In Politics, The Advocate presents the latest news about the political world. From Supreme Court rulings to state and federal laws, we report on how politics shapes the day-to-day realities faced by members of the gay community. Read about LGBT leaders like Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin, and their work to advance the LGBT rights movement in the United States and around the world. Learn about legislation related to same-sex marriage, adoption, and other issues in gay politics that will impact the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

The National Organization for Marriage is expected to announce its endorsement of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday, Politico reports.

April 11 2012 1:55 PM

As Rick Santorum suspends his presidential campaign, observers are noting that his antigay rhetoric was not a sure winner with his fellow Roman Catholics.

The pro-LGBT group Catholics for Equality issued a statement pointing out that exit polls in several key primary states indicated that “Catholic voters rejected his theocratic agenda, including his irrational obsession with stripping LGBT citizens of all legal recognition and protection. In most states Santorum was rejected by Catholics several percentage points more than he was rejected by the public at large.”

April 10 2012 5:34 PM

A campaign surrogate for Keryl Douglas, who is running for president of the Harris County, Texas, Democratic Party, attacked her gay opponent, Lane Lewis, warning that the party could be ruined by gay people.

In a campaign letter to Douglas's supporters, the Reverend Willie J. Howard wrote, "If the gays take over we are poised to lose everything we have worked for during President Obamas [sic] historic win. The Republicans will rally their troops behind a united front of making sure this push for same sex marriage is defeated."

April 09 2012 8:17 PM

The Human Rights Campaign and supporters are calling on Mitt Romney to fire his national finance chair, Frank VanderSloot, who has a record of antigay activities.

March 10 2012 6:00 PM

President Obama Responds to Candidate Scorecard

March 07 2012 1:02 AM

The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, who nearly a decade ago became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church and will retire his vestments in less than a year, lives far enough away in the New Hampshire countryside from the presidential primary campaign scrum in Manchester as to render it on another planet.

January 10 2012 5:43 PM

Your GOP Primary Guide

January 10 2012 4:00 AM

While you could fit the number of people who gave Mitt Romney his Iowa caucus win over Rick Santorum last night into a Chevrolet Suburban, the nominating contest for the Republican ticket has its first technical victor — as well as a bewildering second-place finish from a man whose antigay positions are legion, yet who lacks the campaign staff and coffers to compete against Romney in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.

January 04 2012 4:25 PM

Iowa voters will finally head to nearly 1,800 precinct caucuses in the state today as they begin winnowing the Republican presidential candidates — some striding toward the finish line, others positively limping. And aside from a few who declined to pander to the social conservative base, nearly all hopefuls have been the target of LGBT activists, both seasoned and impromptu, with an arsenal ranging from undercover operations to frank discussions over mugs of diner coffee and boxes of glitter dumped at book signings.

However questionable some of the tactics employed, reporters were given the required drama for a story, and YouTube hits accumulated as LGBT campaign interlopers created a persistent and disruptive narrative for candidates who support overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, invalidating lawful marriages (as the surging Rick Santorum recently told MSNBC), and ousting judges who ruled on the side of equality.

Troy Price, executive director of One Iowa, the state’s LGBT advocacy group, has bristled at the antigay rhetoric spewed in his state during the past several months, most notably the barn jacket-clad Rick Perry’s now-infamous “Strong” ad and Newt Gingrich’s September assertion at a Fort Dodge campaign stop that marriage equality is but a “temporary aberration that will dissipate.” Perry has been incessantly parodied, Gingrich excoriated — and previously glitter bombed — for his pronouncements on marriage.

“Some of these tactics may not be what I would do, necessarily,” Price said of the activism he’s seen in his state and elsewhere. “But I think it all works toward the greater goal, which is highlighting who these candidates really are.”

The campaign trail confrontations in Iowa and New Hampshire have been particularly symbolic, given that the first two battles for the nomination are in states where gay marriage has become legal following the last presidential election yet faces continued attack from antigay groups. Groups such as the National Organization for Marriage are likely to target Iowa senate majority leader Michael Gronstal, who has fought legislative attempts to force a ballot measure on marriage and faces reelection in November. Meanwhile, the New Hampshire legislature is poised to vote on a bill after the January 10 primary that would dilute marriage rights.

Dogging antigay candidates has provided a definite boon for smaller gay organizations that are both nimble and willing to take risks. Such has been the case for Truth Wins Out, founded by Wayne Besen in 2006 with an objective of exposing dubious ex-gay therapy and those who promote it. The group proved to be a formidable antagonist of Rep. Michele Bachmann, exposing last summer the “reparative” methods practiced at a clinic owned by the Minnesota congresswoman and her husband, Marcus. “[The Bachmanns] owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices,” Truth Wins Out director of communications John Becker wrote in July.

Such an explanation never happened, and how the exposé ultimately affected Bachmann’s slow demise in the polls is unclear. But the storyline during the summer shifted from surging GOP candidate to co-owner of an “ex-gay quack clinic,” and that itself was a success, Besen said.

“People who fund us don’t want boilerplate statements,” Besen said of Truth Wins Out supporters. (Mitchell Gold, the Arcus Foundation, and New York philanthropist Henry van Ameringen are among those contributing to a $250,000 annual budget, he said.) “They want high impact. They want to fund us to say things that other people won’t. And everybody’s thrilled. We have extremely happy investors over the past year."

Impact during the campaign hasn’t always been the product of highly coordinated maneuvers. Romney’s December campaign stop at Chez Vachon in Manchester, N.H. was remembered not for an endorsement from the city’s mayor that day (the original point of the event), but for the candidate’s run-in with Bob Garon, a 63-year-old gay veteran who grilled Romney on his marriage stance over scrambled eggs. “I went and fought for my country, and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same [benefits as they would] if I were married to a woman,” Garon said following the exchange. “What the hell is the difference?”

In Iowa, Price said the campaign has been difficult to stomach, however unsurprising the talking points against LGBT rights from many in the race. “To see so many presidential candidates who claim they want to lead all Americans score cheap political points on the backs of gay and lesbians has been tough," he said, "but at the same time it’s also put into focus what’s really at stake here.”

As for the candidates today, Price added, “I’m just looking forward to them getting out of town.”

On the next pages, some of the campaign trail’s most memorable LGBT activist moments — so far.  

January 03 2012 4:00 AM

From the December print issue  

November 16 2011 4:00 AM