The Brody File is always searching around trying to give you information on this presidential race Recently, Barack Obama submitted answers to The Washington Blade, a gay magazine. You can view all of the answers here. I have listed a few of them below:
Washington Blade: What personal experiences or friendships in your life have shaped how you view gay issues?
Barack Obama: Michelle and I have been blessed with many openly gay and lesbian friends and colleagues whom we have been close to for many years. While that fact has made the issue facing the LGBT community more personal, the fundamental reasons I have for supporting equality are greater than any individual. I am running for President because I believe that we as a nation need change. We need to end the divisive politics of George W. Bush and pursue policies that treat all of us, regardless of identity or background, with dignity, equality and respect.
Blade: Do you have any role models who are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?
Obama: A college professor of mine helped me to see the lives of LGBT people from a different perspective. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. His comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues.
Blade: Would you decline to nominate a qualified Supreme Court justice, cabinet member or other appointed position just because the person is openly gay?
Obama: No. If elected, my appointments will be made on the actual qualifications of the candidates for office, and nothing else. In my administration, my first criteria will be competence and capability.
Blade: Would you decline to nominate a qualified Supreme Court justice or cabinet member who had a history of anti-gay rulings?
Obama: I would have to consider the totality of the candidate’s record and qualifications. However, I think someone who has an established record of failing to support equal opportunities for all Americans would not fare well in an Obama-Biden administration.
Blade: Would you resume the practice started by President Clinton but discontinued by President Bush of creating a high-level White House staff position serving as liaison to the GLBT community?
Obama: I will make sure the voices of LGBT people are heard in the White House and I thought it was wrong that the Bush White House eliminated this position.
Blade: Important gay rights legislation unrelated to marriage has been stalled in Congress for quite some time. The gay community has high expectations for an Obama administration. What are reasonable expectations for a first-term Obama administration: How aggressively would you push for Congress to pass ENDA, the hate crimes bill, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and other gay-related bills in your first year in office, and would you mention those bills in your State of the Union address?
Obama: These bills are all important priorities for me. Senator Biden and I have long committed ourselves to supporting fundamental civil rights for all. In addition to the issues you mentioned, I also support full repeal of DOMA to provide equal federal rights and benefits to LGBT couples. America must live up to our founding principle of equality for all, and it’s wrong to have millions of LGBT Americans living as second‐class citizens in this nation.I support these efforts because I know that equality is a moral imperative. Back when I was in the Illinois Senate, I co‐sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. The non-discrimination bill has become law in Illinois. If I am honored to serve as your President, I will continue to do what I’ve done throughout my career and in this campaign: speak out on behalf of the cause for equal justice and opportunity for LGBT Americans.
Blade: What is your advice to gay rights activists as to what they should pursue and realistically expect to pass in 2009 with regard to the issues listed above?
Obama: A large part of what I can do for LGBT Americans depends on what actions Congress takes. That is why we need greater Democratic majorities in both chambers. I can say that if elected, I will work with the leaders in Congress to enact legislation that will better protect the rights of LGBT Americans. I know ENDA has been stalled in Congress for many years, and I will work to pass a fully inclusive version of it as President.
Blade: You have called for the full repeal of DOMA. If elected president, will you introduce legislation calling for its repeal during your first year in office?
Obama: I have long been on record opposing DOMA, and an Obama-Biden administration will work hard to ensure that we can pass a repeal of that law as soon as possible.
Blade: Do you think repeal of all of DOMA would, in fact, prompt Congress to strongly consider and possibly pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage?
Obama: Again, I think this issue ties in to who controls Congress. And a Democratic Congress that enacts a repeal of DOMA would not be likely to pass a Constitutional ban on gay marriage — partly because our party rejects enshrining discrimination and divisive distinctions among citizens into our founding documents.
Blade: If DOMA is repealed fully or in part, the federal government most likely still could not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships performed by states. Would you ask Congress to pass federal enabling legislation that would require the federal government to recognize civil unions and/or domestic partnerships performed by states so that same-sex couples joined in civil unions or domestic partnerships could obtain the same federal rights and benefits of marriage that you have called for?
Obama: I support the notion that all people — gay or straight — deserve the same rights and responsibilities to assist their loved ones in times of emergency, deserve equal health insurance and other employment benefits currently extended to heterosexual married couples, and deserve the same property rights as anyone else. If elected, I would call on Congress to enact legislation that would repeal DOMA and ensure that the over 1,100 federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally recognized unions.
Bottom line: there are major differences between Obama and McCain when it comes to gay rights legislation. However, the Log Cabin Republicans ( a gay rights group) did endorse McCain. Read more here.