or not . . .
watch the entire Logo Forum here
Clinton – opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions and economic and health care rights – outlined some of the legislation she wanted to amend or repeal, wants to get rid of don’t ask don’t tell but admits to not doing so from her position on the committee in congress that is charged with such legislation because she thinks it would be defeated by the Republicans (she did not mention that Clinton signed that rule into law but did take time to defend it), signed the DOMA act based on “personal reasons” and launched into a convoluted and factually inaccurate depiction of state’s rights which she was called on.
Obama – gave no concrete answer to gay marriage but pointed to voting for upholding state gay marriage initiatives, pointed to record with LGBTQ community in general, refused to create a hierarchy of oppression or be bated into saying it is ok to use black civil rights to make points about gay civil rights but rather called it like it is: Oppression, unique to each group, equally important, and oh yeah Oppressive, also fielded questions about the “homophobia of the black community” that no one else had to answer ( ie homophobia in the white community, homophobia in the Latino community, etc.) and again rose to the challenge by saying “the black community has a diversity of opinion” and to expound on the fact that we are no more or less guilty than anyone else.
Edwards – supports universal health care with the same rights and benefits to GLBTQ couples, supports GLBTQ inclusive grade school education, supports GLBTQ adoptions, supports trans worker’s rights, apologized for being opposed to gay marriage and critiqued the idea that Civil Unions are equivalent, wants to repeal don’t ask don’t tell, apparently did not know about the GLBTQ youth who are homeless because of homophobia, says he believes in God but also in the separation of the Church and State as evidenced by the consequences of failing to do so in the Republican leadership.
Richards – Admitted to “making a mistake” when calling GLBTQ people the derogatory term”Maricon,” does not believe gay marriage is achievable but believes in civil unions with full marriage rights, eliminate don’t ask don’t tell (didn’t vote for it) and support gay troops, repeal DOMA (admitted he voted for it), Revamp No Child Left Behind to include GLBTQ issues, claims he is working hard to “push civil unions” in NM but ignored how he helped defeat civil union and marraige rights bills in NM for the last several years
Kucinich – supports gay marriage, reviewed his record with LGBTQ issues with specific references to events and policies (unlike Obama), supports the Workplace Non-Discrimination Act to ensure rights for GLBTQ workers
I find most of the candidate smarmy at this forum. With the exception of Kucinich, they all seemed to talk in circles and commit to very little with regards to equality for GLBTQ people. There commitment to some rights and not to others showed a fundamental disregard for the definition of equality, something Kucinich spoke on clearly.
The forum also, once again, showed the racism of N. America and the mainstream GLBTQ community as their questions for Obama were all centered on race in some form or another. They consistently tried to vilify the black community and phrased questions in such a way as to make Obama have to choose vilification or look like he was anti-gay. He was clearly “the black man” first and always, “the black man whose culture hates us [read white]” second, and I’m not quite sure he was ever really a presidential candidate . . . Every other candidate was asked about their record and their policies. The difference was startling. Worse it was recreated by the video clip captions you will see on Logo’s page. Racism is not new. Racism in the GLBTQ community not new either. But how is it that mainstream, white, GLBTQ people can enter a forum asking for equality while they clearly cannot think along the same lines for other groups? Putting a black gay man in charge of the debate in no way countered their behavior. Shame on them.
Edwards was the only one asked a question about transgendered issues. The question made me wish there was some level of consistency in the questions, ie that certain issues were asked of every candidate so that we could get a uniform picture. All though he seemed more flustered than he should have been in this forum, he seemed to show a sense of learning and growing and being willing to keep that up and that is a commendable quality for any human being.
One of the most heartfelt moments in the forum was Melissa Ethridge’s question to Hilary about “all the promises that were made” (to quote U2) and “being thrown under the bus” (to quote M.E.). She asked Clinton how she would be different now as opposed to then. It was a moment, like the Elizabeth Edwards moment a few days ago, to be brave, bold, and claim the space to be a true leader in the elections. Her overly cautious and substanceless answer was slightly saved by the true concern she seemed to have for the emotion Melissa introduced.
The most surprising thing about it all for me: Kucinich is my new hero. He was passionate about all of the issues, including bringing up the war, health care, and other mainstream issues. He spoke clearly and eloquently about equality. He used specific examples to support his claims about his record and his intentions. I don’t think he can win, but I found myself wishing he could.