We are at a crossroads in the Democratic nominee selection process. The race between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton is tight, and our votes greatly matter. Our voices matter. It is our responsibility to choose the candidate who will best respect our community and will best represent our community’s interest in both the political sphere and in the public sphere.
After an extensive review of both candidates, it has become clear that Senator Hillary Clinton is the candidate that we should endorse for the Presidential nomination.
Both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have stated that they support Civil Unions. And their stated positions are fairly similar as for what they would seek to achieve to improve the lives of LGBT Americans. (Besides the fact that Senator Obama has now back-pedaled in his stand to get rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” in the military, whereas Senator Clinton has stood fast in her position to get rid of it.)
However, as has often been stated, “the proof is in the pudding.”
Promises are one thing. We have all seen politicans promise the moon and deliver very little. So we have to look at behavior. That is what we can best make our judgment on. In effect, “who walks the walk.”
There are many situations that are very troubling surrounding Senator Obama.
Since we have no substantial political record on which to assess him, we must look at what his behavior has told us.
Has Barack Obama stood up for gay rights when it could have cost him something politically? The answer is no.
Has the Illinois Senator stood by the gay community when others attacked it? The answer is no.
Here is a brief overview of the Senator’s failure to “walk the walk.”
–Donnie McClurkin— In 2007 gospel singer McClurkin was part of Obama’s campaign. McClurkin has said that he’s “in a war against the curse of homosexuality.” And that, “God delivered me from homosexuality.”
In PR manipulation, Obama expressed disagreement with McClurkin’s views but failed to disown him. John Araovsis wrote in AmericaBlog at the time, “This is new. And it’s terribly unnerving. I mean, we’re to believe that the fact that Obama, alone among Democratic candidates, is willing to openly welcome bigots into his campaign makes him the best candidate for voters concerned about civil rights. And the corollary, the worst candiate for someone who cares about civil rights is the candidate who actually stands up against the bigots. So the best way to promote tolerance is to tolerate and embrace intolerance?” He called that logic “wacked.”
–San Francsco Mayor Gavin Newsom— Obama asked that his picture not be taken with Mayor Newsom. According to Former Mayor Willie Brown, Obama conveyed to him that, “he would really appreciate it if he didn’t get his photo taken with my Mayor. He said he would really not like to have his picture taken with Gavin.” This was at a time when the issue of gay marriage was making headlines in California.
Subsequently, Mayor Gavin has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Gavin stated that “his conversation with Hillary on civil rights for the LGBT community shared a ‘depth’ and ‘understanding’ that Obama does not share.” Senator Clinton has had her picture taken with Mayor Newsom, she has also appeared with him on camera numerous times.
–Reverend James Meeks— Chicago-based Reverend Meeks is well-known for his virulent anti-gay remarks made both privately and from the pulpit. He is a close friend, a political ally, and Obama has gone to him for spiritual counsel. According to gaywire.com, “Meeks has reportedly blamed ‘Hollywood jews for bringing us Brokeback Mountain’ and actively campaigned to defeat SB3186, an Illinois LGBT nondiscrimination bill.” Obama has neither disowned Meeks, nor stated Meeks’ continued anti-gay remarks are inappropriate.
–The “Blank Spot” on the page— A gay newspaper in Pennsylvania recently ran an interview with Senator Clinton. The newspaper left a large blank area in their paper symbolic of the place where Obama’s interview would have run…. had he bothered to give them an interview. This is just one instance of Obama’s repeated pattern of denying interviews to LGBT newspapers and media outlets.
–Donald Young— In 2007, the choir director of the Trinity United Church of Christ, Donald Young was found murdered. The media services director of the church said in response to the murder, “Young did live an openly gay lifestyle; that was his choice.” This is of course Trinity Church, Obama’s chosen church, home of the Reverend Wright.
–Donna Brazile— It is clear that Donna Brazile’s political commentary continually favors Senator Obama. That is why we include her statement in this discussion of Senator Obama’s credibility in the gay community. In an interview with Joshua Lynsen of the Washington Blade, DNC chair Howard Dean talked about gay delegates. According to Lynsen, “He [Dean] acknowledged a proposal by gay DNC member Garry Shay of California to add gays to the party’s affirmative action guidelines for selecting convention delegates triggered a contentious internal debate. Dean said some influential individuals within the DNC Black Caucus such as Donna Brazile opposed the plan because it was seen as ‘an affront to the civil rights movement.'”
Overview: We as members and supporters of the LGBT community want a candidate who will stand up for us and not tolerate anti-gay behavior and statements. Senator Clinton has consistently stood by our communtiy, given interviews to gay newspapers and media, and not tried to create some weird world where bigotry and hate are valued parts of some nebulous “discussion.”
In fact there is no room for dialogue with those who are intractable in their position of hatred and disdain for LGBT people. Senator Clinton knows this, and it makes us very uncomfortable that Senator Obama does not.
Therefore we ask that you join with us in supporting Senator Hillary Clinton in her journey to become our next President of the United States.