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    August 01, 2007

    Ask the Dems: Chris Dodd

    Posted by: Chris

    Chrisdod Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd is a stark contrast from his mid-Atlantic colleague Joe Biden. Where Biden has dodged specifics and been phobic about commitments, Dodd has signed on the dotted line. Unlike front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Dodd has received a full-fledged 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's congressional report card.

    On the campaign stump and in mainstream debates, Dodd appears to speak from the heart on gay issues, asking straight voters what they would want if their son or daughter were gay. He concludes that if his own daughter were gay, he'd want for her to be equal, so he supports civil unions. It's a non-sequiter, considering civil unions aren't equal, but it's not where I'd got with my "toughest question" for Dodd.

    Instead, I'd fire a fastball right down the center, focused on his long career in the U.S. Senate, and whether he could demonstrate some real leadership of the Oval Office variety:

    Senator Dodd, basic gay rights legislation has languished in Congress for more than a decade, including during times when Democrats controlled one or both houses and the White House. Even today, the public supports hate crimes, workplace rights and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal, but they haven’t come up for a vote in the Senate, where you serve. Being president requires leadership, so why don’t you lead now and call publicly for votes now on all three bills?

    Previous questions:
    Dennis Kucinich
    Joe Biden


    For a complete summary of gay issues in the presidential race, go to: http://www.gaynewswatch.com/whitehouse08



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    1. Tim C on Aug 1, 2007 8:14:28 AM:

      "basic gay rights legislation" Why are we so unable to say "basic equal rights legislation" or "basic gay equal rights legislation"? I do not want gay rights. I want equal rights. "Gay rights legislation" tends to play to the same hand held by those who contend we are trying to achieve special rights and confuses the issue, which is the achievement of equal rights -- equal rights in marriage, in the ability to serve openly in the armed forces, in tax law, in the benefits arena, in adoption and family affairs. Those aren't gay rights.

    1. Citizen Crain on Aug 1, 2007 7:54:26 PM:

      I see your point, but I try to avoid terms that are so loaded that they don't treat the opposing view with some basic respect. I know how annoyed I am to hear we're "anti-family," so I prefer to stick to descriptive.

      After all, "equal rights" applies best to things like marriage or gays in the military where the government is not treating us equally. Hate crimes, workplace rights etc involves affirmative protection based on sexual orientation, so it's not the same thing as "equal treatment" by the government.

    1. Amicus on Aug 3, 2007 8:36:52 PM:

      "Senator Dodd, ... rights legislation ..."

      The answer:

      "As you know, it was Democrats who pushed for workplace non-discrimination and this had the effect, even if it failed to become law, of pushing large corporations to do as much as they could, because they know that these remedies are coming. It's the Democrats who have pushed for National hate crimes legislation, even from 1968, and it's been blocked by the GOP. It's the Democrats, with Presidential sponsorship, who put the military ban on the table, not the GOP, even if we now think that the outcome of that eventual compromise has reached the end of its timeliness.

      So, I don't agree that the Democrats haven't been fighting, it's just that the fight has been harder than I think you are giving credit.

      As for voting now, as you know, we have a President who will veto just about any gay-friendly legislation that is put on his desk. And that's even if his allies in the Senate don't kill it first, for him.

      In terms of your own struggle, then, I'm not sure what up-down votes actually get you, when it is results, acts with the force of law that are what is needed and demanded.

      Last, I'd like to ask you what you are doing to help us remove the obstacles, not in the White House, but in the Senate?"

      Another question:

      "Senator Dodd, you have long been involved in health and children's issues and you probably are familiar with our safe schools initiatives.

      As you may not know, however, a school board recently punished a teacher for allowing a student to publish a call for tolerance and an end to bullying of gay students.

      We tend to think that the stereotypes and attitudes that allow this kind of thing to occur are partly the product of a society that doesn't talk about its gay and lesbian citizens and, in some places, wants to think that homosexuality is not fit for the public square.

      What would you require of your appointees and how would you propose to use the Presidency to try to prevent silent or open prejudices from getting such institutional footholds?

      ref for school board thingy (apparently href's are disallowed ...): http://bootstrappingas.blogspot.com/2007/05/homestyle-institutionalized-homophobia.html

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