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Thursday, April 10

Obama and gays

There's been a lot of flak in the US gay media about how Barack Obama isn't giving them interviews.

In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia gay paper ran a blank spot on its front page because they got a Hillary interview but not a Barack one.

Obama gives an interview, published today, for national gay magazine The Advocate in which he explains what he's doing:

I don’t think it’s fair to say silence on gay issues. The gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love. But basically, all press feels that way at all times. Obviously, when you’ve got limited amount of time, you’ve got so many outlets. We tend not to do a whole bunch of specialized press. We try to do general press for a general readership.

But I haven’t been silent on gay issues. What’s happened is, I speak oftentimes to gay issues to a public general audience. When I spoke at Ebenezer Church for King Day, I talked about the need to get over the homophobia in the African-American community, when I deliver my stump speeches routinely I talk about the way that antigay sentiment is used to divide the country and distract us from issues that we need to be working on, and I include gay constituencies as people that should be treated with full honor and respect as part of the American family.

So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history. What I probably haven’t done as much as the press would like is to put out as many specialized interviews. But that has more to do with our focus on general press than it does on … I promise you the African-American press says the same thing.

I guess my point would be that the fact that I’m raising issues accordant to the LGBT community in a general audience rather than just treating you like a special interest that is sort of off in its own little box – that, I think, is more indicative of my commitment.
This is correct, I've heard that in several stump speeches. I haven't heard that from Hillary.

And maybe it's because of the example of the much defamed Rev. Wright. His Chicago church has a long record of supporting gay people - including establishing a 'singles club' - and doing HIV outreach, it has many gay parishioners and Wright himself has stood up for gay people consistently.

Obama said:
Ironically, my biggest … the biggest political news surrounding me over the last three weeks has been Reverend Wright, who offended a whole huge constituency with some of his statements but has been very good on gay and lesbian issues.


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