LGBT Issues Examined from All Sides

August 15, 2008

There are several interesting stories coming out of the blogosphere this week looking at the extent of influence LGBT related issues will have on voters this fall. Barney Frank and Karl Rove both commented on changing public opinion of LGBT-related electoral issues, and surprisingly, their opinions are fairly in line with each other.

Frank reacted to the primary win of Congressional candidate Jared Polis, an openly gay man in Colorado, saying it showed that amongst Democratic voters, sexual orientation was not a factor in picking a candidate. Rove expressed his belief that marriage for gay and lesbian couples won’t carry the same kind of weight politically as it did in the 2004 elections.

Rove’s commentary is especially noteworthy in the context of the marriage bans that are on the ballot in California, Arizona and Florida this year. In 2004, anti-gay ballot initiatives were viewed as a possible way to draw right wing voters to the polls, and Rove was credited with pushing that strategy. Now, he admits it’s not a draw for voters, saying that more pressing issues like the economy and healthcare are the central issues.

Despite this progress, in an interview with the Weekly Standard, Sen. John McCain discussed possible vice-presidential running mates, and ruled out New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg because of his support for the LGBT community. The blog picked up on this illuminating new piece of information about McCain’s stance on gay and lesbian rights (not to mention previous anti-gay statements about McCain) but it has not received any mainstream press coverage.

The political importance of issues facing the LGBT community is drawing commentary from leaders in both major parties. Hopefully we will see coverage gain more visibility in major media sources as we head deeper into election season.

Cindi Creager is Director of National News.