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GOP and Dems vie for the LGBT vote

By |2017-04-06T09:00:00-04:00April 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

By Sharon Gittleman

FERNDALE – Life can get exciting at the Logan-Burton household – especially on the first Tuesday in November. Election Day isn’t easy when you’re a two-party family.
Republican Carol Logan sometimes finds she has some explaining to do, and not just to her Democratic partner of 23 years, Mary Burton.
“People say they don’t understand how a gay person can be a Republican,” said Logan. “I don’t believe in giveaway programs. I believe in people earning what they get.” Logan said she also supports the war in Iraq.
Sometimes the couple finds themselves in their own personal political contest.
“We go to vote together because our vote cancels each other’s out,” said Logan.
Neither woman is thrilled with the candidates running for President this year.
“I think (Senator John) Kerry is the lesser of two evils,” said Burton. “But every time the wind blows he changes his mind.”
While she’s proud of her Republican views, Logan said she’ll vote Democrat this year, for one big reason – President George W. Bush’s support for a permanent ban on equal marriage rights.
“He wants to change the U.S. Constitution to make me a second class citizen,” she said.
It’s a stance Michigan Log Cabin Republican Co-organizer Greg Wright has heard before. Wright’s group is a haven for politically active gay members of the GOP.
“We’ve hit a stumbling block with the Constitutional amendment, but there are bigger and more important issues out there,” he said. “You have to look at choosing the destruction of the economy with Kerry or having a better economy with Bush.”
Kerry has spoken out against gay marriage, Wright said, and the Massachusetts senator is fighting his home state’s high court decision in favor of LGBT families.
“As far as gay marriage, he has the same policy as Bush to some extent,” he said. “There are people in the Republican party who do want gay marriage, though they are outnumbered by some of the more boisterous groups.”
Gay rights are more of a generational issue than a liberal/conservative question, in Wright’s view.
“We’re looking at two politicians from the Vietnam era,” he said.
Wright hopes gays and lesbians will vote for lower taxes in November.
“We want lower taxes,” he said. “We want less control of the government over our lives.”
While the economy played a central role in Wright’s pro-Bush stance, Ramon Gardenhire hoped other factors would woo voters to Kerry.
“He’s not for gay marriage,” admitted Gardenhire, Deputy Director for the Gay and Lesbian Program for the Democratic National Committee, “but he’s for giving gay and lesbian couples every right under the law, like social security and inheritance rights.”
Kerry believes marriage is a religious institution, Gardenhire said.
“He’s not there yet,” he said. “I think he’s educable.”
Gardenhire urges LGBT voters to think about Kerry’s voting record over the past two decades when they go to the polls.
“He was one of 14 senators who stood up in 1996, and said they would not vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, and he was up for election that year,” Gardenhire said. “He was an original co-sponsor of the Ryan White Care Act. ”
Pundits have pointed to Kerry’s lackluster personality and his communication deficits on the campaign trail.
“When I’m looking for the next President of the United States, I’m not looking for charisma,” he said. “I’m looking for leadership on gay rights, civil rights and economic rights.”
“He’s been painted as a flip-flopper by the Republicans, but he’s just clarified his positions on many stances,” said Gardenhire. “He didn’t vote for the war, he voted to authorize the President to go to war.”
Kerry is the best candidate for the LGBT community, in Gardenhire’s view.
“He was out fighting for us even before many of us were out,” he said.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.