Oh boy, it's on! When you have
presidential and vice presidential candidates bootlicking over gay
rights and marriage, you know you got their attention. Gay issues dotted the campaign trail all week, kids.
It started on Wednesday, when The Washington Blade published a Senator John McCain interview that was more pander than straight talk.
McCain answered questions in written
form from the gay weekly where he once again attempted to fool us
into forgetting his deplorable record on gay rights. And before I
tell you what he said, for the record, here's that GLBT record:
_McCain opposed legislation protecting
gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace (ENDA).
_McCain opposed expanding federal hate
crimes law to include sexual orientation.
_McCain is a proponent of
discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military (Don't ask,
_McCain is a proponent of legislation
that bars federal agencies from recognizing gay marriages (DOMA).
_McCain opposes any recognition of gay
unions and campaigned for a gay marriage ban in Arizona.
_McCain supported Jesse Helm's strategy
to cut off HIV/AIDS prevention efforts to the gay community.
_McCain supports efforts to ban gay
people from adopting or fostering children.
Yet, McCain told the Blade, “I
hope gay and lesbian Americans will give full consideration to
supporting me,” after reiterating that a ban on gays and lesbians
serving openly in the military was working, that marriage should be
reserved as an institution between a man and a woman, and that no
state should be compelled to recognize gay marriages performed in
I suppose it's a compliment to be mavericked like that!
But the real fireworks occurred
Thursday, when Senator Joe Biden and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin answered questions on gay rights at their first and only vice
There, at first glance, it appeared a
winking Palin had flip-flopped on the issue of civil rights for
gay couples. “No one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin
adminstration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a
hospital or contracts being signed ...” she said.
In contrast, she told Newsweek
in an August 2007 interview that she would support a constitutional
amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman to block
marriage benefits from gay couples.
Biden, who failed to support gay
marriage, did give a strong endorsement to gay civil rights. “Look,
in an Obama-Biden administration there will be absolutely no
distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint
between a same sex and a heterosexual couple.”
While the candidates talked shop on gay
rights, California voters were witnessing gay politics play out on
their television sets, as gay marriage friends and foes began their showdown on the airwaves there.
Both sides now have ads running in most
markets in an attempt to influence undecided voters on a November 4th
constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state.
While the pro-gay marriage commercial
is a limp-wristed affair – an empty-nest couple look into the
camera and appeal for fairness for their lesbian daughter – the
Yes-on-8, anti-gay marriage ad shows they are ready to take it to the
In that commercial, San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom appears smug and self-satisfied celebrating the state
Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage and saying, “It's
going to happen – whether you like it or not.” The ad falsely
warns that without Proposition 8, people would be sued over personal
beliefs, churches could loose their tax exemption, and gay marriage
would be taught in public schools. And, just for good measure, out
pops Newsom again: “Whether you like it or not.”
The 30-second spot punches through
ideals of fairness or equality and goes right for the jugular of
supposedly liberal politicians and cocky gays pushing a supposedly unwanted agenda on middle
And on a sadder note, last week's Gay Entertainment Report that announced Saint Petersburg's first-ever gay film festival is to be ignored, as authorities in Russia shut it down on its opening night. After authorities pressured the state-run
Cinema House and a private theater to cancel their commitments to
host the event, fire department inspectors closed the alternate bars
and clubs where organizers had hoped to screen the films. Organizers
said they hope to reschedule at a later date.
The Gay Slant pops in most Saturdays at
On Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.