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Obama lobbies 'gays'
for edge over Hillary
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 03/07/2008 @ 12:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Official “Obama Pride” logo advocating homosexual rights
It’s not easy to find on his campaign website, but Sen. Barack Obama has issued an open letter to the “LGBT community” assuring them he believes in “full equality” for homosexuals and stating that, unlike Sen. Hillary Clinton, he advocates the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
In the letter, published on a campaign blog, Obama says he’s “running for president to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all – a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters.”
Pointing out that throughout his career he’s “fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Americans,” Obama lists some of his specific accomplishments.
As president, he says, “I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Obama’s newspaper ad appealing to homosexual community
In the run-up to the recent Texas and Ohio primaries, Obama bought full-page ads in homosexual-oriented newspapers in Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas and Houston.
The ads were the brainchild of Stampp Corbin, co-chairman of Obama’s National LGBT Leadership Council, the Advocate newspaper reported. Corbin told the ‘gay’ publication the coordinated buy was “the icing on the cake” in terms of the campaign’s outreach to the homosexual community in the two states.
“It’s a direct appeal to LGBT voters, asking for their support,” Corbin said.
The Advocate said the Obama campaign “has actively been trying to cut into the long-standing ties between gays and lesbians and Sen. Hillary Clinton.”
In his letter, Obama says he will also use the presidency’s bully pulpit to “urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.”
The candidate for the White House says he would not prevent legalization of same-sex marriage.
“I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment,” he sayes. “But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union or a civil marriage.”
Obama says he has opposed the Defense of Marriage Act since arriving in the Senate three years ago, and, unlike Sen. Clinton and those who say it should be partially repealed, “I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether.”
“Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does,” he says.
The Defense of Marriage Act is a law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 that says the federal government and individual states are not required to recognize a same-sex marriage, even if it is recognized by another state.
Obama points out he also has called for repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of barring personnel from disclosing homosexual behavior or “orientation” while preventing authorities from investigating it.
The Illinois senator says he also has worked “to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can accord same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.”
The bill would allow unmarried “permanent partners” of U.S. citizens to obtain permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses.
Obama also addresses the HIV/AIDS epidemic, saying that while abstinence education should be part of any strategy, “We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception.”
Specifically, he advocates passing the JUSTICE Act to combat HIV infection within the prison population and says “we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users.”
The Justice Act, or Justice for the Unprotected Against Sexually Transmitted Infections among the Confined and Exposed, would provides prisoners with “increased education and prevention,” including access to condoms, to reduce the spread of HIV in prisons and in the communities in which prisoners are released.
“In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives,” Obama said.
‘Prayer and hard work’
“We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma too often tied to homophobia that continues to surround HIV/AIDS,” he emphasizes.
Obama refers to a speech he made at his controversial appearance in late 2006 at Rick Warren’s evangelical Saddleback Church in which he “confronted this stigma directly.”
As WND reported, Obama told the most recent Saddleback AIDS conference, in November, he would double foreign assistance for AIDS from $25 billion to $50 billion by 2012.
He told the conferees in Southern California he also called for adopting “humanitarian” policies to make it easier to license generic drugs.
“With prayer and hard work, I believe we’ll make real strides addressing this scourge and doing God’s work on earth,” he told the Orange County crowd.
In his letter, Obama says “having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone.”
Along with repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implementing “fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes, he says, it’s important to bring “the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones, and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career.”
“I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans,” Obama says. “But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.”
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