We're only halfway through the summer, and the number of presidential candidates is growing like a rash you got from swimming at the lake -- there are already more candidates than months to the election. With so many vying for our attention, it's easy to get confused, bewildered, and frankly tired of the whole ordeal.
To make things a bit easier, we reviewed each of the candidates' records on LGBT rights. However, after reading Texas Gov. Rick Perry's views alone, we realized this was going to be brutal. Then that "Trump Your Cat" thing became a big hit. So we did what came naturally -- made the entire field more palatable by replacing the candidates' pictures with those of cats that resemble their opinions. Here we go...
Jeb Bush (R)
He was once a front-runner, but Bush's star seems to be falling fast.
With LGBT issues, this former Florida governor is on par with his brother George W. He's said that he would go to a same-sex wedding to be polite (though he would likely be silently resentful the whole time). Bush also thinks it's better to stay in the closet than to come out at work and make everyone feel weird, and that his religious beliefs totally trump LGBT rights. But hey, he's totally against bullying (he did grow up with W).
Ben Carson (R)
Political experience is not a prerequisite for the highest office.
This son of Detroit is a neurosurgeon, a brain surgeon, and thinks that men who rape each other in jail prove being gay is a choice. He has compared homosexuality to same-sex marriage to pedophilia and bestiality. He also said that marriage equality isn't a civil rights issue (that was him at his most diplomatic).
Chris Christie (R)
If you're always watching your step, you can miss the hand hold.
Many believe, the New Jersey governor has a problem with telling the truth. His stance on LGBT issues is complicated, to say the least. He signed one of the toughest antibullying laws in history as well as a ban on "conversion therapy." He has suggested support for antidiscrimination protections, believes orientation is determined at birth, and opposed same-sex marriage (even vetoing a bill that would have legalized them) but supported civil unions. Christie is trying to portray himself as a middle-ground kind of guy and is watching all of his steps on the issue to make sure he can draw votes from conservatives and liberals. Well, if you don't stand for anything, you'll fall for ... you know the rest.
Hillary Clinton (D)
Almost ready to go the distance.
The former New York senator has kept on pace with the American public when it comes to marriage equality, eventually embracing it, and she was a strong advocate for LGBT rights during her time as secretary of State. While some may see that as natural evolution, critics view it as a lack of leadership. If elected, hopefully she'll follow all the way through. Or, just figure it out as she goes.
Lincoln Chafee (D)
This guy is a shark when it comes to devouring inequality!
So what if I told you about a guy who used to be a Republican, voted to have LGBT people included in hate-crimes legislation, supported same-sex marriage before Hillary did, and opposed the idea of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage? Then after that guy became an independent, he signed a bill that established marriage equality in Rhode Island. Lincoln Chafee, former governor of Rhode Island and now a Democrat, would be that man. He's also a trained blacksmith and spent seven years as a farrier. After you met the ever affable Chafee, you'd think I was a liar -- but I'm not fooling around.
Ted Cruz (R)
Let's face it, the guy is scary. A U.S. senator from Texas, The Advocate's 2014 Phobie of the Year has long opposed marriage equality and now wants to pass a constitutional amendment to end it, thinks being gay is a choice, has opposed municipal nondiscrimination ordinances, and has used rhetoric that makes LGBT people fighting for their rights sound like bands of Huns wandering the countryside killing Christians. No one's asked specifically, but don't doubt that he would exile us all to South Padre Island if he could.
Carly Fiorina (R)
Are you still here?
When Carly Fiorina ran Hewlett-Packard, it offered same-sex partner benefits. Also, she laid off 30,000 American workers, tanked employee satisfaction, and reduced the stock value of Hewlett-Packard by half. And her LGBT cred? She supported the antigay Proposition 8 in California, supported the original Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and questioned whether Apple CEO Tim Cook is a principled enough gay man for opposing the Indiana law while doing business in homophobic nations like Saudi Arabia. None of this strikes Fiorina as a big deal.
Lindsey Graham (R)
When those rumors blot out everything else.
This senator from South Carolina has a long history of opposing same-sex marriage, employment protections, and adoptions by LGBT people, and he supported the South Carolina governor's attempt to deny benefits to same-sex partners of service members after "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed. His record is antigay, although he has recently softened on some of those positions. Graham's also been the target of a whisper campaign while running for reelection in his home state, even denying in interviews with media that he's gay. Then there are the late-night comedians cracking jokes about how he has never married, has no children, and has an accent borrowed from the cast of Designing Women. Making fun of him for being single and having a soft voice is kinda screwed up, especially when it comes from LGBT people. But so is claiming that legal marriage equality will lead to legal polygamy.
Mike Huckabee (R)
Poor guy -- so easily confused.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan the Lion is an allegorical figure representing Jesus -- noble, loving, wise, majestic, forgiving, kind, and just. The lion in the image above is an allegorical figure representing this former Arkansas governor. He has used the term "ick factor" concerning same-sex relationships, said the states should oppose the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, supports conversion therapy, and wants to bring back DADT. To top it all off, he said gay people shouldn't adopt because "children are not puppies." Go back to the Ice Age, Mike!
Bobby Jindal (R)
This cat's dead on arrival.
This current governor of Louisiana has worked against every pro-LGBT piece of legislation in his state and signed an executive order encouraging discrimination against married gays. He's bragged how he supported that Duck Dynasty homophobe, has backed conversion therapy to the point he has appointed its practitioners to state office, and took sexual orientation out of an antibullying bill. Finally, he has sworn he would never, ever, change his mind about all of this. Don't worry about this guy, though; he's polling so low, he's within the margin of +/- 2 percent of ZERO.
Martin O'Malley (D)
Where did this guy come from?
Let's be honest, few knew much about this mostly milquetoast former Maryland governor. Turns out this guy, Martin O'Malley, actually accomplished a lot of stuff. He signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage there as well as one that extended housing and employment protections to transgender people. Poor Martin, he's like the Michelle to Hillary's Beyonce and Bernie's Kelly. Maybe running mate material?
George Pataki (R)
This is a passive kitty.
So George Pataki is a strange beast. He is the only declared Republican candidate to support marriage equality, although he has said it's a distraction from important issues. He even signed a gay rights bill as governor of New York in 2002. Aside from that, though, his website is pretty quiet when it comes to LGBT issues; he's more worried about the economy and terrorists. When the Supreme Court ruled on marriage in June, almost everyone had a statement out that day or the next. Not Pataki. Basically, he can't be bothered with that whole gay thing.
Rand Paul (R)
More of a nosey parker than you'd think.
As the heir to the libertarian mantle of his (kinda wacky) father, Ron, this senator from Kentucky is all about small government -- lower taxes and less oversight of business. But he totally wants government in your pants. He has supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (but a contract is totally OK!), doesn't think gays should have any government protection against discrimination, and thinks marriage equality will lead to man-iPhone nuptials. But hey, he's cool with you having all the guns and weed you want.
Rick Perry (R)
This kitty, er candidate, has issues.
This former governor of Texas refused to provide partner benefits for National Guard soldiers, supported his state's ban on same-sex marriage and wants to take it nationwide, and has equated homosexuality with alcoholism. He has said President Obama was out of touch with American values for putting international pressure on countries that violated LGBT human rights. He has spoken at a rally sponsored by the virulently antigay American Family Association and compared himself to an abolitionist fighting slavery by keeping gays out of the Boy Scouts. There's something about this guy that Sigmund Freud would love.
Marco Rubio (R)
Don't come any closer.
This U.S. senator from Florida threatened to tank his own immigration bill if it included same-sex couples. Marco Rubio also thinks gay couples adopting is a social experiment. The National Organization for Marriage thinks of him as a champion, and he has even recorded antigay robo-calls for NOM. Then there's that time he raised money for pro-conversion therapy groups. Rubio gives us all the feels, and none of them are good.
Bernie Sanders (D)
Don't you forget about me.
What can you say about the only person in Congress who is proud to call himself a socialist? This senator from Vermont has opposed every bit of anti-LGBT legislation and endorsed every supportive bill, even writing or cosponsoring a few bills himself. The man has received praise from almost every LGBT organization in the country. He also is pro-choice, pro-union, antiwar, pro-Wall Street regulation, pro-environment, pro-government reform, anti-Patriot Act, pro-universal health care, and pro-social services. Does he have a chance in hell of winning?
Rick Santorum (R)
Sure, Rick, you definitely have a chance of winning the nomination.
A long time ago, in a much different world, Rick Santorum was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. He even won 11 primary states during that weird presidential election with Michele Bachmann in it. Those days are gone, and now he's just an antigay kook. Relaying his record will just make you mad. Rest assured, he will lose spectacularly.
Donald Trump (R)
Maybe he just needs a hug?
Sure, he's a birther, scapegoats Mexicans, "gets along great with the blacks" though he would rather "short guys with yarmulkes" count his money instead of them. He also is known to look over his beauty pageant contestants like they were cattle and has said of female contestants on the business-oriented reality show he was just fired from, "I bet you would make a great wife." But when it comes to LGBT issues, he's just as you'd expect -- he doesn't support marriage equality and once compared gays to golf clubs (we don't get it, either). Something more must be at play here. Is this all a cry for help?