Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-05-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

EXCLUSIVE: Obama talks, McCain balks
News Update Wed., Sept. 17, 2008
by Mark Segal, Gay History Project
2008-09-17

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In an exclusive interview conducted Sept. 16, Obama spoke about his personal security, going to a commitment ceremony, no short cuts for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell, and the possibility of court action on the Defense of Marriage Act. as well as speaking with world leaders regarding human rights.

In this election season, the Gay History Project attempted to bring you the views of both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president —just as we attempted to bring you the views of the top two candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination for the spring primary. The format for both candidates was to be the same: the same questions, with no follow-up questions and the same time limit. And since April, we have repeatedly reached out to Republican Sen. John McCain's press representative Jill Hazelbaker by phone, letter and e-mail.

Once it became clear that McCain would not participate, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign put no conditions on the interview. Obama spoke to Mark Segal by phone Sept. 16; an audio version of the interview will be posted at www.epgn.com . In his first interview with the gay press since he officially took the Democratic nomination, here's what Obama had to say.

Mark Segal: You are the most LGBT-friendly candidate running for president in history. Are you concerned that John McCain and the Republicans might use this as a divisive issue as they did in 2004?

Barack Obama: No. I think they can try, but I don't think it will work for a couple of reasons. Number one, I think that the American peoples' attitudes with respect to LGBT issues are continuing to evolve. I think people are becoming more and more aware of the need to treat all people equally regardless of sexual orientation. There are some people who disagree with that, but frankly those folks—many of them—probably have already made their minds up about this election earlier.

Segal: You've talked about your many gay friends. Would you and Michelle be comfortable attending their commitment ceremonies?

Obama: We would. But I'll be honest with you that, these days, I can't go anywhere.

Segal: The current President Bush has used signing orders to change military rules and regulations. If White House counsel advised you that you could end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' by attaching a signing order to a military appropriations bill, would you?

Obama: I would not do it that way. The reason is because I want to make sure that when we reverse 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' it's gone through a process and we've built a consensus or, at least, a clarity of that—of what my expectations are—so that it works. My first obligation as the president is to make sure that I keep the American people safe and that our military is functioning effectively. Although I have consistently said I would repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be. That's how we were able to integrate the armed services to get women more actively involved in the armed services. At some point, you got to make a decision that that's the right thing to do, but you always want to make sure that you are doing it in a way that maintains our core mission in our military.

Segal: Many lawyers contend that the Defense of Marriage Act [ DOMA ] passed by Congress is unconstitutional. It takes away over 1,100 rights, including IRS joint filings. If a suit is filed in federal court, would you expect or instruct your attorney general to join in that suit with an amicus brief questioning its legality?

Obama: I would want to review carefully any lawsuit that was filed. This is probably my carryover from being a constitutional lawyer. Here's where I can tell you [ what ] my principle is: DOMA was an unnecessary encroachment by the federal government in an area traditionally reserved for the state. I think that it was primarily sent as a message to score political points instead of work through these difficult issues. I recognize why it was done. I'm sympathetic to the political pressures involved, but I think that we need to bring it to a close, and my preference would be to work through a legislative solution. I would also point out that if it's going before this court, I'm not sure what chances it would have to be overturned. I think we're going to have to take a different approach, but I am absolutely committed to the concept it is not necessary.

Segal: In last year's [ Gay ] History Project, Elaine Noble, who was one of the first elected [ gay ] officials in the country, referring to her discussions with Harvey Milk, said 'I think we both knew that one of us was going to die.' Milk, of course, was killed. As the first African-American president, have you and Michelle discussed this?

Obama: We don't spend time worrying about security issues. We have Secret Service protection, which is the best in the world. Obviously we take precautions and listen to them, but what I spend the day thinking about is how do I get my message out that we need to change this country to make it more just and more fair, to make sure the economy is growing on behalf of middle-class Americans, make sure kids can go to college and bringing this war in Iraq to an end. That's what I spend my time thinking about.

Segal: In the wake of the torture murder of Matthew Shepard [ in 1998 ] , Sen. McCain voted against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes and says he'll vote against it again. Isn't this inconsistent for a man who knows torture?

Obama: You'll have to ask Sen. McCain that. Here's what I can say: There is no doubt that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are all too prevalent. It is something that we have to hit back hard against and identify these vicious crimes for what they are: hate crimes. This is something that I believe in and will continue to believe in when I am president.

Segal: President Reagan, President Bush and President Clinton, when meeting world leaders, have raised human-rights questions. Amnesty International has documented countries that imprison, torture and kill gay men, some of which are very close U.S. allies. Would you be willing to raise that question when meeting with those leaders?

Obama: I think that the treatment of gays, lesbians and transgender persons is part of this broader human-rights discussion. I think it is not acceptable that we would in any way carve out exceptions for our broader human-rights advocacy to exclude violations of human rights based on sexual orientation. I think that has to be part and parcel of any conversations we have about human rights.

Mark Segal is publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Trans United Fund issues questionnaires to prez candidates 2016-05-23
Illinois state GOP: Marriage is still one-man, one-woman 2016-05-23
GOP strips U.S. defense bill of LGBT protections 2016-05-22
Ald. Moreno unveils plans for LGBT-friendly affordable housing project 2016-05-22
Austin Baidas named to Obama Administration post 2016-05-21
Eric Fanning, a gay man, confirmed as the 22nd Secretary of the U.S. Army 2016-05-17
Statement by Obama on the Int. Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2016-05-17
Lottery extension goes to House Rules Committee 2016-05-15
Anti-gay organization among Gov. Rauner breakfast hosts 2016-05-15
Clinton meets with HIV/AIDS activists 2016-05-15
HHS confirms ban on healthcare and insurance bias against LGBT People 2016-05-13
Trump's 'States' Rights' Policy Assertion on Trans Students Dangerous, Reckless 2016-05-12
Obama's Education Dept. Affirms the Rights of Transgender Students 2016-05-12
White House Appoints Force's Barbara Satin to Advisory Council on Faith-based Partnerships 2016-05-12
Dueling lawsuits filed over N.C. law 2016-05-11
American LGBT Leaders Travel to Havana for Cuban LGBT Pride Events 2016-05-11
Talking with prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba 2016-05-11
National: Hillary's support, Bernie's withdrawal, Black college and LGBTQs 2016-05-10
World news: HIV organ transplant, LGBT politicians elected, trans birth 2016-05-10
Duncan addresses City College graduates 2016-05-10
GLAD settles with Catholic HS that committed discrimination in firing gay man 2016-05-10
U.S. DOJ sets lawsuit against North Carolina Gov. McCrory 2016-05-09
Groups Respond to Gov. McCrory's Lawsuit 2016-05-09
HRC Hails Suspension of Ala. Sup Court Chief Justice Roy Moore 2016-05-08
Gov. McCrory forces HB2 in 9 hrs, wants more time from DOJ 2016-05-08
President Obama delivers Howard University commencement 2016-05-07
LGBT Ethiopian Jews speak on their lives in Israel 2016-05-04
BREAKING: U.S. Justice Dept. Says HB2 Violates Federal Law, Gives Gov. McCrory Monday Deadline 2016-05-04
BREAKING: Oxford Ala. Council Retreats, Votes to Repeal Shameful Anti-Trans Ord. 2016-05-04
AFC joins lawsuit against Rauner and state agencies for breach of contract 2016-05-04
Black Lives Matter co-creator talks about movement, protests 2016-05-04
IKEA, AIG Join 200+ Business Leaders Against HB 2 2016-05-03
At Gayby Baby screening, focus on LGBTQ families 2016-05-01
Panel discusses intersection of reproductive and LGBT rights 2016-04-30
PAW: House Amendment Threatens LGBTQ Protections for Federal Contractors 2016-04-30
Dept. of Ed Publishes Names of Schools Receiving Right To Discriminate Against LGBTs 2016-04-29
Poll: 69% of Chicagoans Oppose Proposal to Restrict Ridesharing 2016-04-29
Missouri House Committee Votes Down Radical Anti-LGBT SJR 39 2016-04-28
Pride at Work: Malaysian Raid of Trans Fundraiser Underscores Bad Trade Deal 2016-04-28
Haslam signs anti-gay therapy measure 2016-04-28
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.