Tuesday, July 1, 2008

McCain vs Obama: Advocate-style....

McCain's Advocate report:

John McCain’s position on California’s marriage amendment has officially switched from supporting the voters’ right to define marriage as they see fit to endorsing efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage by amending the state’s constitution, according to a statement by the Log Cabin Republicans.

ProtectMarriage.com, the group leading the charge to constitutionally ban gay marriage in California via a ballot measure, published the following statement from the McCain campaign on its website last Thursday: “I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions.” The wording varies from the campaign’s original statement following the state supreme court’s May decision to legalize gay marriage, which asserted that McCain supported “the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman…”

Conservative organizations such the Christian Broadcasting Network wasted no time hailing the new statement as an endorsement of the antimarriage amendment. But until Tuesday, Log Cabin representatives said the campaign itself had neither confirmed nor denied that the Arizona senator had in fact changed his position from neutrality to active support.

A statement released Tuesday by the Log Cabin Republicans read, “Late last week, the group pushing California’s antimarriage constitutional amendment released an e-mail from a McCain staffer saying the senator backed the amendment. We now have confirmation that this represents the senator’s view.”

Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon asserted in the statement that supporting the amendment is inconsistent with McCain’s belief in federalism. “Unfortunately, his position on this amendment hurts gay and lesbian families. We obviously disagree with Senator McCain on this issue and do not believe he should have interjected himself into this state issue,” Sammon said in the release. “Backing California’s ban sends the wrong signal to the independents who will decide this election because it creates the impression that he’s pandering to social conservative leaders.” McCain held a closed meeting in Ohio late last week with social conservative leaders, around the time the new statement appeared on ProtectMarriage.com.

Sammon, who has met several times with McCain’s campaign staff and once with the senator himself, declined to discuss the nature of those meetings or whether the senator had indicated what his official stance on California’s ballot measure would be.

Senator McCain’s campaign did not return phone calls for this article. His stance on other marriage ballot measures -- such as Florida’s or one that just qualified for the November ballot in his home state of Arizona -- remains unclear. (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

Obama's Advocate report:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took a strong stand this weekend against a constitutional amendment to appear on California’s ballot in November that would effectively overturn the state supreme court’s recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read yesterday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast [see link to letter below], Senator Obama wrote, “I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law … that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

A campaign spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter, the full text of which is available below.

“For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect,” the senator wrote.

Obama also stated his support for “extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law,” and reiterated his desire to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” as well pass legislation to protect LGBT American against hate crimes and employment discrimination. Obama closed the letter by congratulating those who have chosen to celebrate their love by getting married in the past several weeks. (The Advocate)

Read Barack's letter to the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club here.

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