Electing A Gay Supportive President Is Only The First Step
“John Selig Outspoken” Podcast
Episode 7 August 15, 2007
Finally, after 6 1/2 years of demonization by the
Bush/Cheney Administration there is a good chance of landing a LGBT
supportive president in the White House in less than 18 months. Despite
continuous hateful scapegoating by Republicans, polls continue to show
increased support for equal rights for LGBT Americans.
Who would have imagined ten years ago that the Democratic
Presidential contenders would agree to participate in a debate held on a
gay cable channel? Of course, there is strong motivation for
Democrats to court the gay vote. The majority of us vote Democratic and
we have a high voter turnout because we realize that obtaining advances
in our civil rights depends upon us voting each and every time there is
an election. I’m still stupefied that 25% of gays voted for George
W. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Why any gay person would
vote for somebody that does everything in their power to deny us rights
is beyond me. Still, the reality of gaining support from the LGBT voting
block that has predictably large turnouts is well worth courting.
All the Democratic Presidential candidates that appeared at the
HRC/LOGO Presidential Forum on GLBT Issues held on August 9th
voiced strong support for gay issues and each promised to fight for
advances in our civil rights.
The Republican presidential candidate that emerges will be in a
weakened position after the conventions next summer, as they will have
to appeal to their base, which is made up of fundamentalist Christians.
Fortunately, moderate Republican, Democrat and Independent voters
continue to grow more alienated by religious fundamentalists. Gay
baiting used successfully as part of both the 2000 and 2004 presidential
elections seems to have lost its effectiveness as evidenced by the
romping of Republican candidates in the 2006 midterm Congressional
If the Democrats are able to regain the White House and increase
their majority in both the House and Senate in the 2008 election, gays
stand a chance to reverse setbacks suffered under eight years of
Bush/Cheney. We must all work vigilantly during the 2008 campaign
to make sure that as many conservative antigay candidates are
defeated as possible.
Is it fair to assume that a supportive Democrat in the White House
and a Congress under stronger Democratic control will solve most of our
problems soon after January 2009? Don’t dare fall for that
line of thought! What makes you think that advancement for the gay
community will be a high priority? Remember the old adage that
“the squeaky wheel gets the grease!” When the new
administration takes office our work will have just begun.
Think back Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential run. Remember his
promise to totally remove the ban on gays serving in the Military?
Gays donated tons of money and even more hours to elect Bill Clinton
President of The United States of America on Election Day in 1992.
Once Bill Clinton got into office, the gay community let down our
guard and assumed the battle was won and President Bill Clinton would
deliver on his promise to lift the ban.
Just a few months after Clinton took office, I arrived in Washington
D.C. a few days early for the April 1993 March on Washington For Gay,
Lesbian and Bisexual Rights. I participated in the Day of Lobbying set
up on Capital Hill by the Human Rights Campaign. I was part of a large
group of Texans who met with a top aid for then Texas Senator Bob
Kruger. When Bill Clinton became President he appointed Senator Lloyd
Bentsen from Texas to be his Treasury Secretary so Kruger was appointed
to take his place until a special election could be held to fill the
remainder of his Senatorial term. Kruger’s aid invited us into
Kruger’s office and spoke frankly with us about why the ban
Our fight to get the banning of gays being allowed service in the
armed service removed was derailed because the religious right out
organized us and flooded Capitol Hill with a record number of telephone
calls to stop the ban from being lifted. Their calls were so numerous
that the telephone system on the Hill was brought to its knees.
Congressional staffers couldn’t get calls through to each other
and Kruger’s aid told us the calls ran overwhelmingly against
Our foes will never give up on working to keep us from gaining equal
rights regardless of which party is in power. Many of us were furious
about Bill Clinton caving on this issue and the resulting
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that has been an
unmitigated disaster. Still, our community must shoulder part of the
blame for this unfortunate turn of events for letting down our
So bask in the glory of the Democratic candidates for President and
Congress as they seek our votes and financial contributions in the 2008
campaign. But remember, electing supportive candidates is only the first
step. As Robert Moore, publisher of the Dallas Voice on a recent John
Selig Outspoken episode shared his memories of Texas Governor Ann
Richard’s admonishing attendees at a Dallas BlackTie Dinner
after the repeal of the Texas State Sodomy law in 2003. Richards
cautioned that gays shouldn’t rest and assume that the battle was
won as she shared similar false hopes of some people after the Roe V.
Wade decision years earlier by the U. S. Supreme Court and that battle
still rages on.
We must all remain vigilant and be prepared to dig in for a long hard
fight. We can win, but only if we have enough strength and fortitude to
not allow ourselves to become complacent.
“John Selig Outspoken” Episode 7 ››
© 2007 John R. Selig. All rights reserved.