A GLBT Endorsement of Edwards
Mo Baxley, in Bay Windows, New England's largest GLBT newspaper :
Obama lost the support of many in the LGBT community when he featured anti-gay entertainers at campaign events in South Carolina and then went ahead with the events even after being personally informed of the entertainers’ very public and virulently anti-gay remarks - making him the only Democratic candidate to be protested by members of our community. While Obama certainly has a pro-LGBT platform, in this circumstance, his actions speak louder than his well-intentioned words and we can not support a candidate that harmed the LGBT community in South Carolina in his quest to become president.
Edwards has worked hard since announcing his candidacy for President to earn our support. He was the first candidate to publicly release the candidate questionnaire for the Human Rights Campaign; the first to publicly announce an LGBT steering committee; the first to release a comprehensive plan for addressing the domestic HIV/AIDS crisis; and the first to visit a gay and lesbian community center. The dynamic Elizabeth Edwards also became the first spouse of a candidate to speak at a gay Pride weekend - the San Francisco Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club - an event at which she declared her support for marriage equality. Edwards has also proudly and publicly dispatched high-profile LGBT supporters (like former National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Eric Stern) to talk to LGBT voters in key early states like Iowa.
Edwards has not only demonstrated through these actions that our community is a vital part of this campaign whose support he is working hard to earn, but he has also proven that he will stand up for our community as our next president. When General Peter Pace (who was also then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) called gays and lesbians "immoral," Edwards was the only candidate to immediately denounce and disagree with Pace’s attack on millions of hard-working, tax-paying LGBT Americans. Neither Clinton nor Obama were able to do the same when initially asked to respond to Pace’s hateful and very public remarks. Edwards spoke from his heart in defending our community from this vicious attack and he will do the same as our president.
Although I am not gay, his shocking use of homophobic bigot Donnie McClurkin to raise money and win votes in South Carolina redefined my understanding of Senator Obama. It was deplorable and indefensible. As Matt, at the pro-Edwards InterstateQ site, explains:
If Obama wins the presidency the LGBT community is in for four (and possibly eight) years of being subjected to a dangerously employed “big tent” strategy that places an oppressed group of citizens at the same table as their oppressors. Obama’s presidency would see James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Donnie McClurkin and other anti-gay leaders sitting down with LGBT community leaders telling them how much they are evil and going to hell while Obama sits back and says, “We should work together and hope for change.”
The LGBT community doesn’t need a president who would place their very real needs for social and civil equality at the same level as those who seek to do nothing but strip them of every civil and social right. LGBT community members, under “President Obama,” would be subjected to daily reminders of their second-class citizenship, officially endorsed by the White House.
A little hard-hitting, perhaps, but perhaps not. Senator Obama has been good on gay issues, but the pain he caused in the gay community could not be more real. From Obama supporters I have continued to hear the "big tent" excuse, and I tell them that my big tent doesn't include bigots. They reply that by reaching out to people like McClurkin, Sen. Obama can help change them. I tell them I have yet to see any evidence that Sen. Obama made any effort to "change" McClurkin. Nor did he condemn McClurkin's disgusting behavior at his own fundraiser.
Throwing gays under the bus won't hurt Sen. Obama, should he win the Democratic nomination, and it doesn't seem to be hurting him in the primaries; but it makes it impossible to take Sen. Obama at face value. He is no agent of change and hope. He is cynical and calculating, and is not above hurting a frequently abused and marginalized minority for political gain. His lofty rhetoric leaves me cold. It is an act.