Kerry-Edwards Ticket - The Most Gay-Supportive in American History

Fri. July 9, 2004 12:00 AM

Washington, D.C. - John Kerry's pick for this running mate, North Carolina senator and former presidential hopeful John Edwards, has a record of strong support for key issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute.

The Task Force analyzed Sen. Edwards' positions on 13 key issues important to LGBT people and found that he was supportive in nine categories, his positions were unclear in three others. However, while Edwards is against a Federal Marriage Amendment, he does not support extending equal marriage rights to same sex couples.

"John Kerry and John Edwards make up the most gay-supportive national ticket in American history." said Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "But, in order for them to win the enthusiastic support of the gay community, a critical part of their base, they will have to take a strong and bold stand on supporting our civil rights."

Foreman continued, "We call upon Sen. Edwards to use his strong southern and populist roots and speak out against the ugly, divisive and anti-gay campaigns being waged all across the country in the guise of "protecting" marriage. We need him to call these tactics what they are - partisan, debasing, and profoundly un-American."

The Task Force said Sen. Edwards supported non-discrimination protections for gay people, inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crime statutes, ending the ban on gay citizens serving in the military, and supports domestic partnership benefits. The analysis was based on voting records, public statements, and policy platforms*.

With the presidential contenders locked in a statistical dead heat, both sides are trying to energize their bases of support. For the Democrats, the gay community is a key ingredient to victory. According to exit polls**, the gay, lesbian, and bisexual vote comprises at least 5% of the general election vote and traditionally votes heavily (70%+) democratic. Only the African American and Jewish communities vote more solidly Democratic.

*For more detailed information, please see Potential 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential Running Mates, by Task Force policy analyst Alain Dang, available on our website at .

**Exit pollsters have thus far not asked a transgender exit poll question, therefore the Task Force can make no comment on the size or outcome of the transgender vote.

Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is the oldest national organization working to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at the local, state and national level. The Task Force trains activists and leaders and organizes broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation. The Task Force Policy Institute, the community's premiere think tank, researches and reports on critical policy issues. As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, the Task Force is creating a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society.