Barack Obama | Election 2008 | New York | News | Peter Pace

Barack Obama Addresses Gay Crowd at NYC Fundraiser

The Advocate spoke with Corey Johnson (pictured here — you may remember Johnson as the Massachusetts high school football player who received national attention when he came out to his team in 1999) about a fundraiser held last Thursday hosted by GLSEN founder and executive director Kevin Jennings and his partner, Jeff Davis, which raised $170,000 for the candidate:

Johnson_obama"Johnson, who is 25, has supported Obama for about a year but prefaced his remarks by saying he has never been an 'Obama-phile.' He said the senator addressed some of the most contentious LGBT issues without prompting, such as same-sex marriage and the inclusion of transgender people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In fact, those were the two issues Sen. Obama singled out as being potential disappointments to the LGBT community right now, while he signaled that a hate-crimes bill could likely be passed and signed into law and that repeal of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' might be on the horizon. According to several sources, including Johnson and Lenore, Obama said he did not think it was “politically feasible” to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples in the country at this point. Sen. Obama acknowledged that the community wanted full marriage rights but said that he favored civil unions for now while leaving open the possibility that his position might evolve in the future. In terms of ENDA, Obama said he supported an ENDA that included transgender protections but that he didn’t believe a fully inclusive bill had enough votes to pass the Senate at this time."

Johnson told Towleroad that Obama also addressed the incident last year in which it appeared he hesitated before offering an answer on whether or not he agreed with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace when Pace said he thought homosexuality was immoral.

Said Johnson: "Senator Obama was asked at the fundraiser if he would publicly state that he didn't find being gay immoral in front of a non-gay audience. The question was clearly alluding to the Peter Pace firestorm from last year and Obama said that there was a misunderstanding that took place. He gave a policy speech in the morning and was walking to his car when a reporter kept shouting the question about General Pace. He said he wasn't answering any questions at all that day about anything other than the policy speech. So he said 'I'm not answering that' and got into his car. It was spun as him not speaking out against Pace's remarks. He was genuinely upset that it was portrayed in such a way in the media and tried to have his campaign clear it up immediately by repudiating General Pace with a public statement."

As to whether or not he would publicly state that he didn't find homosexuality immoral in front of a non-gay audience, Johnson said Obama declared "he absolutely would, and he has in the past."

(photo: mathew bergman)

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  1. More lies and BS from Obama. He has taken so many positions on issues over the past 10 years he can't keep it straight. has uncovered policy statements, many in his own handwriting that conflict with current positions. The Wall Street Journal reports that his wife overrules his handlers and advisers on conference calls so no doubt he will have to check with her before he comments, if he does at all.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Apr 1, 2008 11:10:16 AM

  2. It's time for O to have a real epiphany over his attitude towards gay rights and gay marriage. He could actually lead instead of walk that 'fine line'. Come out and acknowledge that weddings are for churches, and that Marriage is a legal construct basically designed to best control property and inheritance rights. No church will or should be forced to perform a wedding, but every couple of legal age should be allowed and be given a marriage certificate with all the responsibilities and benefits that marriage entails. On the snarky side, it seems as though the straights are more interested in weddings than staying married anyway. The atrociously high divorce rates in the red states in particular simply proves the point.

    Posted by: Rucka | Apr 1, 2008 11:11:00 AM

  3. More lies and BS from Obama. He has taken so many positions on issues over the past 10 years he can't keep it straight. has uncovered policy statements, many in his own handwriting that conflict with current positions. The Wall Street Journal reports that his wife overrules his handlers and advisers on conference calls so no doubt he will have to check with her before he comments, if he does at all.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Apr 1, 2008 11:11:11 AM

  4. Crawl back under your sheet, Racist Johnny Lane.

    You are not welcome here.

    Posted by: 24play | Apr 1, 2008 11:14:06 AM

  5. The bigots here aren't gonna like this, get ready for thier usual incoherent rants that are worse than any bigot out there. As for gay marriage issue, I think that equality and job protection are a better start, since, in most states you can get canned for just being gay, and, have no law to stop it, just like many states don't have protection to stop or punish the losers and bigots who beat you down for no other reason than being gay.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Apr 1, 2008 11:24:49 AM

  6. Obama is full of shit

    Posted by: Dakota | Apr 1, 2008 11:38:56 AM

  7. I really don't see it "politically feasible" that this man could be President ever. I think as we get closer to April 22nd, a lot of truth about this man will surface. As always, the majority of democrats have taken our eyes off the ball and the big picture by supporting this man. I will not make that mistake. Hillary '08!!!

    Posted by: daveynyc | Apr 1, 2008 11:41:23 AM

  8. Thanks for posting, Andy. Only nine more months of the horrid Bush reign. I can not wait for Mr. Obama to become our next President.

    Posted by: Roger Newcomb | Apr 1, 2008 11:50:01 AM

  9. The "politically feasible" line is the real kick in the cojones.

    Hey Corey -- what about McClurkin?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 1, 2008 11:57:47 AM

  10. It's a shame that Obama is troll flypaper here. Anyone who has taken the trouble to read his books, explore his positions on the issues and examine the contents of his speech ought to know that they're looking at the most important political figure America has produced in a generation.

    I hope he wins. I'm voting for him.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Apr 1, 2008 12:40:52 PM

  11. My problem with this is why was the fundraiser a closed event? It makes it seems like Obama doesn't want to be recorded by the media at a gay event but will gladly take our donations.

    At least Hillary, whom I'm not supporting, has made appearances at gay events with the media covering it.

    Posted by: MikeG | Apr 1, 2008 12:58:06 PM

  12. A bit of friendly advice for the hillary folks out there:

    The shrill thing - CAN IT.


    Posted by: Dan | Apr 1, 2008 1:14:59 PM

  13. "The Wall Street Journal reports that his wife overrules his handlers and advisers on conference calls so no doubt he will have to check with her before he comments, if he does at all."

    --Not too much sexism in this comment.


    Hasn't Obama spoken to other gay events and at church events supporting gay rights?


    What about Bill Clinton telling John Kerry to support an anti-gay marriage amendment?

    Didn't Bill Clinton use homophobic radio ads in 1996 to win Southern voters (at the same time he supported DOMA)?

    If Hillary was Bill's co-president, doesn't she bare responsibility for these actions?
    How exactly has Saint Hillary & Lord Bill been the BFFs of GLBT Americans? DOMA? Don't Ask, Don't Tell?


    The Supreme Court is up for grabs. If McCain wins, he'll stack the Court with more Scalia and Thomas clones who won't have a problem overturning established rights. (Remember, they were the ones who helped to kill Brown v.)

    If we can get enough progressives on the court, we could get the Court to establish gay marriage on a federal level as the Supreme Court did in 1967 with the Loving decision that struck down laws preventing interracial marriage.

    It's the Court that matters.

    Posted by: noah | Apr 1, 2008 1:31:02 PM

  14. I find it totally hilarious that these Obama haters really think that HRC has a chance to win the whole thing if she can manage to steal the nomination, which from almost all accounts is all she has left after her win in Pennsylvania. maybe they need to do some online research and see just how many people in polite words 'don't care" for her. She is her own worse enemy, and, had she stayed with the issues that affect the country and kept that uncouth husband of hers on a muzzle, maybe, whatever it is had to say would have been heard, but, nope, all she has said and done so far is play the Rove hand book of race baiting and fear, which seems to only work on those with small, narrow minds. And, her 'supporters' who were and never would have supported Obama, even without the sainted Hillary Clinton in the mix.

    HRC and her supporters have made this whole thing so personal, that McCain is a shoo in, and, with his anti-gay stance blame her for his winning, no one else.

    Noah, this is the wrong crowd to try to explain the progressive stance, they aren't the types who would ever fit the bill there and should be posting over on Fixed Noise/News, since they all seem to follow that crowd.

    Posted by: Luke | Apr 1, 2008 1:45:50 PM

  15. Wright=RACISM=Obama

    Posted by: z | Apr 1, 2008 2:08:27 PM

  16. oy, Hill is not her own worse enemy it's the media. It shows truly what a fighter and great American she is, that even after ALL the bashing from every direction she is still going strong and taking states. She will get the nomination and it WILL be a battle but she will do what the Clintons do best and take the whole thing in November.

    Posted by: daveynyc | Apr 1, 2008 2:16:39 PM

  17. from the new york times, about a week ago:

    "Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance."

    It's now past the point of her showing what a "great fighter" she is. The race is over, the mainstream media just won't admit it because the longer it drags out, the better ratings they get. Originally, I would have voted for either candidate, but Hillary's short-sightedness/willingness to destroy her own party has turned me off from her.

    Posted by: Danny | Apr 1, 2008 2:35:11 PM

  18. 24play, what was racist about those comments? Are people racist just because they don't support Obama?

    If you notice he still did not state that he did not believe homosexuality was immoral. He side stepped the question.

    Posted by: ousslander | Apr 1, 2008 3:17:07 PM

  19. Hey, Johnny Lane/DaveyNYC/assorted trolls:

    Think about it, won't you?

    Posted by: Dan | Apr 1, 2008 3:21:04 PM

  20. Ousslander, there was nothing racist about that comment by Johnny Lane. This one, however,...

    "24Play - You don't get it and you never will so I refuse to waste any more time responding to your idiocy. Simply put, the problems currently facing this country, primarily caused by this jackass we currently have for a President, cannot and will not be solved by a crack smoking nigger from Illinois with no experience. Now, do you get that? If not, perhaps that is what the two of you have in common.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Jan 15, 2008 3:32:33 AM"

    Posted by: 24play | Apr 1, 2008 3:30:38 PM

  21. He continues to disappoint us!

    Just when you thought reports of Barack Obama and his controversial minister Rev. Jeremiah Wright were over, a new individual appears.

    Now news of Obama's relationship with homophobe Rev. James T. Meeks has been revealed, and it's very upsetting.

    Rev. Meeks is an Illinois state senator and serves as the pastor of the 22,000 member Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, where Obama frequently campaigned back in 2003 when running for Senate.

    Rev. Meeks has been described as someone in which Obama seeks spiritual counsel from, according to an article printer in the Chicago Sun Times. He will even serve as an Obama delegate at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver.

    Rev. Meeks has served on Obama’s exploratory committee for the presidency and was even listed on Obama's campaign website as one his ‘influential black supporters’. The Chicago Sun Times also reported that both Rev. Meeks and Obama share a history of receiving substantial campaign contributions from the indicted real estate "criminal" Tony Rezko.

    Aside from numerous other reports linking the two together, the real issue is the character of Rev. Meeks, who is known for his racially charged remarks and homophobic ways.

    In a 2006 sermon, Rev. Meeks stated, "We don't have slave masters. We got mayors. But they still the same white people who are presiding over systems where black people are not able, or to be educated. You got some preachers that are house niggers. You got some elected officials that are house niggers. And rather than them trying to break this up, they gonna fight you to protect this white man." He later defended that sermon during an interview with a Chicago CBS 2 reporter.

    Not to mention Rev. Meeks homophobic ways are well noted. A 2007 newsletter from the Southern Poverty Law Center named Rev. Meeks one of the "10 leading black religious voices in the anti-gay movement."

    The newsletter cites him as a key member of Chicago's ‘Gatekeepers’ network (an interracial group of evangelical ministers who strive to erase the division between church and state) and “a stalwart anti-gay activist… [who]… has used his House of Hope mega-church to launch petition drives for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a major state-level ‘family values’ pressure group that lauded him last year for leading African Americans in ‘clearly understanding the threat of gay marriage.'”

    You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep!

    Sad. Sad. Sad.

    Posted by: z | Apr 1, 2008 3:53:15 PM

  22. yes that one is.

    Posted by: ousslander | Apr 1, 2008 4:01:03 PM

  23. Dan- I'm not surprised you read such dribble. ps i don't think a 25yo latino qualifies as a troll asshole

    Posted by: daveynyc | Apr 1, 2008 4:11:30 PM

  24. As a Hillary supporter I am truly ashamed of all the name calling and hate mongering her "supporters" are throwing around. These types of character assassinations are better left to Republicans not Democrats. No need to drag down the entire party if your candidate is currently losing. And by the way, Hillary doesn't have the best company either, but I choose to judge her by her sound policy ideas and excellent leadership skills. I really hope we can all rally around our candidate once finally selected at the convention. If not we are doomed to continue the downward spiral into a more conservative and less tolerant nation.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Apr 1, 2008 4:11:40 PM

  25. I stand by that statement as it is 100% true and correct 24Play. Want more?

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Apr 1, 2008 4:11:41 PM

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