Barack Obama | Donnie McClurkin | Election 2008 | News | South Carolina

Barack Obama Defends Gay Advocacy, Gospel Tour

Barack Obama spoke to The Advocate regarding his decision to include Rev. Donnie McClurkin on his three-day gospel tour of South Carolina, as well as his history of advocacy for the LGBT community. Here's an excerpt:

ObamaADVOCATE: I know you’re in a difficult position here trying to balance these two constituencies -- but by keeping McClurkin on the tour, didn't you essentially choose your Christian constituency over your gay constituency?

OBAMA: No, I profoundly disagree with that. This is not a situation where I have backed off my positions one iota. You’re talking to somebody who talked about gay Americans in his convention speech in 2004, who talked about them in his announcement speech for the president of the United States, who talks about gay Americans almost constantly in his stump speeches. If there’s somebody out there who’s been more consistent in including LGBT Americans in his or her vision of what America should be, then I would be interested in knowing who that person is. One of the things that always comes up in presidential campaigns is, if you’ve got multiple supporters all over the place, should the candidate then be held responsible for the every single view of every one of his supporters? And obviously that’s not possible. And if I start playing that game, then it will be very difficult for me to do what I think I can do best, which is bring the country together.

Read the full interview here.

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  1. I know, I've been beating this horse on several blogs for the last two days. Its that I really wanted Obama to pull it off, despite all the hype for Hill who I don't trust as far as I could throw her husband. I've been really let down by the presence of this guy who is on record telling people we want to kill children. So much so that I even now hope he doesn't get the nom. Just taking it hard, that's all.

    Posted by: Jersey | Oct 26, 2007 11:54:23 PM

  2. Pretty words, John, but it's not that black and white, no pun intended. For just as what Obama says about a professional homophobe differs with what he does about him, refusing to disinvite him from campaigning with him for three days, the more one digs the more his pretty words about DOMA seem to prove hollow for he seems to want to have it both ways in relation to allowing states to continue denying marriage equality.

    From an August 11, 2007, article at – emphasis mine:

    “...Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe...who taught Obama constitutional law at Harvard and appears in one of his presidential campaign ads, called ABC News AT THE REQUEST OF the Obama campaign.... OBAMA BELIEVES STATES SHOULD BE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES FROM OTHER STATES. He wants to fully repeal DOMA, however, because he views the statute as ‘ineffectual and REDUNDANT’, in the words of Tribe. OBAMA BELIEVES a long-recognized public policy exception to the constitution's full faith and credit clause EXEMPTS A STATE FROM HAVING TO RECOGNIZE A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE FROM ANOTHER STATE WHICH RUNS COUNTER TO ITS OWN PUBLIC POLICIES.
    ‘Marriage is not something that states have ever been obliged to recognize if it's been against their own public policy’, said Tribe.”

    If that’s still his position two months later, as someone else said in the ABC article, "Sen. Obama’s position ... seems to be inherently at war with itself because the purpose of [Section 2 of] the Defense of Marriage Act was to reaffirm the states’ ability to assert its individual public policy against the external imposition of another state’s determination."

    If STILL true two months later, his position is the SAME AS HILLARY’s regardless of what legal package it comes in. He’d dump DOMA but STILL support “state’s rights” abuses of gay equality. For instance, if a Texas gay couple returns from a visit to Massachusetts married and one of them dies without a will Texas could refuse to recognize his partner’s inheritance rights which they would automatically recognize between straight married couples. If still true two months later that makes his DOMA position in relation to state’s rights no more admirable or honest than his position on McClurkin. If still true, Obama is the new master of “smile fucking.”

    As for your apparent fantasy that he was “campaigning against [DOMA] when it was initially implemented in the 90s,” all that I could find was his assertion, as you quoted, that he opposed it—no mention of having flown to Washington and marching around the Capitol blowing a trumpet. There is also documentation of his response to a questionnaire when he was running for senator that he was against its repeal. Some choose to believe that was somehow unintentional; a staff member’s mistake. Two months later he was publicly saying he was for repeal. But, again, how much is that really worth when he would still support state-sanctioned homophobia?

    Until someone provides evidence that Edwards’ position on state’s rights in relation to marriage equality is the same as Obama's, or that he has invited someone equally vile to McClurkin to campaign with him, the evidence remains that Obama is his inferior on these issues, and that we now know to look very carefully behind Barack's Cheshire smiles.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 27, 2007 12:20:51 AM

  3. Why do these white gay blogs continue to go on and on about this. We get it, you're angry and you want all the gays to know not to vote for Obama and to vote for Clinton. You were not going to vote for him in the first place and now you have something to use to say this is the reason why.

    I just hope that all the people that say this country will never vote for a black man means that this country is just racist and not racist and sexist, other wise the Clinton fanatics will be disappointed come election night.

    Posted by: Mick | Oct 27, 2007 4:01:39 AM

  4. Leland.... What? State sanctioned homophobia? He has ALWAYS actively campainged against individual amendments in the various states banning gay marriage. If you are saying that he does support the concept of states being able to do what they want (Alabama AND Massachusetts) then I think you're right and I have never taken issue with you on that. Additionally, Obama has OUTSPOKENLY said that he supports a federal gay civil union which puts your bizarre Massachusetts/Texas arguments to bed.

    Further, you seem to insinuate that John Edwards has gone out on a limb and said that he supports banning states from banning gay marriage, in effect forcing them to recognize legal gay marriages from other states. Are you saying that Edwards would force Texas to recognize a Massachusetts marriage? (Clearly the President has no authority to do that but for sake of argument). If so, I will burn my Obama t-shirt today and put an Edwards bumper sticker on my car.... But, we all know the answer is an emphatic NO. John Edwards: "I don't personally support gay marriage myself. My position has always been that it's for the states to decide."

    Posted by: John | Oct 27, 2007 11:50:02 AM

  5. Mick, I think the Hilary fanatics are going to be sad on election night no matter what, its not as if she's going to win. They are so ticked off at oafish Obama as if he is already president, something else that isn't going to happen.

    Some need to save all this anger about him, his bad choice of this silly concert tour for the next president, who will be a Republican, as this country is too easily duped with voters who can't see the big picture, hence two terms of Bush.

    And, is HRC pro gay marriage? Or, just smooth enough not to answer it with truth? And, in the end, the President isn't the one who can make gay marriage a reality, or can he?

    Posted by: Sebastian | Oct 27, 2007 12:05:00 PM

  6. It's hard to believe people don't get that Obama is over. Most of the other candidates are nakedly juggling constituencies, too, but stunts this dumb have hiterto been the province of Republican candidates only. It's not his staff, it's him, and even the straightest politicos are going to wonder about trusting this guy with diplomacy.

    Posted by: BW | Oct 27, 2007 2:56:04 PM

  7. Rev. Sidden STAND with your LGBT community OUTSIDE this gospel Hate-Fest, at the candle light vigil.

    Posted by: underbear1 | Oct 27, 2007 5:03:31 PM

  8. I stand corrected, John, on what appears to be the same generic positions between all three Dem leads vis-a-vis "states rights." I also admit having made a mistake in not first consulting your menu at Chez Barack. Apparently you are serving "greased pig" at every meal. For each example provided of Obama having committed rhetorical murder, you display what a good student of his verbal shell games you are, sliding to and squealing new nonsense about what he allegedly means, what he's allegedly done. "OK, OK," you admit, "I was wrong to brag about his position on DOMA because he's contradicted himself on any meaning behind his supporting repeal of Section 2 of DOMA by saying the states can do whatever they want anyway," then claim [your emphasis], "He has ALWAYS actively campainged against individual amendments in the various states banning gay marriage." Forget explaining how long "always" is, just give me some examples of "actively campaigning" and identify which states. I’m convinced if I said, “I never disputed that he had a penis,” you’d respond, “And he’s hung like a horse and ALWAYS hard!”

    THESE FACTS REMAIN: there is NO evidence I’ve seen that today he is any better on gay issues than Clinton and Edwards. But the last few days have demonstrated that he is not as good as many, including myself, thought he was. It is not enough for him to don a kind of Professor Stumbledorf’s hat, to simply attribute the failure to vet McClurkin to staff error, as he did public gaffes involving former Clinton supporter David Geffen and a memo smearing her for investments in India. He is STILL defending the affirmation by elevation of homohatred through association with one of its Bible-waving standard bearers, and, despite being begged by supporters, Black and white, gay and straight, stubbornly refusing to distance himself from McClurkin who has said that gays are “trying to kill our children” as he quickly did from his controversial personal pastor because of positions he apparently deems more worthy. And, to inexcusable injury he adds arrogant insult to both the gay community and other candidates with equal and/or better records by falsely wrapping himself in the mantle of our Messiah. It may be some time before we know for certain why, but it was revealed yesterday that Bob Farmer, a gay former ambassador and legendary fundraiser for, among others, Bill Clinton’s and Kerry’s Presidential campaigns has resigned from Obama’s national finance committee and endorsed Hillary.

    John, you’re still free, of course, to “love” him as you confessed. Keep singing if you must, “Obama can you see me? Obama can you hear me? Obama can you heal me?”But spare us, please, as we would ask him, commentary that resembles the constantly switching parts of a Rubic’s cube in an effort to distract us from the facts as they really are, not as you wish to believe them.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Oct 27, 2007 5:28:44 PM

  9. Ah.... Leland your last response reveals you for what you are.... And I won't dare to go there...

    Before you judge "vile-spewing" you may want to refrain from it yourself.

    Posted by: John | Oct 27, 2007 7:37:41 PM

  10. I emailed Obama and outlined the errors of his ways with respect to this worthless holy roller gospel tour which is nothing more than a pandering mission to blacks. I also told him that he is wasting people's time and their money by continuing this campaign and therefore he should shutter the entire operation. I received an auto response thanking me for my letter. Now just hours later I am getting email from his volunteer center thanking me for signing up and giving me options to serve the campaign. Yeah, right! I wrote him back and told him he was in violation of the 2003 Federal Can-Spam Act and copied the FTC with a complaint. He doesn't have a prayer of being elected, but the elitist attitude of this idiot really rubs me the wrong way.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Oct 27, 2007 8:19:58 PM

  11. way to go JOHN,

    when you're losing, adopt a dismissive attitude.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 28, 2007 4:05:49 AM

  12. LELAND,

    I have this fantasy that somewhere up in heaven (hey, it's a fantasy...indulge me) Molly Ivins is looking down upon you, working little bits of magic to help you craft the most creative, most entertaining and most factually correct post that anyone would ever be capable of posting on towleroad. I don't want to take the credit for your insights away from you...but someone has gotta replace Molly, and I think you are the one to do it!


    Posted by: peterparker | Oct 28, 2007 4:45:30 AM

  13. hey, p.p.,

    how've you been?

    it's good to see someone else giving the sainted molly her due.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 28, 2007 9:59:44 AM

  14. Hey NIC! Molly ROCKED! I miss her voice.

    Posted by: peterparker | Oct 29, 2007 2:14:57 AM

  15. Sorry MIC and Sebastien I can only speak for myself but did it EVER occur to you that the reason there is such an uproar is not because we want to support the other candidate but that it is so vehement because we wanted Obama to GET IT!
    And we want him to succeed. That we would like him to continue to engage in a meaningful Democratic primary.

    He's not getting it.
    He's SPINING it.

    And he can't keep thinking he has the gay community's blessing just becaue has Geffin and Winfrey on his coatails.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Oct 29, 2007 9:54:54 AM

  16. This is NOT about disagreeing with one of his supporters - as Obama put it.

    This is about him putting that person on stage with a mic and letting him spew anti-gay rhetoric. It is unacceptable.

    Would he have included on stage someone who believes blacks can change and die their skin white and iron their hair?

    Posted by: G. | Oct 29, 2007 4:49:25 PM

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