WINDY CITY TIMES
||Keen on the Trail: Gay news from the presidential campaign trail
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
This article shared 3308 times since Wed Aug 13, 2008
Church talk: In a move not usually associated with Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama has decided to aggressively pursue the evangelical vote this November. Obama has agreed, along with Republican John McCain, to participate in a 'civil forum' at a major evangelical church in conservative Orange County, Calif., this month. Although the two candidates will not debate or even join each other on the stage at the same time, the event marks their first joint appearance of sorts in the general election campaign. The date is Sat., Aug. 16. The church—Saddleback Church—is headed by Rick Warren, who has fought against same-sex marriage but has also led significant efforts to combat HIV. He'll be the moderator. The two-hour ( 7-9 p.m. ) event will be televised.
Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who initially backed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nominee, issued a statement Aug. 4 saying she is now endorsing Barack Obama. Barely 24 hours later, the Obama campaign issued a press release saying Baldwin would co-chair its newly expanded National LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Earlier, the National Stonewall Democrats announced it is endorsing Obama. In announcing its endorsement, the organization also launched an 'ActBlue' button on its Web site that allows people to contribute to the Obama campaign in a way that identifies the donation as coming from the LGBT community. In the McCain camp, country-music star John Rich wrote a song, 'Raising McCain,' in support of the Republican, and then offered his opinion on gay marriage—that it's akin to legalizing incest. For the latter, he later apologized.
'A' for Obama: As a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, Barack Obama showed interest and concern for the civil rights of gay people. A July 30 New York Times article examined Obama's 12 years as senior lecturer at the school teaching courses on such matters as equal protection. Lesbian legal scholar Nan Hunter, who is herself a professor of law at Georgetown University, took a look at the exams and model answers Obama prepared for one of his classes. She noted that 'almost every exam includes a question that involves sexual orientation … .' In one 1996 exam, Obama indicated he found it 'troubling' that the U.S. Supreme Court had, in such cases as Bowers v. Hardwick ( the 1986 decision upholding sodomy bans for same-sex couples ) seemed 'to embrace notions of 'tradition' as a means of curtailing' rights. In her blog hunterforjustice.typepad.com/hunter_of_justice, she adds, 'He passes my test for president.'
358 and climbing: National Stonewall Democrats announced that the LGBT caucus for the Democratic National Convention now totals 358—up more than 50 since two weeks ago. Other improvements over the past two weeks include an increase to 48 in the number of states who will have at least one LGBT delegate ( only Nebraska and North Dakota have none ) .
Social security: Republican John McCain probably wouldn't put it quite this way, but the national gay Republican group says the GOP presidential candidate is 'supporting a plan that would provide Social Security fairness for LGBT families.' What he supports, he says, is the ability of young workers to save for their retirement years through personal savings accounts, rather than just Social Security alone. That's good for gays, says Log Cabin, because personal accounts would—unlike Social Security—'allow LGBT people to leave their benefits to anyone they want.' Patrick Sammon, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Democrats 'support a Social Security status quo that discriminates against gay and lesbian workers.' 'Senator McCain's common-sense plan,' he said, 'provides fairness and will save Social Security for the next generation.'
Re-focusing: Focus on the Family founder James Dobson recently flip-flopped on his vow not to support Republican John McCain for president. During an interview in March, Dobson said, 'I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances. He is not in favor of traditional marriage and I pray that we will not get stuck with him.' In a radio broadcast July 21 Dobson said, 'While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might.'
Reiterating: Barack Obama sent a letter to a national gay family organization Aug. 1 reiterating his support for LGBT families, including those formed by adoption of children. Obama was responding to a request from the Family Equality Council to state his position on gays adopting children—a request that was sent to both presidential campaigns after the widely publicized statements of Republican John McCain against gays adopting. Most of Obama's one-page letter read like a form letter, but its final paragraphs said 'we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.'
©2008 Keen News Service
This article shared 3308 times since Wed Aug 13, 2008
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