Democrats not shying away from LGBT issues
I have to disagree with Sophie Zavaglia’s assertion that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lacking in their public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality (Feb. 6, A4). Both candidates, by reaching out to the community, are by default being held accountable by the community. If either candidate were to fail in their support while in office, they would risk retaliation in the voting booth.
Clinton in particular has a proven record of standing up for the LGBT community even when it proved to be a potentially inconvenient political issue. For example, Sen. Clinton led the fight in the Senate against the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment while running for re-election in 2006 and planning an historic presidential run. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy organization, came to Clinton, not Obama, to spearhead the fight. She was also endorsed by both Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank, the only two openly gay members of Congress. She even campaigned for Baldwin in 1998, who was told by party stalwarts that she could never win her Wisconsin district because she was a woman and a lesbian (Clinton campaigned for her a few days before the election, and she won). Clearly, Clinton’s commitment to the LGBT community and her character are exemplified by her record, disproving any accusations of insincere political pandering on her part.
The Democratic candidates should refrain from making too much of an issue out of LGBT equality until they have secured the White House. Although the political winds have dramatically shifted since the polarizing 2004 elections, the Democrats should focus on the issues that affect all Americans, gay and straight, as we cannot risk the potential political backlash. Once Clinton or Obama inhabit the White House, it would be absolutely necessary of them to send a clear message that the era of gay-baiting is over and that the era of LGBT acceptance has begun.
Joe Goldman, Freshman