At a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa over the weekend, presidential hopeful Joe Biden spoke to a group of supporters about gay rights related to health care, civil unions, and the military’s policy banning gays.
The Des Moines Register reports: “Biden, speaking to an estimated 100 supporters at an early morning breakfast, said coverage under his proposed health care plan, or any universal plan, must be guaranteed as a constitutional right to all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. Biden added that he supports civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples. He added that he does not think ‘it is the responsibility of the government to be able to define for a religious-based organization what constitutes a marriage.’…The Delaware senator also said he feels the military’s current ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy related to gay service members is a ‘bizarre’ one. The military’s major responsibility is to keep high standards, he said. He recalled a conversation with a serviceman in Iraq. Asked his opinion of the policy, the soldier’s response to it, Biden said, was, ‘What difference does it make? The question is, ‘Can he shoot straight?””
LGBT issues have become big news in Iowa recently. An Iowa judge recently struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage, allowing one couple to quickly marry before the ruling was stayed at the county’s request. A conservative Iowa group has already moved to impeach that judge, accusing him of “legislating from the bench.”
The Iowa civil rights group “One Iowa” was on hand at the Harkin Steak Fry yesterday, where six Democratic candidates were appearing. The group’s caucus director James Taylor expressed hope that one of them might step out from the pack: “We would love for one of the candidates to have the courage to come forward, take a stand and do what’s right even in an atmosphere in which they could be hurt for doing the right thing. That would say a lot about one’s integrity.”