Top gay: Turns out the Obama campaign is not the only one with a gay person at the top, but it may be the only one willing to acknowledge it.
Two men who say they've dated or been in a relationship with the chief of staff in John McCain's Senate office helped radio talk-show host Michelangelo Signorile shed some light on his sexual orientation this week.
Signorile announced during his daily satellite radio show on Sirius Radio Sept. 22 that he had confirmed to his satisfaction that McCain's Senate office chief of staff, Mark Buse is, at least on occasion, of the homosexual orientation.
Signorile said he had heard rumors during the past month that Buse was gay, but it wasn't until Arizona resident Brian Davis contacted him that he began working on the story. Davis told Signorile he was prompted to publicly reveal his relationship with Buse because of McCain's rightward shift on gay issues. Signorile said he got confirmation of Davis' story from Davis' mother and a longtime friend.
Then, during the course of Monday's program discussing Buse's sexual orientation, a resident of Pittsburgh, Jeff Arndt, called in to say he, too, had been in a relationship with Buse—he had dated him for about a month. Arndt did not identify himself on the air but later agreed to do so.
Neither Buse nor anyone from McCain's Senate or campaign offices returned calls and e-mails offering an opportunity to discuss the claims.
Coincidentally, on the same day Signorile aired his program about Buse, PBS posted an interview with him, by Judy Woodruff. Buse told PBS in that interview that McCain is an 'extremely open' sort of boss who 'wants you to just talk and say what you think.'
As of deadline, there was no mainstream media coverage of the news this week, although a reader identified as 'New York' blogged the 'news' into a Washington Post online column Tuesday during a discussion of whether gays are exactly like straights. And at least one prominent gay Democratic activist—Hilary Rosen—came to Buse's defense, saying he has 'not been closeted' but rather has 'lived openly' in D.C. for 'many years' and attended gay events.
McClurkin revisited?: There's been no hue and cry from the LGBT community so far, but the Obama campaign is preparing to launch another faith-based tour and this one—like the last one— gives the podium to an anti-gay speaker. The campaign's director of religious affairs announced Sept. 19 that the campaign would be launching a 'faith, family and values tour' in the coming days. On the list of speakers is someone with publicly anti-gay views.
In 2007, it was gospel singer Donnie McClurkin; now, it's former Reagan and Bush Senior administration official Douglas Kmiec. Kmiec, a Catholic activist and law professor, has endorsed the Obama. He's also written a commentary supporting the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in California.
A spokesperson for the Obama campaign said the senator has been and still is opposed to the California ballot measure seeking to ban same-sex marriage but is also hopeful that people from diverse points of view can work together. Obama's religious advisor, Josh DeBois, told The New York Times the tour is not aimed at voters who are focused primarily on one issue, such as same-sex marriage, but at people from a range of faiths, including moderate evangelicals.
Divergent voters: Black voters and LGBT voters are often on the same wavelength when it comes to prioritizing a candidate's views on civil-rights matters. That's good news for Democrat Barack Obama because both groups are polling for him and are expected to turn out in large numbers Nov. 4. But The New York Times reported Sept. 20 that it could be a worry for those attempting to defeat a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage. Although Obama himself has spoken out against the ballot measure—Proposition 8—the head of the effort to ban gay marriage claimed most Black voters will vote for the ban. The Times cited no current polls in California showing Black voters were, in fact, siding with the ban. Instead, it paraphrased an assistant professor at New York University 'who has studied black voting patterns on same-sex marriage' as saying Black voters 'consistently polled much lower than white voters on approval for same-sex marriage'—16 points lower, according to the Sept. 21 article. Lorri Jean, a longtime lesbian activist and head of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, says polling on anti-gay ballot measures is notoriously unreliable: 'There is typically a 7-10 point difference between what people tell the pollster about their views on LGBT rights and how they really vote, ' showing 'a dead heat on Prop 8.'
©2008 Keen News Service