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Front runners fall flat on equality issues.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Buzz Publications
March 26, 2007


For homosexual men and women, and other members of the GLBT community the field of 2008 Presidential candidates is surprisingly narrow. If the idea the gays and lesbians should enjoy the same civil rights as their heterosexual brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents, is important to you as a voter, only three candidates share your opinion.

Republicans candidates take themselves out of the race by pandering to hate mongers of religious right. John "Straight Talk Express" McCain likes to avoid talking about gay issues, Mitt Romney has made a career of opposing equal rights for gays and lesbians, and Rudy "I do drag" Guilianni, although gay friendly, does not support equal rights for members of the GLBT community.

On the Democrat front there is hope in varying degrees. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the least likely to be elected President in 2008, has been unfaltering in his support for full and equal rights for gays and lesbians. A long time proponent of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in all branches of the military, Kucinich also supports the right of homosexuals to marry as heterosexuals do. Kucinich also denounces all forms of discrimination based on the perceived sexual orientation of an individual.

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the most qualified person seeking the Presidency in 2008, has a long history of gay friendly leadership. In his first term he signed legislation expanding civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and sexual identity, as well as a hate crimes law which offered the same protection. In 2003 he extended, through executive order, health insurance and other benefits to same-sex domestic partners of state employees.

When it was introduced in 1993, Congressman Bill Richardson was a vocal opponent of President Clinton's discriminatory "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Richardson has called repeatedly on Congress to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," if elected it's clear he would do it through executive order.

Like Kucinich and Richardson, John Edwards is clear spoken on his support of Gay and Lesbian equality. Commenting on Congressman Marty Meehan's Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Edwards said:

"It is long past time to end the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy and to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military. It is critical to our national security that we have the best people in our military. Gay men and women have continually served our country with honor and bravery, and we should honor their commitment and never turn away anyone who is willing to serve their country because of their sexual orientation."

Although still undecided on the issue of same-sex marriage, Edwards is an advocate of civil unions that are equal in every way, except in name, for gay and lesbian couples who want their relationship recognized by state and federal government.

Voters should be wary of candidates promoting policies of discrimination that divide segments of the population for arbitrary reason based on archaic thinking. In the twentieth century the bigotry of "Separate but equal" legislation was proven a fraud. It didn't sit right for African Americans then and it's not working for gay Americans now.

At this point Hillary and Barak would be well served by abandoning the vague double speak they are using to court the gays and conservatives while serving nothing but their own ambition.

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