Media Examine Democratic Convention and Republican Platform

August 28, 2008
With the Democratic Convention underway in Denver, and the Republican Platform being drafted in preparation for their convention starting September 1 in Minneapolis, media outlets are addressing how LGBT issues are fitting into the big political picture. At the Democratic Convention, leaders are weighing in on LGBT issues, while gay Republican advocates are speaking out in the media about their party’s platform. The other night, Sen. Ted Kennedy, in his surprise opening night address in Denver, said that Obama would “close the book on the old politics of race and gender, and group against group, and straight against gay,” while last night Sen. Hillary Clinton said in her speech that she ran for President to “fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization [...]” Though both speeches have been widely broadcast and picked up in mainstream media outlets, other conversations about LGBT issues have mostly garnered traction only in LGBT media outlets and blogs. DNC Secretary Alice Germond highlighted the importance of LGBT Democrats in her remarks, and openly gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin continues to talk about the historic measures for equality present in the party platform she helped draft. And yesterday, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance and speech at the Human Rights Campaign/The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund luncheon for LGBT delegates hosted by Rep. Barney Frank (more on that on Towleroad and Pam’s House Blend). Rep. Frank has been speaking with LGBT media outlets, including, about what changes LGBT voters can expect from Democrats this year. Frank said that if Democrats pick up 15 seats in the House, they could pass a transgender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Frank also talked about Americans attitudes around marriage, saying he believes that “we are moving towards a majority in favor of same-sex marriage.” More interviews with Rep. Frank can be found in The Boston Herald and again on Towleroad. Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans have spoken out amid their party’s development of its platform, which is expected to include a recommendation for a constitutional ban on gay marriage (check out The Associated Press for more coverage). Scott Tucker, of the Log Cabin Republicans, commented on the platform and his group’s acceptance of its limited appeals to LGBT voters, saying that this year they are “more interested in substance over symbolism” and that despite the platform, they believe McCain to be an “inclusive candidate who understands that our party needs to reach out to all Americans to win this election.” In the coming weeks we’ll continue to examine how the issues are being discussed both in mainstream and LGBT media during the Democratic National Convention and in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention next week.