. According to exit polls, the LGBT vote is a decisive electoral force, which makes up approximately 4 percent of the voting population.

Mark Lee, executive director of Vista Youth Center in Kennewick, WA, which serves LGBT youth, says the candidates willingness to talk about issues affecting the LGBT community, in a national open access TV/online media event, means that politicians are taking the LGBT constituency and their issues more seriously.

"To be able to watch people that are running (for office) to control the country discussing issues I face every day--discrimination, bias, healthcare--I am moved, and feel included," Lee told KNDO/KNDU TV in Eastern Washington.

Chris Dodd and Joe Biden will be absent due to scheduling conflicts. According to LOGO, a similar debate was offered to the GOP candidates but none agreed to participate.

For more information about the candidates' views on LGBT issues, visit www.hrc.org, or, for video from the debate, visit www.visiblevote08.com.

SGN Contributing Writer Lisa Keen is writing a comprehensive front page feature on the debate, which will appear in the August 17 edition of the SGN.

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog
post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2007