Monday, June 04, 2007

HRC Announces 08 Dem Candidates Unanimously Support Extending Federal Benefits to Gays

For Immediate Release:
Saturday, June 2, 2007


Human Rights Campaign Issues Report Card for Pro-Equality Voters

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2008 Democratic presidential candidate questionnaire outlining where the announced candidates for president stand on issues important to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay civil rights organization, released the questionnaires along with a report card based upon the candidates’ responses in order to assist pro-equality voters in determining the public policy positions of the candidates.

For the first time ever, all of the announced Democratic candidates stated their support for extending federal benefits and equal tax treatment, currently only available to heterosexual married couples, to same-sex couples who are parties to a union legally recognized by their state. Additionally, the candidates express unanimous support for extending federal benefits for same-sex couples and their children.

This groundbreaking and unified position of all Democratic candidates would override Section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” which provides that for federal purposes, "The word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” (1 U.S.C. Section 7)

“These candidates have expressed a unified belief and echoed the majority of the American people by stating that same-sex couples deserve federal recognition,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “It is extremely encouraging to finally see the focus of the debate around the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans center around extending the American value of equality to all people. 2008 is not 2004, and the American people have already put out the warning that divisive, wedge politics that pit neighbor against neighbor will not be tolerated.”

The questionnaire focused on the following questions of importance to the GLBT community:

Federal recognition of state-level same sex unions
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act
Federal hate crimes legislation
Support for marriage equality
Support for civil unions
Extend federal benefits to same-sex couples and their children
Extending coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act
Extending access to survivor benefits
Equal tax treatment
Domestic partner benefits for same-sex employees
Adoption/foster parent issues
Immigration equality;
Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
HIV/AIDS funding
Comprehensive sex education
2008 Democratic presidential candidates responding to the questionnaire include: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

View the report card showing where the candidates stand on these important issues.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.