Looking ahead to the 2008 presidential election, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force releases an analysis of the Democratic and Republican candidates and their positions on GLBT issues.
Dennis Kucinich is the only contender among the leading 19 presidential candidates to register a perfect score in the analysis of hopefuls from both major political parties released by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. The Democratic congressman from Ohio has publicly supported the equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans across eight categories: a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act; HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; lifting the military ban against gay and lesbian people; trans-inclusive hate crimes laws; civil unions/domestic partnerships; same-sex marriage; same-sex adoption; and opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. Republican Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is the only candidate who has publicly opposed all eight issues identified by the task force, which compiled the information in its 35-page report from the candidates’ websites and campaign materials, candidate voting records, and news reports.
All of the Democratic candidates support most of the eight issues, including transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws. Only two Democratic candidates support full marriage equality for same-sex couples (Kucinich and Mike Gravel, the former senator from Alaska). All Democratic candidates support other types of partnership recognition rights, such as civil unions. “Across the board, Republican candidates were in opposition to the majority of LGBT issues, with most publicly opposing lifting the military’s ban on openly lesbian, gay and bisexual service members,” the task force stated in releasing the analysis on June 27.
“The differences between the Democratic and Republican fields of candidates on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues are shockingly stark and profoundly depressing,” task force executive director Matt Foreman said in the statement. “Over time, the majority of Americans have moved to support basic fairness for LGBT Americans, including nondiscrimination and hate crimes laws, repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t’ Tell,’ and protections for our families. Sadly, the Republican field has gone in the opposite direction, still clearly pandering to the venom of the so-called religious right. This only means that they will continue to use our lives as cultural wedge fodder whenever it’s deemed politically expedient.”
In spite of the Democratic candidates’ overall superior support of the GLBT community, Foreman had stern words for the blue party. “The public statements and voting records of the Democratic candidates show that they are clearly light years ahead of the Republicans on almost every issue important to the LGBT community. Nevertheless, the lack of courage on marriage equality is disturbing on both political and moral grounds. Politically, being for civil unions but against marriage doesn’t bring a single voter over from the other side. Morally, it’s hard to understand how a Democratic candidate can say to people they know individually and to one of the most loyal and generous voting blocs the party has, ‘Sorry, I just can’t go there—you understand, right?’ Actually, we don’t.”
The task force plans to update the analysis in the fall, according to communications director Roberta Sklar. Read the full report at www.thetaskforce.org.
Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are the only presidential candidates who support full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
On the Air
Seven Democratic presidential candidates have signed on to participate in an August 9 televised forum co-presented by the Logo network and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. The 8 p.m. event will be presented live before a Los Angeles studio audience and broadcast without commercial interruption on Logo, the GLBT-content channel, and via live stream at www.logoonline.com.
The forum marks the first time major presidential candidates have addressed a live GLBT television audience. The candidates who had accepted at press time (updates: www.hrc.org), will make brief speeches, then converse with panelists Melissa Etheridge, the activist and entertainer, and HRC president Joe Solmonese. Logo and HRC invited leading Democratic and Republican candidates to participate. At press time, no Republican candidates had accepted.
As the presidential campaign heats up, GLBT voters can keep track of the candidates’ stands on our interests through these national organizations:
Democratic National Committee Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
Human Rights Campaign
Log Cabin Republicans
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay & Lesbian Task Force
National Stonewall Democrats
National Transgender Advocacy Coalition