Hil­lary Clin­ton makes LGBT splash in pres­i­den­tial bid

Repub­li­cans strug­gle with how to deal with gay equal­ity

GA Voice - - National News - By LISA KEEN

The 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is shap­ing up to be a par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing and mean­ing­ful one for LGBT peo­ple. Here are just a few rea­sons why:

The cam­paign manager for Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, who on April 12 an­nounced her in­tent to run, is an openly gay man, and her YouTube video cam­paign an­nounce­ment promi­nently fea­tures gay cit­i­zens.

The an­nounced and ex­pected Repub­li­can can­di­dates for pres­i­dent are ei­ther against equal rights for LGBT peo­ple or are strug­gling to find a com­fort­able po­si­tion that sat­is­fies the more con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers while sup­port­ing the ma­jor­ity gen­eral public’s be­lief that the law should treat gay peo­ple fairly.

The le­gal­ity of state bans on mar­riage for same-sex cou­ples will be a ma­jor news story dur­ing th­ese first few months of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, at least un­til the Supreme Court of the United States rules on the mat­ter in June.

The clash be­tween re­li­gious be­liefs and anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws has reached a new apex in the public’s at­ten­tion, with the pas­sage, in some states, of leg­is­la­tion seek­ing to en­able peo­ple to dis­crim­i­nate against LGBT peo­ple.

But the Clin­ton cam­paign is clearly the fo­cus of the most at­ten­tion right now. Her video in­cludes a gay male cou­ple walk­ing down a street hand in hand while one part­ner ex­plains that the men plan to marry this sum­mer. They are among more than a dozen dif­fer­ent peo­ple talk­ing about get­ting ready for a new phase in life—a new job, a new school, a new busi­ness.

“I’m get­ting ready for some­thing, too,” Clin­ton says in the video.

At a later point in the video, just af­ter Clin­ton says, “When fam­i­lies are strong, Amer­ica is strong,” the video shows two women snuggling on a couch.

Clin­ton and her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, have al­ways en­joyed strong sup­port from the LGBT com­mu­nity, but this time around, Hil­lary Clin­ton has an openly gay man as her cam­paign manager.

Thirty-five-year-old Robby Mook is a for­mer head of the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and served as cam­paign manager for Demo­crat Terry McAuliffe’s gu­ber­na­to­rial victory in Vir­ginia in 2013. He worked on the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns of Hil­lary Clin­ton in 2008 and Howard Dean in 2004.

Log Cabin Repub­li­cans, a na­tional gay Repub­li­can group, is­sued an email Sun­day, say­ing the “gay left may be will­ing to make as­sump­tions about Mrs. Clin­ton’s sup­port for the LGBT com­mu­nity, but Log Cabin Repub­li­cans will not.”

The email posed nine ques­tions for Clin­ton to an­swer, in­clud­ing “did Mrs. Clin­ton sup­port the orig­i­nal Re­li­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act signed into law by her hus­band while she was First Lady upon which this new crop of RFRA leg­is­la­tion is based?” The ques­tion was a ref­er­ence to re­cent and con­tro­ver­sial leg­is­la­tion passed in In­di­ana and other states that would en­able cit­i­zens and busi­nesses to claim their re­li­gious be­liefs re­quire them to dis­crim­i­nate against LGBT peo­ple.

Gre­gory An­gelo, Log Cabin’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, said his group would ex­pect an­swers from Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, too.

Three Repub­li­can U.S. sen­a­tors have for­mally an­nounced their cam­paigns for pres­i­dent: Ted Cruz of Texas on March 23, Rand Paul of Ken­tucky on April 7, and, most re­cently, Marco Ru­bio of Florida on April 13.

Ear­lier this year, Cruz in­tro­duced a bill to block fed­eral benefits to same-sex cou­ples in states that refuse to rec­og­nize or li­cense their mar­riages in an at­tempt to re­verse gains made by the mar­riage equal­ity move­ment af­ter the Supreme Court of the United States struck down in 2013 a key pro­vi­sion of the De­fense of Mar­riage Act.

Paul and Ru­bio have both tried to walk a tricky line be­tween pro “tra­di­tional mar­riage” but not against same-sex mar­riage.

Last July, Ru­bio told a Catholic Uni­ver­sity au­di­ence that “we have come a long way” since the days when gov­ern­ment banned gays from jobs, bars, and restau­rants, and he lamented that “many com­mit­ted gay and les­bian cou­ples feel hu­mil­i­ated by the law’s fail­ure to rec­og­nize their re­la­tion­ship as mar­riage.” But Ru­bio said he per­son­ally sup­ports the man-woman mar­riage tra­di­tion “not be­cause I seek to dis­crim­i­nate against peo­ple who love some­one of the same sex, but be­cause I be­lieve that the union of one man and one woman is a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship that has proven to be of great ben­e­fit to our so­ci­ety ... and there­fore de­serves to be el­e­vated in our laws.”

In an in­ter­view with CNN, Paul took a sim­i­lar po­si­tion.

“I think that there’s a re­li­gious con­no­ta­tion to mar­riage. I be­lieve in the tra­di­tional re­li­gious con­no­ta­tion to this. But I also be­lieve peo­ple should be treated fairly un­der the law,” Paul told CNN’s Dana Bash. “I see no rea­son why, if the mar­riage con­tract con­veys cer­tain things that, if you want to marry an­other woman, you can do that and have a con­tract. But the thing is the re­li­gious con­no­ta­tion of mar­riage that has been go­ing on for thou­sands of years—I still want to pre­serve that. You prob­a­bly could have both. You could have both tra­di­tional mar­riage, which I be­lieve in, and then you could also have the neu­tral­ity of the law that al­lows peo­ple to have con­tracts with an­other.”

DemocratD Hill Hil­lary Cli Clin­ton i is ex­pected d to b be the hD Demo­cratici nom­i­neei f for pres­i­den­tid i in 2016 while­hil a growingi li list of fR Repub­li­can can­di­dates so far in­cludes Ted Cruz, Marco Ru­bio and Rand Paul. (Of­fi­cial pho­tos)

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