Kucinich: Vote for Yourself

Dennis Kucinich is the politician we've been asking for. So why aren't gays supporting him for president?

BY Rachel Dowd

January 03 2008 12:00 AM ET

If you go by
certain polls, Dennis Kucinich is a shoo-in for the
presidency of the United States. For instance, in Democracy
for America’s online poll of more than 150,000
potential voters, the congressman from Ohio took 32%
of the vote -- more than Hillary Clinton (4%) and Barack
Obama (14%) combined. A staggering 77% of respondents in a
nationwide poll by IndependentPrimary.com choose him
as the best candidate for the job; and, according to a
query posed by the Virginia Democratic Party this
December, 30% of the democrats in that state would back him
if the primary were held today.

Of course there
are other polls. Notably, the one last November from
Hunter College in New York, which found that 63% of gay,
lesbian, and bisexual likely voters will cast their
ballots for Clinton in the primaries, followed by 22%
for Obama and 7% for John Edwards. Interestingly, when
asked to rank the gay rights most important to them,
half of the respondents said, “legalizing gay
marriage.” Not a strong point for these
candidates.

Let’s
review: Of the seven Democratic contenders, only former
Alaska senator Mike Gravel and Kucinich support gay
marriage. The rest are content with federally
recognized civil unions or domestic partnerships. On
other important gay issues, Kucinich, like his competitors,
supports a trans-inclusive employment
nondiscrimination act, a federal hate-crimes law
covering sexual orientation and gender identity, the repeal
of “don’t ask, don’t
tell,” access to survivor benefits, equal tax
treatment for same-sex couples, unfettered gay
adoption, and funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and
treatment.

But let’s
say you’re like the 79% of gays in the Hunter poll
who don’t consider gay rights the most
important issue affecting your vote. In that case it
might be important to note that Kucinich is the only
Democratic candidate to oppose the Iraq war from the
outset, when it was political suicide to do so. He
supports not-for-profit universal health care,
withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreeement
and World Trade Organization until all countries agree
to the same environmental and human rights standards,
and raising the minimum wage. He’s pro-choice and
pro–medical marijuana, and he introduced impeachment
proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney.

In short,
he’s the candidate we’ve been asking for. So
why aren’t you voting for Dennis Kucinich?

We caught up with
the candidate in New Hampshire on the eve of the
Iowa primaries to ask him what he thought about being the
very dark horse in the race for the Democratic
nomination.

How intimidating is it to be the long shot in the
run for the Democratic nomination?

Not at all.
People in the LGBT community understand what it’s
like to go against the odds. They’ve been doing
that their whole lives. And there are a lot of
Americans that face long odds every day as to whether
they’ll have a job, health insurance, education,
housing. So I understand what it’s like to be a
long shot. But long shots do win, and they win when
people stand up for what they believe in.

Tags: Politics

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