Last night, before a national audience, six Democratic presidential candidates participated in a forum that was televised on Logo. It wasn’t a debate; the candidates were on the stage individually being questioned by a panel. They weren’t asked the same questions though there was a fair amount of overlap.
Two Democratic candidates didn’t participate because of scheduling conflicts.
Not one Republican candidate accepted the invitation to participate.
I don’t think this could have happened eight years ago. Not many candidates were willing to be seen as too friendly to LGBT issues and most of them tap danced around the issues. This year there were six on stage at a national gay event and at least one of the Democratic candidates who couldn’t participate is also on record as being very supportive (Senator Biden).
I came in expecting this to be a mostly content free show with softball questions lobbed up to candidates but it wasn’t. They asked good questions and mostly got real answers (by real I mean they didn’t sidestep the question and answer a different question).
Let’s start with the worst of the bunch from my perspective. Bill Richardson looked uncomfortable and floundered a bit. He seemed ill prepared and didn’t impress me. Even so, he’s generally a supportive politician. And he was the worst of the bunch.
Clinton and Obama both are strong supporters of the LGBT rights and really only miss on the marriage issue (both support civil unions). They are willing to settle for civil unions and their answers were a little too politically calculated for my taste.
Edwards is similar except he’s honest about not support marriage. He does support civil unions. I respected his honesty.
Kucinich isn’t as polished as the above candidates but he’s there 100%. He supports marriage rights. Same for Gravel, even though he hasn’t been active in politics for 26 years.
Speaking solely on LGBT issues, I’d rate them in this order:
1. Kucinich, Gravel
3. Clinton, Obama
Except for marriage, there isn’t a huge difference though Richardson didn’t come off as being strongly supportive while the others did. Frankly, any of the would be a thousand percent improvement over the current resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.