Sen. Obama’s LGBT Steering Team led a phone call yesterday to highlight the differences between Senators Obama and McCain when it comes to anti-LGBT hate-crimes. Pointing to statistics from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs that show a 24% increase in anti-LGBT hate-crimes since 2006, the Obama campaign expressed the urgent need for hate-crime legislation, and reiterated Obama’s consistent support of such laws.
Specifically, they pointed to Obama’s attempts to end debate in the Senate and push the Mathew Shephard Act forward last fall – noting that McCain was the only Senator not present for the vote (the bill was ultimately vetoed by President Bush). Obama has pledged to place the full weight of his administration behind passing the bill, and the Democratic Platform states the party’s commitment to seeing the bill passed. The Obama campaign also pointed out that McCain voted against adding sexual orientation into federal hate-crime laws in both 2000 and 2002.
The issue of hate-crime legislation is an important one for voters, with polling showing that 68% of Americans support including protections based on sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity in hate-crime laws. While this story has been picked up by LGBT outlet The Advocate, we encourage mainstream media sources to give more attention to what the candidates are saying—or not saying—about the protections and opportunities they will offer to Americans if elected this fall.
Cindi Creager is Director of National Media.