One look at the diverse array of presidential political postings here at Bilerico, and it becomes clear that, on this 'Super' Tuesday, our own community is as torn between candidates as the electorate in general. And while I’ve been proud to weigh in on behalf of the candidate I (enthusiastically) support, I’ve been equally inspired by the endorsements offered up on behalf of the other candidates seeking that most exclusive office space on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown D.C.
Last night, following on the heels of her statement to LGBT voters, Senator Clinton also fielded a question at her national town hall meeting about what she was do to secure the idea of “liberty” for America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Her strong pledge of support comes on the heels of a truly ground-breaking moment several weeks ago, when Senator Barack Obama included LGBT Americans – and called out homophobes – in a Martin Luther King Day speech before Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. So it’s no wonder that this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle reports that, among gay Democrats, our votes are split . . . but our hopes remain the same.
In this morning’s Chronicle, writer Rachel Gordon notes that, “Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic U.S. senators locked in a tight race for their party's presidential nomination, appear to have split support among gay and lesbian voters, with neither candidate yet to emerge as the clear frontrunner.
“Both campaigns have outreach efforts focused on the gay and lesbian community, which has proved potent when it comes to fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts for Democratic candidates,” Gordon reports.
LGBT Democrats, like Democrats at large, are divided among the two Senators. And, as Gordon notes, the concerns of gay Americans largely mirror the concerns of every constituency.
“Betha Stepnitz, a 21-year-old lesbian, said same-sex marriage isn't what's going to sway her in the voting booth,” the Chronicle reports.
“It doesn't matter if we can get married or not if we're going to blow ourselves off the Earth,” she said. “There are bigger issues.” Lilke, she says, experience, leadership and a candidate's ability to bring people together.
She knows she'll vote for a Democrat, but as of Monday she didn't know which one - a position in which a lot of Democrats found themselves, Gordon writes.
Indeed, the shadow of marriage, which Republicans used as a ‘divide and conquer’ technique in 2004, doesn’t seem to be casting a dark cloud over two candidates who don’t support marriage for same-sex couples. And some gay voters seem to understand – if even reluctantly – why the two front-runners (Gravel, after all, is still in the race!) aren’t quite there yet on the issue. “If I were a politician, I'd be mum on that, too,” Marcellus Woodward, a gay bartender, told the Chronicle. “The country's not ready, and it only could be harmful in a campaign.”
And while we can disagree on the role marriage should play in the election (after all, most people would have argued the nation wasn’t ‘ready’ for interracial marriage when Loving v. Virginia was decided, either), it’s heartening to see two candidates aggressively courting our votes, talking to our community and inspiring us to action.
This Tuesday, our vote may be divided but our hopes are all the same . . . and that’s super (which sounds a little bit gay) indeed.