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    January 14, 2008

    Democrats waffle on the web

    Posted by: Chris

    Regular readers of this blog should already feel well-informed about where the leading Democratic presidential candidates stand on LGBT issues and my own view that Barack Obama offers the best choice for gay rights. But side-by-side position comparisons and viewing candidate records aren't the only ways to measure things -- especially on the crucial issue of judging which candidates might say one thing to us now and then do another in office.

    One way to test the level of that danger is by looking to see whether each of the leading Democrats is telling general audiences the same things on gay issues that they’ve promised in more comfy quarters to us directly. After all, if they don’t have the mettle now to tell Democratic primary voters – and anyone else listening in – about where they stand on gay rights, then why should we expect them to stick with us as president when the conservatives invariably turn up the heat?

    One of the first places voters and journalists go to learn a candidate’s position on any issue is the Internet, of course, and all three leading Democrats have put together pages on their campaign websites that outline some – though not necessarily all -- of their gay rights views.

    Keep in mind that even using a “LGBT” link to identify the page is hiding the ball a bit. As common as that acronym is to us, it’s uncommon to a general audience. The campaigns would argue labeling ease, but it’s also a convenient way to target the audience.

    Assuming you’re “LGBT”-hip, then finding each campaign’s gay rights page can be a bit of an adventure. If you start on the home page of Hillary Clinton’s campaign website, it’s next to impossible. Under “issues,” she lists 10 general subjects, from “strengthening the middle class” to “a champion for women.” If for some reason you happen to click on “strengthening our democracy,” then there on the righthand side of the inside page is a link for “LGBT Community,” which takes you to her position page.

    It’s more straightforward on John Edwards’ campaign home page, where if you click onto his “issues” page inside the site and scroll down about two-thirds of the way, there is a link for “LGBT.”

    Only Barack Obama has his “LGBT” link on the home page itself, listed between “Latinos” and “People of Faith” under the header “People” at the top of the page. Even still, if you clicked under “issues” and saw the first link was to “civil rights,” you would find an inside page that deals exclusively with African American issues and includes no “LGBT” link.

    When you get to the candidates’ actual position pages, the contrasts are even more striking.

    John Edwards offers up his overall philosophy on LGBT issues and follows that up with a wide range of positions, including his support on hot buttons like a full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, federal recognition of civil unions, and he is the only one of the three to mention immigration rights for gay binational couples and gay adoption, although the latter is not a federal issue.

    Obama is almost as exhaustive in a fact sheet that the same issues Edwards does except for immigration rights, although that’s covered in another link to Obama’s questionnaire from the Human Rights Campaign. Most importantly, Obama states even more directly than Edwards that he backs “legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.”

    Clinton’s LGBT page -- titled simply "Fact Sheet," making it harder to access via a Google-type search -- offers a very different picture. No mention is made at all of her support for half-repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, immigration rights or federal recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. She includes “gender identity” with regard to hate crimes but on employment non-discrimination says only that it should cover “who you are and who you love.” Edwards and Obama were trans-inclusive on both bills.

    Both Obama and Edwards pages also include a series of statements released on gay issues during the course of the campaigns, while Clinton’s is the only one to include her actual record, as opposed to a statement of positions.




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    1. James on Jan 14, 2008 6:19:51 PM:

      Chris, it apparent that for us to gain our federal rights, DOMA (at least section 3) will have to be repealed. So my question is, what is the procedure for repealing an Act? Can a president simply sign off on it or does the legislative branch of the government pass new legislation that is then signed by the president?

      If the legislative branch of government mush first approve a repeal, then anything the Democratic presidential candidates say is simply pandering to the LGBT community because we will be at the whim of Congress.

    1. Andoni on Jan 15, 2008 8:09:18 AM:

      Wow, thanks for doing this research. I certainly hope it gets picked up by the gay media.

      It doesn't surprise me that Hillary has the very LEAST specific proposals on her web page. Even listening to her at the HRC/LOGO debate, I distinctly had the feeling that all we were going to get from her in the first term is ENDA and Hate Crimes. And both of those should have been done in the 1990's.

      If it's not in black and white, it's pretty much guaranteed it won't be done.

      What puzzles me is how/why the gay establishment can't/won't see this. It is so obvious and predictable. A very large majority of the so called gay leadership in each city and state (i.e LGBT organizations) support her. Do they all think they are going to get jobs in the White House? Or have they all been so brainwashed that they can't see and think for themselves? It's very depressing. When you ask them, they say it's because she will have the most experience to get things done. Yeah, but what if she doesn't want to get our things done?

      As for your question James, YES, Congress must pass a law to repeal DOMA........as well as repeal DADT and then the president must sign it. Same for UAFA.

      You might say then that it doesn't matter who the president is, what really matters is that we get a good Congress with a larger majority because no Democratic president will veto these 3 bills, right? Not necessarily. The president has a lot of power to control the tone of what comes out of Congress and if Hillary is prez and tells the Congressional leaders she doesn't want the controversial repeal of DOMA or DADT to end up on her desk, it will not move in Congress. She has a lot of persuading power.

      Again, thanks Chris for pointing out what's clearly in front of us in black and white. Hopefully this story will get some publicity and people in our community will wake up, but I'm not too optimistic that they will. I've been around the community long a time, and political change isn't a thing I've observed too often.

    1. Michael Bedwell on Jan 15, 2008 11:50:26 AM:

      Wow! Another excuse to attack Hillary. WHAT a surprise. Chris did not address, and, to be fair, perhaps he was unaware of it, but the fact is that Obama was the last of the three to have any formal mention of his claims about gay rights on his site. When I first began contrasting the three sites myself circa last September, I discovered that both Edwards and Clinton had begun by posting copies of their press releases about various gay-related issues, e.g., response to Gen. Pace's "immoral" comment; opposition to Bush's antigay Surgeon General Nominee; repeal of DADT; and, of course, their different lists of LGBT supporters of note, and, as I recall, a LGBT supporters blog. Obama had NOT A SINGLE similar press release posted at that time. Gays were INVISIBLE on his site except for his LGBT supporters blog that finally got souped up a couple of days before the LOGO debate and has finally grown into what it is now.

      What is STILL not there is any evidence that he believes LGBT issues to be among his priorities as President as evidenced by the TOTAL lack of any mention of us at all, save one, in his "Blueprint for Change-Barack Obama's Plan for America." Across 64 pages, the ONLY time WE are mentioned is calling for adding sexual orientation and gender idenity to hate crime law. So exactly WHEN can we expect him to get around to TAKING THE INITIATIVE to fight for OUR part of America that he now touts on his SEPARATE LGBT issues page? And spare me the echolalia about how he allegedly speaks more about gay issues on the campaign trail than Edwards or Clinton when it primarily is the result of his simply responding to questions. As for the political adolescent hardons still genereated by memories of his, wow, using the word "gay" once in his 2004 convention speech, as Obamamaniacs themselves might say: look what being thrilled by Bill Clinton's frequent mention of us in his campaign got us. And, along with still waiting for Obama to appear before an LGBT group [LOGO doesn't count], where's the beef [read dates, names, places] documenting all the alleged times he has taken antigay religionists to the proverbial woodshed?

      What IS easy to document, for those objective enough to care, what is "black and white," is that his trumpeting his call for "full repeal" of DOMA is no more functionally important than his definition of our "FULL equality [EXCEPT FOR the right to be "married"] is philosophically or semantically valid. His call for repeal of DOMA Section 2 is nothing but smile fucking us when he still supports a state's right to deny us ANY kind of legal recognition of our relationships if they want.

      Let's see The Disciples of St. Obama spin this from an article that appeared on the ABC News Website on August 11, 2007, emphasis mine:

      "...Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe...who taught Obama constitutional law at Harvard and appears in one of his presidential campaign ads, called ABC News AT THE REQUEST OF the Obama campaign.... OBAMA BELIEVES STATES SHOULD BE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES FROM OTHER STATES. He wants to fully repeal DOMA, however, because he views the statute as ‘ineffectual and REDUNDANT’, in the words of Tribe. OBAMA BELIEVES a long-recognized public policy exception to the constitution's full faith and credit clause EXEMPTS A STATE FROM HAVING TO RECOGNIZE A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE FROM ANOTHER STATE WHICH RUNS COUNTER TO ITS OWN PUBLIC POLICIES. ‘Marriage is not something that states have ever been obliged to recognize if it's been against their own public policy’, said Tribe."

      - http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3468949

    1. Craig Ranapia on Jan 15, 2008 4:19:32 PM:

      Wow! Another excuse to attack Hillary.

      *sigh* Thought Chris was distinctly underwhelmed by everyone -- both substantively and on the user-friendly web design front. How that translates into an Obamamaniac 'Hilary-hating' circle jerk is really beyond me.

      Darling, make yourself a big steaming mug of decaf and repeat after me: IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT HILARY, 24/7.

      Chris might agree to disagree with me on this one, but I've got my doubts that DOMA or DADT would be repealed by either an Obama or Clinton Redux Administration, but it would be nice to find substantive LBGT positions stated clearly and easily accessible on all campaign websites. Wouldn't it?

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 30, 2011 1:29:54 AM:

      but it would be nice to find substantive LBGT positions stated clearly and easily accessible on all campaign websites. Wouldn't it?

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