Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Tuesday Watch: The LGBT community tears itself up over its choices

By Diane Silver

As we barrel toward Super Tuesday, the LGBT press in the voting states is beginning to weigh in on the choices for president.

Not surprisingly, Republicans aren't getting much love from the queer world. Meanwhile, writers and editorial boards are torn over the two remaining Democratic candidates.

From the state of New York, Barack Obama gets both an endorsement and criticism.

The Gay City News in New York City endorses Obama in an editorial that seems more anti-Hillary Clinton than pro-Obama.
He deserves kudos for his courage in standing up against the rush to war in Iraq at a time when conventional political wisdom counseled a would-be national figure to do otherwise. He will serve the nation well if he can articulate a comprehensive approach not only toward the mess in Iraq but also the broader and more explosive question of America's standing in the entire Islamic world.
In his recent comments about what Ronald Reagan offered to Americans hungry for optimism and new ideas, Obama ought to have made more clear his understanding that at critical moments the hope for unity cannot substitute for hard choices. This newspaper was probably tougher on Obama than anyone else was for his ill-considered decision to call on Donnie McClurkin - a so-called "ex-gay" gospel singer vitriolic in his attacks on the LGBT community - to reach out to churchgoing African-American communities in South Carolina. We are counting on him to make wiser choices in future efforts to "build bridges" - and on that score applaud the loving words about his "gay brothers and sisters" Obama enunciated from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Atlanta pulpit last week.
The McClurkin episode, unfortunate as it was, pales in comparison to the divisiveness that Senator Clinton has allowed her campaign to devolve into. Her comparison between the roles played by Dr. King and President Lyndon Johnson in advancing civil rights can be chalked up to inartfulness. The comments coming from her surrogates are far more disturbing, forming a pattern that sadly can no longer be ignored.

Meanwhile, a writer at the Gay Alliance in Rochester, N.Y. is not at all pleased with Obama, citing the McClurkin gaffe and Obama's recent endorsement by one of George W. Bush's spiritual advisors, the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church. The church touts an ex-gay ministry.

The gay and lesbian community has the right to be disturbed about the Obama campaign when such individuals are standing up beside him in his quest for the highest-ranking office in the free world. These same people will be asking for more faith-based ministry money to cure homosexuals.

At the same time, the Obama camp extols him as a believer in everybody having access to all rights and privileges.

One thing is for sure, and that is, I am not sure what Obama truly believes. His flexible, unprincipled style should be raising more eyebrows than cash from our very own lgbt community.

Where do I stand? I'm caucusing in Kansas in five days, and to say that I'm undecided is an understatement.

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