Democrats highlight national security over gay issues
July 29 2004 11:00 PM ET
While casting Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry as a patriot-warrior, always "first in the line of fire," the authors of a tightly scripted Democratic National Convention are giving lesser roles to some issues dear to Democratic Party activists.
Abortion rights, gay rights, affirmative action, gun control, and more--scores of polarizing topics that galvanize party activists are being nudged to the margins as Kerry seeks to bolster his prospects as commander in chief. So eager to topple Bush, Democratic delegates and the party's special interest groups don't seem to mind that nobody is pushing their hot-button issues.
Inside Boston's Fleet Center, home of the Democratic National Convention, special interest groups surrendered their prominence and retreated from center stage. Their voices were heard, though mostly by the already converted. Cheryl Jacques, executive director of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, spoke prior to the prime-time Wednesday night schedule to defend "marriage equality," or the right of same-sex couples to marry. Her spokesman, Mark Shields, said it makes sense to focus the convention on homeland security, not gay rights and other liberal touchstones. "If you look at every national poll, gay rights is not something people want politicians spending their time on. They want them spending their time on jobs, the economy, and the war in Iraq," he said.
Gay rights did get some prime-time exposure when keynote speaker Barack Obama said people in the "red states," or Republican states, have "gay friends," and Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts accused GOP leaders of pitting "straights against gays." But those were passing glances, safely deployed to cast Bush and his allies as intolerant.
George W. Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said Democrats are trying to disguise Kerry's liberal ways. "We've said from the first hour of the convention that this will be an extreme makeover of John Kerry's 20-year record in the U.S. Senate," he said.
Kerry's fellow senator and running mate, John Edwards, stirred the convention crowd on Wednesday night with his assertion that Bush has helped create "two Americas," one for the privileged and one for everybody else. He spoke of health care reform and ending poverty, longtime liberal causes. But the thrust of Edwards's address was devoted to telling voters that Kerry had shed blood and saved lives in Vietnam. "Decisive. Strong," Edwards said. "Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?"
- Holiday Guide: Shop Here, Not There
- Op-ed: Stop Judging Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black
- WATCH: Colo. Baker Who Refused Gay Wedding Cake Appears In Court
- Gay News, LGBT Rights, Politics, Entertainment | The Advocate
- WATCH: Rep. Polis's Epic Blowup on House Floor Over Immigration
- Op-ed: Don't Worry, Tom Daley's Getting Biphobic Tweets, Too
- Women WATCH: Lesbians Explain How Lesbians Have Sex - with Visual Aids! December 05 2013 7:57 PM
- Travel Why Travelers Love Palm Springs Airport December 05 2013 7:33 PM
- Travel Turkish Bazaar Opening on Vegas Strip December 05 2013 7:12 PM
- Women WATCH: Nurse: 3D is the Epic Lesbian Exploitation Hospital Thriller of the Year! December 05 2013 6:54 PM
- No More Bullying WATCH: It Gets Better Speaks to Russian LGBT Youth December 05 2013 6:33 PM
- World News LGBT Rights Are 'Essential Part' of U.S. Foreign Policy, Says Susan Rice December 05 2013 6:15 PM
- Marriage Equality Judge Expected to Rule on Utah Marriage Ban Early Next Year December 05 2013 6:00 PM