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Candidates Face

Candidates Face


Wonder where the presidential hopefuls stand on gay issues? Look no further.

Halfway through his acceptance speech August 28 at the Democratic National Convention, presidential nominee Barack Obama called for unity despite Americans' disagreements over hot-button social issues. "I know there are differences on same-sex marriage," he said, "but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination."

What a difference an election cycle makes. In 2004 the issue of gay marriage was largely ignored by Democrats and embraced as a call to arms by the GOP. This year both Obama and Republican nominee John McCain have gay friends and coworkers, and both oppose a Federal Marriage Amendment that would write a definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman into the U.S. Constitution (although neither is sold on the idea of marriage equality).

But that's the big picture. On issues like "don't ask, don't tell" or the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the two White House contenders are very different. Haven't decided whom to vote for on November 4? Take a look at where they stand on the issues.

GAY MARRIAGEObama Supports civil unions and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. Opposes Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that would amend California's constitution to undo marriage equality.

McCain Voted for DOMA in 1996. Believes "marriage is a union between one man and one woman," but opposed the FMA, saying marriage laws should be left up to the states. Supports Proposition 8 and Proposition 102, which would amend Arizona's constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATIONObama Cosponsored a bill in Illinois to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Supports a transgender-inclusive federal ENDA.

McCain Voted against ENDA in 1996; it failed by one vote in the Senate. Originally said, "I don't believe that [gay people] belong in a special category." In a later interview with the Washington Blade, he changed his stance, saying, "Gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination in the workplace. I've always practiced that in my hiring. I select the best people, regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people."

ADOPTIONObama Supports equal adoption rights and said that he will work to "extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws."

McCain Told The New York Times he doesn't believe gay people should be allowed to adopt children and later said he supports adoption by two-parent, "traditional" families.

"DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL"Obama Wrote on his website that we should "repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' and demonstrate that the most effective and professional military in the world is open to all Americans." Recently said he would work with military leaders to repeal the ban by consensus.

McCain Believes "don't ask, don't tell" is working and has said in the past, "It would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue." He adjusted that stance in an interview with ABC News and later in the Washington Blade interview, saying, "I promise to give full consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk. On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' I'm going to defer to our military commanders. So far they have told me it's working. I'm willing to have the policy reviewed to make sure that's the case, but at the end of the day, I'm going to rely on the commanders who will be impacted by a change in the law."

HATE CRIMESObama Cosponsored the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would add crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity to those covered under the federal hate-crimes law.

McCain Opposed expanding hate-crimes legislation to include sexual orientation in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Wasn't present for the 2007 vote.

IMMIGRATIONObama Supports the Uniting American Families Act to allow U.S. citizens or permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex foreign partners for immigration to the U.S.

McCain Opposes the UAFA.

HIV/AIDSObama Supports the Ryan White Act, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and comprehensive sex education that includes information about HIV and AIDS.

McCain Supports PEPFAR and has consistently backed the Ryan White Act but in 1995 voted for an amendment to prohibit funding from being used for "encouragement of homosexuality or intravenous drug use." Supports abstinence-only sex education

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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