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Thread: Gay rights finally get due at presidential forum on TV

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Gay rights finally get due at presidential forum on TV

    DEMOCRATS: 3 top hopefuls oppose same-sex marriage

    Gay rights finally get due at presidential forum on TV / DEMOCRATS: 3 top hopefuls oppose same-sex marriage

    Six Democratic presidential candidates broke new ground Thursday night by participating in a televised forum devoted to gay issues, all voicing strong support for equal rights and government benefits for gay Americans - though the three leading candidates said they oppose same-sex marriage.

    With the candidates generally agreeing on the major issues at hand, questioners at the forum - organized by the Human Rights Campaign and Logo, a gay-themed television network - chose to dig deeper into their personal attitudes and experiences. In particular, they grilled former Sen. John Edwards, who has expressed religious concerns about same-sex marriage and who, according to a former consultant of his, once said about gays, "I'm not comfortable around those people."

    Edwards moved swiftly to deny making that remark. When one of panelists at the forum, the singer Melissa Etheridge, asked if he felt "OK right now" in a roomful of gay people, he said with a chuckle, "I'm perfectly comfortable."

    Turning serious, Edwards added: "Can I just tell you - that's not true. Someone else said it, and it's not true, it's not true. It came from a political consultant, and he's just wrong. Elizabeth and I were both there, and we've said it's wrong."

    A political consultant, Robert Shrum, attributed the comment to Edwards in a recent book and has stood by his account.
    The former North Carolina senator also took the opportunity of the forum to repudiate his past remark that his religious views had influenced his opposition to same-sex marriage.

    "I shouldn't have said that," said Edwards, a Methodist, drawing applause. "We have seen a president in the last six-plus years who has tried to impose his faith on the American people. I will not try to impose my faith belief on the American people."

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York also faced a bolt of skepticism from Etheridge, one of four panelists, who asked why gay Americans should trust her professions of support when "our hearts were broken, we were thrown under the bus" by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who also had pledged to be an ally.
    "Obviously, Melissa, I don't see it quite the way you describe, but I respect your feeling about it," Clinton said.
    She went on to note that her husband had appointed gay people in his administration.

    Asked what was at the heart of her opposition to same-sex marriage, Clinton said, "I prefer to think of it as being very positive about civil unions."

    (huh? WTF)

    While she enjoys support from many gay Democrats, Clinton also offered views contrary to gay rights advocates. She defended the initial creation of the Defense Department's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during her husband's administration, saying it was meant to ward off a "witch hunt" against gays in the military. She said she supports its repeal now.

    Clinton also said the Defense of Marriage Act, which many gays oppose, had been a useful tool in defeating a proposed federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. She said she now supports repealing some parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, meanwhile, was challenged on his image as a "candidate of change," since - in the words of one of his questioners, Jonathan Capeheart - his opposition to same-sex marriage is "decidedly old-school."

    "Oh, c'mon now," Obama said. Noting that he quickly accepted the invitation to the forum, he said, "There's a reason I was here first - I've got a track record working on these issues."

    Like Edwards and Clinton, Obama emphasized his support for civil unions that offer full marriage rights - without calling the arrangement marriage - for same-sex couples.

    Perhaps the most surprising moment of the night, causing a visible stir in the audience, came when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson replied to a question about whether he believes being gay is a biological fact or a personal choice.

    "It's a choice," Richardson said - a view that is contrary to the position of many gay rights advocates.

    Richardson added, "I don't like to answer definitions like that that are perhaps grounded in science or something else that I don't understand."

    Asked twice if, as governor, Richardson would sign same-sex marriage legislation, he side-stepped the question, saying he was "doing what was achievable - and I'm not there yet."

    In contrast to those four Democrats, the other two candidates who participated in the forum, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, drew strong applause by expressing full support for same-sex marriage.

    "All I can say is, keep those contributions coming if you want the president you want," Kucinich said.

    Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who cited scheduling conflicts as his reason for not coming, said he will post answers to the questions presented at the forum on his campaign's Web site. The only other major Democratic contender to skip the event was Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who also cited scheduling problems.

    (uh-huh, yea right)

    Organizers said they invited several Republican presidential candidates to appear as well, but the GOP hopefuls declined.

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    This answers my question from the other thread.

    We have seen a president in the last six-plus years who has tried to impose his faith on the American people. I will not try to impose my faith belief on the American people.
    Interesting comment.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    the reality is this:

    Americans are not ready for gay MARRIAGE. They just aren't. They're brainwashed by preachers and priests into thinking the word is suddenly sacred, despite all attemps by Vegas and Britney Spears to convince them otherwise.

    To court gay MARRIAGE is to court political death right now. Supporting civil unions (read: not marriage) means they're all for legal equality but know their constituents are buttfuck stupid and would never accept MARRIAGE.

    Civil unions will happen to start and it'll slowly turn into marriage while the christofascist shitbags are looking the other way.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I don't think one's belief's on gay marriage should seal the faith for who becomes President. I think there are a lot more serious issues at hand.......health care, social security, stuff that people need to survive.

    I have no problem with gay marriage but I don't think that should be the deciding factor.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Of course it shoujldn't, but people are fucking stupid.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I agree with that.

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    I don't think one's belief's on gay marriage should seal the faith for who becomes President. I think there are a lot more serious issues at hand.......health care, social security, stuff that people need to survive.
    True, but like Grimm said most of the x-tian base are so hard up on what another group of people do, they would sacrifice getting social benefits they NEED in order to "protect the word of God".

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    Bronze Member SecretHeart86's Avatar
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    I wanted to slap Richardson when he made that choice comment. Idiot.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Democrats Address Gay Rights In Logo TV Forum
    SLIDESHOW: 2008 Presidential Hopefuls

    (AP) LOS ANGELES Democratic presidential contenders faced pointed questions on gay marriage and the basis for sexual orientation in a forum that forced candidates to confront politically touchy issues that have vexed a nation.

    Former Sen. John Edwards found himself discussing whether he is comfortable around gay people -- he said he is. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appeared to struggle with a question about why people become gay or lesbian. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ended up defending the record of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on gay rights.

    "We certainly didn't get as much done as I would have liked," the New York senator said. "But there was a lot of honest effort."

    Six of the eight Democratic candidates answered questions Thursday on gay rights at the two-hour forum co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group active in Democratic politics, and Logo, a gay-oriented cable TV channel that aired the forum live.

    Organizers said it marked the first time that major presidential candidates appeared on TV specifically to address gay issues. The candidates appeared one at a time in an upholstered chair on a Hollywood studio set and took questions from a panel that included singer Melissa Etheridge.

    The candidates underscored differences with Republicans on gay and lesbian rights, but leading candidates also faced aggressive questioning on their reluctance to embrace marriage for same-sex couples.

    All of the Democratic candidates support a federal ban on anti-gay job discrimination, want to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays from serving openly in the military and support civil unions that would extend marriage-like rights to same-sex couples.

    A majority of Americans oppose nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage and only two of the Democrats support it -- former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, both longshots for the nomination.

    Barack Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ, which supports gay marriage, but Obama has yet to go that far.

    "If we have a situation in which civil unions are fully enforced, are widely recognized, people have civil rights under the law, then my sense is that's enormous progress," the Illinois Democrat said.

    In a campaign dominated by the Iraq war and terrorism, the forum provided unusually probing talk about issues that alternately touched on questions of tolerance, morality and religion.

    Clinton said she made a mistake in March when she steered around a question on whether homosexuality was immoral. She was asked about it at the time after Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he considered homosexual acts immoral and similar to adultery. He later said he should have not expressed his personal views. Clinton later issued a statement saying she did not think being gay was immoral.

    "It was a mistake," Clinton said. "I should have put it in a broader context."

    Clinton was cheered by the crowd when she alluded to the prospect for change at the White House in the 2008 election. Edwards argued that Democrats must speak out against discrimination coming from the Republican right wing.

    Unless you speak out against intolerance, it becomes "OK for the Republicans in their politics to divide America and use hate-mongering to separate us," Edwards said.

    Etheridge, speaking to Edwards, said she had heard he once said he felt uncomfortable around gay people -- an assertion contained in longtime political strategist Bob Shrum's book "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner."

    "I'm perfectly comfortable," Edwards said. "I know where it came from. It came from a political consultant. And he's just wrong."

    Richardson skirted a thorny debate on homosexuality.

    When asked by Etheridge whether "homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?" he said, "I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as human beings."

    Richardson later elaborated in a statement issued by his campaign:

    "Let me be clear -- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice," Richardson said. "But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law."

    When Kucinich was asked whether there was anything on the agenda for gay and lesbian rights he didn't support, he paused and said, "All I can say is, keep those contributions coming ... and you'll have the president that you want."

    In a statement clearly aimed at the leading Democrats in the field, he said his support for same-sex marriage was "a question of whether you really believe in equality."

    Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who was on a panel posing questions to the candidates, said in a statement, the forum "was an important night in the fight for equality."

    "Unfortunately, we have more work to do," Solmonese said. "The overwhelming majority of the candidates do not support marriage equality. While we heard very strong commitments to civil unions and equality in federal rights and benefits, their reasons for opposing equality in civil marriage tonight became even less clear."

    Of the eight Democratic candidates, two did not attend, Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd on Connecticut.

    Logo, available in about 27 million homes, wanted to hold a second forum for Republican candidates but GOP front-runners showed no interest, channel officials said.


    (© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )
    Ahem, this american, for one, is ready for gay marriage, thank you very much Grimmy

    in fact, its never been a question to me or a lot of other folks i know, like you've posted many times, there's just no rational reason to be against it. its silly.

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    I think gay civil unions would do more to destroy marriage then gay marriage would. That's why I fully support gay MARRIAGE and am so so disappointed that the major Democratic candidates can't take that stand too. Who are they worried about offending? Anyone who doesn't support gay rights isn't going to vote Democrat anyway. Forget about those bigots and stop fucking catering to them!!!

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Forget about those bigots and stop fucking catering to them!!!
    OMG THANKS YOU! *applause* yeah Hillary and Obama!

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purewine View Post
    I think gay civil unions would do more to destroy marriage then gay marriage would. That's why I fully support gay MARRIAGE and am so so disappointed that the major Democratic candidates can't take that stand too. Who are they worried about offending? Anyone who doesn't support gay rights isn't going to vote Democrat anyway. Forget about those bigots and stop fucking catering to them!!!

    Amen, this is absolutely why I despise ALL politicians of every stripe. Where are principles? Obviously power and money mean more than sticking to what you truly believe in.

    And I agree with the above about bill richardson. What the freak happened, it was not too long ago he voiced his opinion that he fully supported gay marriage. Now when it comes to crunch time he wusses out like the rest of the sellouts and hems and haws.

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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland View Post
    Ahem, this american, for one, is ready for gay marriage, thank you very much Grimmy

    in fact, its never been a question to me or a lot of other folks i know, like you've posted many times, there's just no rational reason to be against it. its silly.
    Make that two americans damn Grim you need to just come over here and run for president i'd vote for you lol you seem a damn bit brighter than those running
    Silly bitches, twitchy links are NOT for kids!-Mel

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    I agree with Grimm. America just isn't ready and at the end of the day any Democrat hopeful, if he or she really wants to be president will change their tune when the time comes. Look at the last election. People will vote for a party who will continue to oppress them just so gay people won't marry.

    This is an issue that people in America feel very strongly about. Sure there are people who are for it, but in places like the bible belt and Midwest, forget it. Most of these people are so indoctrinated by their religious instruction that they can't see anything else and would suffer before the likes of 'the gaysí get anymore rights. I honestly believe that itís going to be a while before this happens in the U.S.

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    Elite Member DoveFeatheredRaven's Avatar
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    I am pro gay marriage and from the bible belt. Think about this-- I don't know what the numbers are but I am sure most Americans are not for gay marriage. If any politician comes out strongly in support of gay marriage there goes their chance at election. Obama and Clinton cannot afford to staunchly and vocally support this at this time. I don't agree with this but if they came out and supported gay marriage right now, the Repubs would run with it. Other issues would stop being discussed and all the focus would be about that. It is shitty but we all know that is what would happen and we would end up with another four years of Repubs in the White House. I agree with analyzer that hopeful the Dems can figure out a way to answer these questions cleverly, get elected, and then try to change things. I am ready for the tables to turn on conservative America.

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