My Questions for the Presidential Candidates

July 20, 2007 at 6:08 am 4 comments

NOTE: I have been asked to become a regular contributor to the Bilerico Project, a wild and wooly experiment bringing together dozens of LGBT activists of differing political perspectives in one spot. This is really the place to go to find out what happens when the gays stop being polite and start getting real. Check it out.

The Human Rights Campaign and Logo are sponsoring a forum for the Democratic presidential candidates on August 9th and like any good gay, I have a few questions that I want to ask. The forum will be televised live on Logo. Its important to note that while the presidential candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties were invited, not one Republican has thus far accepted the invitation to appear.

HRC and Logo are figuring out how they will take questions from the members of the LGBT community, but I am an impatient kind of gay and want to put my questions out now.

Please add the questions that you would like to see asked in the comments section.

1. Each of you has said that you support repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which bars openly gay Americans from serving in the military. What specifically would you do to overturn this discriminatory law that has resulted in thousands of qualified soldiers being kicked of the military simply for being gay or lesbian?

2. Each of you have expressed similar views on LGBT civil rights, with the exception of Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich who support marriage rights for same-sex couples, tell us why we should vote for you over one of the other candidates?

3. Every day, LGBT youth are subject to harassment and violence in schools. Explain to these young Americans, some of whom will be voting for the first time in November 2008, what specifically you will do to help reduce the level of anti-gay bias in schools?

4. Our current president has nominated people to positions in his administration like Dr. James Holsinger who have strong records of anti-gay bias. Will you commit to appointing people who are committed to protecting the rights of all Americans including including those of us who are LGBT?

5. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the federal hate crimes bill have languished in Congress for years despite the fact that a majority of Americans support both measures. Will you expend political capital to make both bills law so that LGBT Americans do not have to fear being fired from their jobs or being physically attacked for being gay?

6. If one of your children came to you and explained that he or she was gay or lesbian, how would you explain your belief that same-sex couples should not have the same rights and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples have?

7. HIV/AIDS continues to have a huge impact on communities of color and among gay and bisexual men. How would you ensure that every American who is HIV+ gets the medications that she or he needs to fight the disease regardless of ability to pay?

8. LGBT people in countries such as Iran, Latvia and some African nations are subjected to governmentally sanctioned mental and physical abuse. Will you make human rights for LGBT people a part of your foreign policy efforts? And if so, how?


Entry filed under: 2008 Election, Advocacy, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Campaigns, Chris Dodd, Congress, Democrats, Dennis Kucinich, Education, Family, Hate Crimes, Health, Hillary Clinton, HIV/AIDS, Joe Biden, John Edwards, LGBT, Liberals, Marriage, Mike Gravel, Military, Politics.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christopher  |  July 20, 2007 at 7:04 am

    Excellent questions! Perfect.

  • 2. bloggernista  |  July 20, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Thanks. I am sure that you have a few of your own. We need to make our voices loud and clear to help HRC as it formulates its questions for the presidential forum.

  • 3. Juan  |  July 20, 2007 at 11:50 am

    Great questions. I would like to add some refinements:

    ***About Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (question 1)
    Even the proposed federal legislation (H.R. 1246) to repeal DADT is not effective, because it does not repeal Article 125 of the military code. This article forbids sodomy between adults (independently of the gender of those involved). Hillary Clinton recently said that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed and the only thing to penalize is conduct. I agree with the concept, except that the current military code makes it illegal for consenting adults to have full sexual relationships in private. So, whenever we think about repealing DADT, we should also attach to it the repeal of article 125—otherwise, we will have a new policy “OK to Be Gay, but No Sex.”

    ***About Marriage (question 2)
    I fully support marriage equality. The question as posed will have them answer something like “the country is not ready.” The question that I would ask is “Would you support the immediate recognition at the federal level of the marriages performed in MA as well as the civil unions in the several states that allow them?” This can be accomplished by modifying Sec 3 of DOMA.

    ***Employment Non-Discrimination (question 5)
    We need to remember that ENDA is selling us short on the protections that other groups have since they are covered at the federal level for discrimination in employment AND housing AND credit AND public accommodation. Our legislators should make ENDA comprehensive and include these other protections. Those who oppose ENDA will oppose it even with the expansions. Those who support ENDA should also support these obvious protections. Let’s get the job done right.

    Juan at

  • 4. Christopher  |  July 20, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    My Question:

    Why have members of the Congress backed off their Constitutionally mandated duty to bring impeachment talks to the floor? Bush and Cheney have provided the Congress with at least 6 examples that meet the standard of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.


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