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Aug 24, 2007
V 35 Issue 34

 
 
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Keen on the trail
Keen on the trail
by Lisa Keen - SGN Contributing Writer

Gay news from the presidential campaign trail

DRESS FOR VOTES?
This week's New Yorker magazine explains why former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani dressed in drag on a number of occasions: to win Gay votes. According to the August 20 article, "Mayberry Man," by Peter J. Boyer, the person "responsible for Giuliani's turns in drag" was a former law client-turned-friend and adviser named Elliot Cuker. Cuker was an actor for a few years before starting up an antique car dealership that reportedly earned him millions. After they became friends, Giuliani made him chair of the city's film commission. "I am the one who convinced him that it would be a great idea to put him in a dress, soften him up, and help him get the Gay vote," Cuker told Boyer. "And, ultimately, it was his biggest bonus, because he got the Gay vote&." James Kirchick, assistant to the New Republic's editor in chief and winner of last year's National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's award for Excellence in Student Journalism, offered this perspective: "Far be it from me to divine what motivates New York City's "Gay vote," but I'd imagine that Giuliani's support for domestic partnerships, annual appearance at Gay pride parades, and his very public moving in with a Gay couple had more to do with him winning the support of the city's Gays than dressing up in drag. By Cuker's measure, RuPaul would be Mayor of New York City."

HOW RED IS FRED?
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has already stated publicly that he doesn't support same-sex marriage or even civil unions. But after he met last week with conservative activists in Iowa, CNN reporter John King told him that those activists were skeptical about the strength of Thompson's commitment to banning Gay marriage and overturning Roe v. Wade in order to ban abortion. Would a President Thompson actively push for a constitutional amendment banning Gay marriage? Would a President Thompson actively push to overturn Roe v. Wade? "Yes, yes," said Thompson. On Gay marriage, he said, "You have a full faith and credit issue." And while the constitution provides some exceptions to its requirement that states pay due respect to the laws of another state, the courts have yet to rule that the exception applies to same-sex marriage. "I don't think that one state ought to be able to pass a law requiring Gay marriage or allowing Gay marriage and have another state be required to follow along under full faith and credit," said Thompson. His campaign later issued a statement to the National Review saying that Thompson "does not support a constitutional amendment to ban Gay marriage" but that, "if necessary," he would support an amendment "prohibiting states from imposing their laws on marriage on other states." That left some on the right scratching their heads. David Brody, senior national correspondent for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, took a stab at it: "He's against the amendment FOR NOW unless federal courts get so crazy that they overturn the Defense of Marriage Act." Brody said that strategy could be "a problem with pro-family groups." "They want a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage," wrote Brody, "and they want a President who will push for it. Mitt Romney is the only top tier candidate that is flat out for one right now."

SAVE THE OWLS?
Barack Obama continues to refine his rather confusing explanation of why he doesn't support Gay marriage, but it's beginning to sound a lot like the dichotomy promoted by the logging industry with "save owls or save jobs." (Preventing old growth forests from being cut down does more than save one endangered bird; and the loss of logging jobs has been due to a number of things, not just conservation.) Consider the explanation he offered a questioner during an appearance August 15 in Cedar Falls, Iowa: "Marriage has a connotation that is both civil but also has a religious connotation. And if we've got a civil union that provides equal treatment, then it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision whether to recognize something as marriage. That's an approach that is fair and just and it accommodates differences in the country." Of course, the government issuing a marriage license to a Gay couple does not compel any denomination to perform any religious ceremony or alter any tenet of its religious beliefs or practices. The key refinement to his explanation appears to come at the end: his position "accommodates differences in the country." Meanwhile, Obama is doing a better job of explaining to his general audience why Gay couples need the benefits. For instance, in Cedar Falls, he noted that Gay partners currently stand to lose thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits. And he added, "Under our constitution, we believe in equality under the law."

McCAIN ON MARIJUANA
Someone asked John McCain whether he'd support the research into the medical use of marijuana for medical purposes, but the Republican presidential hopeful said no. "I agree with the American Medical Association. They don't think it's necessary." But in fact, the AMA recommends studies to determine the efficacy of marijuana for seriously ill patients.

CLINTON VISITS ELLEN
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will appear on the television talk show of Ellen Degeneres September 4, the Ellen show's season opener. This is Clinton's first appearance on the Ellen show since becoming a presidential candidate, but she made an appearance two years ago, prior to Degeneres taking her show for a week of broadcasting from New York City. The first two shows of the fifth season will be staged in New York, too. According to Degeneres, she hopes to invite "lots of" presidential candidates onto the show.

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