Michael Crawford

DNC Not Being Straight On 700 Club Interview

Filed By Michael Crawford | January 14, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: 700 Club, Democrats, DNC, gay rights, Paul Yandura

That is a question that has to be asked as the controversy continues over Howard Dean's interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network for The 700 Club in 2006 in which he says that Democrats have much in common with evangelicals and states incorrectly that

The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says.

The 2004 Democratic Party platform actually says

We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been definited at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a Federal Marriage Amendment. Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart.

In an interview with The Advocate Dean apologized.

This interview continues to raise the hackles of LGBT Democrats like Paul Yandura who says that the DNC continues to claim that they did not know that the interview was for The 700 Club.

From an email by Yandura:

Yesterday on a listserve for LGBT Democratic donors the DNC Treasurer continued the lie that Howard Dean did not interview on The 700 Club, but instead interviewed for the ABC Family Network. (This was the interview where Dean “misspoke” about the party platform and prompted NGLTF to return a $5K donation from the party: cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/060510a.aspx).

If there was confusion on the part of the DNC communications team about the difference to between the Christian Broadcast Network and the ABC Family Network, would not one of the 7 DNC religious outreach staffers know the difference?

Yandura contacted David Brody, the reporter who conducted the interview, who said:

When I interviewed Gov. Dean in 2006 he and his staff knew it was for The 700 Club. That was made very clear.

Reaching out to communities of faith as a way of increasing the numbers of voter who identify with the Democratic Party is understandable, but not if it comes at the expense of LGBT voters who have been one of the most loyal constituencies supporting the party.


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Ugh. How truly disgusting. I expected better from Dean.

Is Dean's comment to the 700 Club really that much worse or different than the Democratic Party platform?

If you don't read the 2004 Democratic Party platform as "we don't support gay marriage" then you're crazy. Arguing that states should decide the issue of gay marriage, in a year when 11 states all successfully passed anti-marriage amendments, is pretty much the same damn thing as saying you don’t support gay marriage.

It’s true that the 2004 platform didn’t say anything about marriage being between a man and a woman. But I would argue that Dean was only tailoring for his particular audience the way that the message is being conveyed, and not what the message actually is. And that is – don’t worry the Democrats are going to let the gays get married anytime soon.

The Libertarian Party platform reads thusly:

"I.9 Sexuality and Gender

...

Transitional Action: Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state laws and amendments defining marriage. Oppose any new laws or Constitutional amendments defining terms for personal, private relationships. Repeal any state or federal law assigning special benefits to people based on marital status, family structure, sexual orientation or gender identification. Repeal any state or federal laws denying same-sex partners rights enjoyed by others, such as adoption of children and spousal immigration. End the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for sexual orientation. Upgrade all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned solely for such reasons to honorable status, and delete related information from military personnel files. Repeal all laws discriminating by gender, such as protective labor laws and marriage, divorce, and custody laws which deny the full rights of each individual."

http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml#sexgend

Bill Perdue | January 14, 2008 6:57 PM

The Democratic platform statement that "We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families." is bilge.

They all oppose samesex marriage, they gutted ENDA, 'misplaced' the Mathhew Shepard Act, sustained DADT and DOMA and their candidates all pander to christian bigots. How can people ignore their bigotry when Dean and throws it in our faces with statments like 'The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says." or "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." (BrainyQuotes) How can you not get it - the Democrats are not for us, they're against us.

Good ol' Democrat antics, actually.

We're a constituency that's often taken for granted because so far our community has demonstrated very little dignity in standing up to Democrats when they ignore us, which they have done for quite a while. They know that politically we have nowhere to go, but at least we can let them know that if they don't meet their promises, they shouldn't be surprised if they see some major lack of voting from our block.

But the big question is why? Why do the Democrats take us for granted in ways they don't take other constituencies? (Unless they do, I should read more about this subject before jumping to conclusions like that.)

We don't have anywhere else to go, but then again the same could be said for the Religious Right for the Republicans - are they just going to start voting Democrat? And yet they get the pandering....

We're a fairly smaller voting block and far less influential than other more socially accepted ones. While people can relate with the Religious Right, African Americans, or Hispanics, they have a difficulty in relating with the LGBT community. Why? Because we're perceived purely on sexual terms, where we differ from them. Emphasis is put on this difference by the average heterosexual, which disables them from looking toward other similarities.

Furthermore, we're one of the most desperate constituencies, as is shown by evaluations on how politically active our community is. We have quite a bit at stake by not participating politically, while other demographics suffer less. No other demographic loses anything like we do. Even the Religious Right wouldn't be losing much if we were to achieve our goals; their members would at worst take a hit to their self-righteous ego.

The Democrats know that we hunger for legal equality like no other demographic does, allowing them to exploit the GOP's foolish platform to get our votes. They don't need to do much as a result; even if they don't pass LGBT-pertinent legislation (as they have done for quite a while), the Republicans are doing the Democrats' job of courting LGBT vote by simply antagonizing the community, which doesn't translate into such a big loss for the Republicans.

As for pandering to the Religious Right et al, it's a matter of difference in influence. They have far larger economic funds, social outreach, and member body to do the job than we do. The pandering also comes as a result that their voting can afford to be more fickle. If they see that the same results are taking place regardless of the party in power, then they can move to support the party that best serves another issue pertinent to that block. For example, many evangelicals oppose the war and support welfare programs for the needy and international issues such as genocides taking place in our world. The Democrats are most receptive to these points, and as such the religious sector can move on to other pertinent battles. The same is not the case for LGBTs, where we are a single-focused movement that aims to protect the rights of sexual minorities.

Finally, we also have to come to the realization that we're not that significant a sector of the population as we'd like to believe. We are at the mercy of obtaining heterosexual sympathy to get anything accomplished, which poses another whole host of challenges.

Alex, what Democrats count on is exactly what you expressed: the feeling that you have nowhere else to go.

If your vote is not something that is at stake for them, they never will have to deliver. They've got your vote- for free!

(In the same way, Republicans take fiscally conservative voters for granted. Etc. The dynamic is present for many constituent groups across the spectrum.)

Nick: You said a mouthful...

Arguing that states should decide the issue of gay marriage, in a year when 11 states all successfully passed anti-marriage amendments, is pretty much the same damn thing as saying you don’t support gay marriage.

Bill Perdue | January 16, 2008 1:22 AM

Lucrese, When you say "Furthermore, we're one of the most desperate constituencies...' do you mean that we're the most actively oppressed? I would agree with that but not with the idea what we’re simply victims who can do nothing to oppose our tormenters.

When you say "The Democrats know that we hunger for legal equality like no other demographic does, allowing them to exploit the GOP's foolish platform to get our votes. They don't need to do much as a result..." you're exactly right.

But when you say "Finally, we also have to come to the realization that we're not that significant a sector of the population as we'd like to believe. We are at the mercy of obtaining heterosexual sympathy to get anything accomplished, which poses another whole host of challenges" you're totally wrong. Struggle, not matter the odds, is a time honored American tradition. Groveling is not.

History is the study of tyranny and its consequences. No one ever won anything by appealing to the sympathies of their oppressors and neither will we. Since the Civil War, and long before we had an identity we’ve fought to define ourselves and protect ourselves.

We’ve never more successful than now. Our achievements are due entirely to audacity, determination and a healthy hatred of the bigots. If the Mattachines, the Daughters of Bilitus, Gittings and Kameny, and the Stonewall generation had put themselves at “the mercy of obtaining heterosexual sympathy” we’d still be up shit creek without a paddle. Fortunately they fought. Now we stand on their shoulders just as they stood on the shoulders of Franklin, Paine, Douglass and Mother Jones.

What we and they have in common is the historical inevitability of fighting irrespective of the odds. We have no choice but building mass movements and acquiring allies until the day comes when we can tell our tormenters to go to hell and maybe provide a little nudge in that direction.

Bill, yes, I meant we're the most actively oppressed.

As for the other aspect of my argument, you can call it whatever you want, it is still groveling. We want respect from other Americans, and we specifically want such respect represented in the Constitution.

If you look at the improving climate, you'll see that people have started to be more accepting on the basis that they've realized that we're "not so different". Marriage, hate crime protections and anti-discrimination legislative attempts shared with other minorities being set as goals for the movement shows that we want to be treated equally. These are all arguments that appeal to majorities, for our legislative system functions on majority rule.

Yes, we struggle, but those struggles mean nothing until we gain social approval. We have gained ground by appealing to similarities. As undignified as it may seem, we rely on appeasing the majority in order to achieve meaningful feats. The only exceptions to these rules have been the courts, and even then the current judiciary system has been taking a shift to a more public- influenced and scrutinized realm, sadly.