Gay groups are asking questions – and
finding answers – about Republican presidential nominee John
McCain's VP choice, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. Most are unhappy
with their findings.
The number two choice is carefully
analyzed by the campaign to ensure maximum benefit to their ticket.
In the case of Palin, McCain operatives are betting on her
conservative record and Christian background to increase the ticket's
appeal to Christian conservative voters.
And that plan appears to be working;
conservative Republicans in general appear to be euphoric with the
“I think Sarah Palin is the smartest
thing that John McCain has done. She has revitalized the grass roots
of the Republican Party across the board, all segments,”
conservative Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly told the Chicago
Gay groups, however, are troubled by
Palin, calling her anti-gay record “frightening.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest gay rights group, posted a blog entry on their
website critical of Palin's gay positions. HRC pointed to answers
Palin provided to the Alaska Eagle Forum's 2006 gubernatorial
questionnaire, where she said that she did not support hate crimes
laws or spousal benefits for gay couples, and that one of her top
family priorities would be “preserving the definition of 'marriage'
as defined in our constitution.” In 1998 the voters of Alaska
passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the state.
“Most Americans support treating our
LGBT loved ones and neighbors with respect, and support their full
inclusion into our national experience,” said Steve Ralls,
communications director for pro-gay group Parents, Families and
Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), of Palin's equality record.
“From Anchorage to Albany, and everywhere in between, there are
real families who feel the real impact of policies that leave the
LGBT community behind.”
Palin has also been linked to several
She and anti-gay Congresswoman Michele
Bachmann (R-MN) were recently honored at a Republican National
Convention event, which was sponsored in part by long-time gay-rights
opponent, and Eagle Forum president, Phyllis Schlafly.
Concern has also been expressed over
Palin's involvement with – or knowledge of – her church's
promotion of an ex-gay conference scheduled in Anchorage next week.
An insert in the bulletin of the
Wassilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years,
says, “You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His
desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,”
according to a The Associated Press report.
The conference, called Love Won Out,
is being organized by James Dobson's conservative Christian
organization Focus on the Family. The group says they help people
overcome unwanted same-sex attractions through religious means,
including group discussions, counseling, Bible reading and prayer.
“We are deeply concerned that Sarah
Palin may share the extreme and medically unsound view that gay and
lesbian people can and should be cured,” said Wayne Besen,
executive director of Truth Wins Outs, a gay group that advocates
against ex-gay ministries. “We call on Palin to express her views
on this issue so we have a clear idea on where she stands. We hope
this is an area where she disagrees with her church.”
HRC President Joe Solmonese had harsher
words for the governor: “Sarah Palin is against recognizing our
relationships, against domestic partner benefits, and against hate
crimes laws. ... The more we find out about her record, the more
frightening her record becomes.”