Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obama Picks Up LGBT Supporters From Edwards

The Advocate is reporting that a significant number of John Edwards’ LGBT supporters within his campaign apparatus are now joining the Obama campaign in the wake of Edwards' withrawal from the race. Personally, I have to agree with them that Obama’s position on DOMA is the best of the remaining two Democrat candidates. In my view, a legal marriage in one state must be recognized in all the other states just as is the case with all heterosexual marriages. Here are highlights from the Advocate’s coverage (

A critical mass of John Edwards’s LGBT steering committee is going public with support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Twenty-two members of the Edwards campaign’s original 59-person gay and lesbian committee will now be working for Obama victories next Tuesday and throughout the rest of the primary season. The new Obama converts include Eric Stern, who headed up Edwards’s LGBT steering committee, and longtime gay activist David Mixner, who famously campaigned for Bill Clinton in 1992, holding some of the first gay fund-raisers for a U.S. presidential candidate. Of the remaining 37 former steering committee members, Stern said another eight were leaning Obama, three were fully committed to Clinton, and others remained undecided or had not contacted him.

Stern admitted that he had already been moving toward supporting Obama, mainly because, like Edwards, Obama has refused to take money from special interest groups. He also feels that Obama has the “purest position” of the any of the three candidates in supporting full repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act since 2004. Clinton supports repealing only the part of DOMA that prohibits the federal government from recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages, leaving in place the portion that allows states to ignore legal unions performed in other states.

After meeting with both Obama’s and Clinton’s LGBT leaders, “it became clear to me personally that our committee had a vision for the role of the LGBT community that was similar to the role that LGBT supporters were already playing in the Obama campaign,” said Stern. “It is a pure grassroots, activist-oriented operation,” he added, noting that the 22 committee members will now be taking part in Obama’s field operations as well as the policy and press departments. “Thus far, it's clear that we will play a similar role in the Obama campaign.”

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