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More Gay news from the presidential campaign trail
More Gay news from the presidential campaign trail
by Lisa Keen - Keen News Service

FRONTRUNNERS CLEAR NOW
There are two clear frontrunners now in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and while John McCain has enjoyed a surge of popularity in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mitt Romney has the delegate lead in the race for the Republican nomination.

Much of the media was focused last weekend on Hillary Clinton's securing the most votes during Saturday's caucuses in Nevada and Barack Obama winning the most delegates. The two are in a virtual tie for the lead in delegate election, and both have been the predominant favorites among LGBT voters. John Edwards, who appeared to have pockets of support among Gays scattered throughout the country, especially in Texas, has fallen behind, winning only four percent of the vote in Nevada and having only half the delegates that Clinton and Obama have. Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, the only two remaining candidates for either party who have said they would support equal rights in marriage licensing for Gay couples, have won no delegates.

The Republican race's most Gay-supportive candidate - former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - is at the bottom of the GOP heap, with only one delegate. Arizona Senator John McCain, who has distinguished himself on Gay issues by standing firmly against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, won the South Carolina primary Saturday, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Nevada caucuses with 51 percent. McCain came in third in Nevada with only 13 percent of the votes, behind Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul with 14 percent.

Romney now leads the GOP field with 66 delegates, followed by McCain with 38, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee with 26, former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson with 8, Ron Paul with 6, and Giuliani with one.

The next ballot contest is this Saturday, January 26, when Democrats face off in South Carolina, followed by a Republican primary in Florida on January 29 and caucuses in Maine on February 3.

OBAMA CHALLENGES BLACKS
In an important pre-super-duper Tuesday speech before the Atlanta congregation that Martin Luther King Jr. once presided over, Democrat Barack Obama did Sunday what presidential candidates rarely do: He spoke out for Gay people to a non-Gay audience. "Our own community," said Obama, speaking to the predominantly African American Ebezner Baptist Church in Atlanta, "has not always been true to Dr. King's vision of a beloved community. If we're honest with ourselves," he said, "we have to admit there have been times when we have scorned our Gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them." Although the congregation had applauded almost everything Obama said up until that point, there were only a few faint voices of encouragement following that remark.

HUCKABEE CHANNELING GOD?
It's one thing to say you want to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage; but it's another thing - many would say a much bigger thing - to say you want to amend the U.S. constitution to meet "God's standards." That's what Republican presidential Mike Huckabee said in Warren, Michigan. He later clarified that he was talking only about "God's standards" concerning Gay marriage and abortion. In the first instance, Huckabee said "it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards, so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family." Then, in an interview with beliefnet.com, a website for people interested in spiritual pursuits, Huckabee was asked whether his goal is "to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible." The interviewer added, "Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations."

"Well, I don't think that's a radical view to say we're going to affirm marriage," said Huckabee. "I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what's been historic." He also shared that, during the debates, he "felt like the Lord truly gave me wisdom and responses that were truly needed at that time."

HUCKABEE BACKFIRING?
Although scattered news reports quoted the occasional Republican voter indicating he or she was motivated by a candidate's stand on Gay marriage (and even though all GOP candidates oppose it), Huckabee continues to experience considerable flack over his. National Public Radio reporter Michelle Norris told NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that even many evangelical Christian voters in South Carolina were put off by his well-publicized remarks recently against Gays and Gay marriage. Norris of National Public Radio said that Huckabee's comments about amending the constitution "spooked some of the evangelicals, the conservative Christians that we spoke to" in South Carolina. "They're drawn to Mike Huckabee because he speaks their language," said Norris, "& but people who are on the fence, when he starts talking about amending the constitution, they started to back away from him."

EVANGELICALS SPLIT
Huckabee seemed to be the favorite of evangelical Christians in the Iowa primary, but in New Hampshire, says the Baptist Press, Huckabee found himself sharing that vote with John McCain, and in Michigan, Mitt Romney won the greatest percentage of the evangelical vote. According to the Baptist Press, Romney took 34 percent of the evangelical vote in the Michigan Republican primary, followed by Mike Huckabee with 29 percent and John McCain with 23 percent.

DNC APPOINTMENTS
The Democratic National Committee issued a press release heralding the appointment of a "Record number of LGBT members to 2008 Democratic National Convention Standing Committees." The press release came just six days after a Gay political website - www.queerty.com - published an internal DNC e-mail in which a deputy finance director, Julie Tagen, quipped that she uses the Washington Blade "and other Gay papers in the bottom of the birdcage."

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