His running mate had a "news flash" for the media Wednesday night, and John McCain had one for LGBT Americans on Thursday: "Education is the civil-rights issue of this century." It was the second thinly veiled dig at gays and lesbians the Arizona senator made as he accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president in St. Paul, Minnesota, bringing the 2008 Republican National Convention to a close. For anyone still wondering, on the left or the right, where the one-time moderate now stands on two of the most divisive social issues of our time, McCain made his beliefs clear before a hall of enthralled Republicans at the Xcel Energy Center: He supports a "culture of life" -- and judges "who dispense justice impartially and don't legislate from the bench." The latter reference, though coded in the language of "activist" judges, was an obvious swipe at same-sex marriage, in a year when the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality (and when that state and two others, including McCain's home state, face ballot initiatives over the issue). The speech, complete with several diversions by protesters -- including a man two tiers above a media work section holding a sign that said YOU CAN'T WIN AN OCCUPATION -- capped a week with few outright jabs at gay marriage from convention speakers, in marked contrast to the Republicans' 2004 convention, when the Federal Marriage Amendment was frequently cited for political gain. Except for a remark by McCain's former rival Mike Huckabee about not changing "the very definition of marriage from what it has always meant throughout recorded human history," there was an utter lack of rhetoric on gay issues -- contrary to the strong statements of support heard at the Democratic convention in Denver last week. Read the the full story from the Advocate here.
If John Oxendine has his way, the next time the Republicans gather for their national convention, they'll do it in downtown Atlanta. Yes, the anti-gay state Insurance Commissioner wants to put together a bid for the GOP's 2012 convention.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, strongly opposes domestic partner benefits for Alaska’s state employees, even though she vetoed a bill to block same-sex partners from receiving the benefits. Officials with Log Cabin Republicans and National Stonewall Democrats, the nation’s largest gay GOP and gay Democratic groups, offered sharply differing views this week on Palin’s gay rights record as the groups jumped into the political fray over a vice presidential pick that surprised leaders of both parties. “Governor Palin is an inclusive Republican who will help Sen. McCain appeal to gay and lesbian voters,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. “She’s a mainstream Republican who will unite the party and serve John McCain well as vice president.” But John Marble, spokesperson for National Stonewall Democrats, called Palin a “champion of anti-LGBT special interests.” Marble noted her 1998 support of a state constitutional amendment approved by voters that bans gay marriage and her 2006 opposition to domestic partner benefits for state employees. For the full story from the Washington Blade, go here.
Deborah Mell was expecting a peaceful event when she joined hundreds of demonstrators in downtown Chicago for a pro-gay marriage rally in March 2004. Instead, things got rowdy, and Mell was arrested. A female police officer said Mell attacked her, and Mell was taken away in a paddy wagon. Within 15 minutes her father, Richard Mell, a powerful Chicago alderman, came to her rescue—and soon found himself addressing some 300 polarized protesters on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate. “I love my daughter Deb,” the alderman told the incensed crowd. “She believes fervently in a cause, and she stands for that cause—and I will support anybody who does that.” Deb Mell was launched that day—and in November she is set to become the first open lesbian to serve in the Illinois general assembly. For the full story from 365gay.com, go here.
A 2006 questionnaire completed by Sarah Palin during her race for the Alaska governorship sheds some light on her views of gay rights and other issues. The questionnaire, sponsored by Eagle Forum Alaska, a conservative group, asked, “Will you support an effort to expand hate crime laws?” She replied, “No, as I believe all heinous crime is based on hate.” Palin also answered a question about extending spousal benefits to domestic partners. The question read, “Do you support the Alaska Supreme Court’s ruling that spousal benefits for state employees should be given to same-sex couples? Why or why not?” For the full story from the Washington Blade, go here.
When it comes to gay, CNN clearly has the advantage over NBC. The Peacock blew its opportunity to treat Olympic athletes fairly on Saturday. That's when all eyes were focused on Matthew Mitcham, the Aussie diver who was also the only openly gay male athlete competing in Beijing. As he completed his stunning performance to take gold in the 10-meter diving competition, NBC nailed every moment of the upset.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s decision to pick Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his vice presidential running mate drew immediate praise from gay activists in Delaware, who called Biden a strong and reliable friend of the gay community. After more than two months of deliberation over selecting a vice presidential nominee, Obama announced Biden’s selection shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday in text messages and e-mails sent to his campaign supporters. Although Biden, 65, has not signed on as a co-sponsor for as many gay-related bills as activists would have liked, he has voted for gay-supportive legislation and against anti-gay measures nearly every time such legislation came before the Senate during his 35-year tenure as a senator, according to Delaware activists. “You won’t see him taking the lead on gay issues, but whenever there is a vote, he’s always with us,” said Peter Schott, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Delaware, a gay rights group. “He’s a great choice for vice president,” said Steve Elkins, executive director of Camp Rehoboth, a gay social and community service organization in Rehoboth Beach, a Delaware resort town with a large gay community. “Biden has always been very supportive of everything we’ve done,” Elkins said. Last year, after announcing his candidacy for president, Biden joined other Democratic presidential candidates, including Obama, in expressing support for an employment non-discrimination bill that includes both gays and transgender persons. For the full story from the Washington Blade, go here.
Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr went whoring for votes in Colorado on Monday, meeting with top officials from the anti-gay Focus on the Family. He didn't meet with James Dobson, the Focus chief who was recovering from surgery. But the campaign stump is troubling nonetheless, given that Barr has turned back from his conservative rhetoric in recent years to a more Libertarian leaning that included second thoughts about his backing of the Defense of Marriage Act while he was a Congressman from suburban Atlanta.
What about the former Georgia congressman’s recent statements on gay marriage and second thoughts about his own Defense of Marriage Act? “What Bob has said is exactly the conservative philosophy — that these are state isues that should be decided by the people within a state, as opposed to the federal government being involved in non-federal issues,” [campaign manager] Russell Verney said.