By Lisa Keen
Keen on the trail
Keen News Service
LEADER IN TRUST: A poll just out this week shows that more registered voters trust Democrat Barack Obama on the rights of gay couples than trust Republican John McCain. The poll, conducted September 5 – 7 of 961 registered voters nationwide by the Washington Post and ABC News, asked, “Regardless of who you may support, who do you trust more to handle social issues, such as abortion and gay civil unions.” Forty-eight percent said Obama; 41 percent said McCain. Five percent said “both” or “neither,” and six percent were unsure. Interestingly, McCain’s standing has improved on the question since the question was first asked in July, and Obama’s has dropped off. Only 32 percent of those surveyed trusted McCain more on social issues in July -so the current 41 percent represents a significant boost. Meanwhile, 56 percent trusted Obama more in July – so the current 48 percent represents an eight-point drop.
BUS FUSS: Mel White, the former ghost writer for Jerry Falwell and other right-wing televangelists, recently paid a small town in Virginia for busing supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to a local high school to hear the candidate speak. According to various reports, the town was forced to provide last-minute shuttle services from a local stadium to the high school after Jerry Falwell Jr., son of the late Falwell Sr., refused to allow rally attendees to park in the shopping mall owned by Falwell’s Liberty University. White and his spouse, Gary Nixon, chipped in the $900 to pay back the town for its services.
Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is still not doing interviews, so it’s uncertain how she feels about this, but her church is co-sponsoring an ex-gay ministry forum this month. The evangelical Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has been worshipping for six years, is promoting a Sept. 13 conference in Anchorage to help people with “unwanted same-sex attractions” to overcome their desires. But the conference agenda goes far beyond people who are uncomfortable with a same-sex orientation. It includes sessions on “confronting gay-affirmative curriculum” in public schools, countering “pro-gay theology,” and opposing same-sex marriage. The conference is being staged by one of the country’s largest and most virulently anti-gay organizations – Focus on the Family.
MARRIAGE BOWS: The Republican ticket is sticking to a tight-and-tired script on the campaign trail right now. Both nominee John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin are trotting out the same zingers from city to city that won them the most applause at the GOP convention last week. They say nothing about gay marriage, even when in the heart of anti-gay marriage country – Colorado Springs, Colorado. The town, headquarters of the multi-million-dollar Focus on the Family organization, played host to the Republican ticket on Sept. 6 but the local Gazette newspaper said their speeches were “notable for the absence of any reference to social ‘wedge’ issues such as abortion or gay marriage.”
PALIN DOESN’T KICK: Fox News commentator Tammy Bruce had an interesting take on whether gays might support the McCain-Palin ticket. In a San Francisco Chronicle essay Sunday, Sept. 7, she opined yes, explaining that, “In her time in office, Palin’s focus has not been to kick the gays…”
KOCH FOR OBAMA: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch announced this week that he’s endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president. In an essay published Sept. 9 by http://realclearpolitics.com, Koch said: “Protecting and defending the U.S. means more than defending us from foreign attacks. It includes defending the public with respect to their civil rights, civil liberties and other needs, e.g., national health insurance, the right to choose abortion, the continuation of Social Security, gay rights, other rights of privacy, fair progressive taxation and a host of other needs and rights.”
HOLLYWOOD BLAST: Michelle Obama was the guest of honor Sept. 3 at an LGBT fundraiser at the home of super-agent Brian Lourd. According to a pool report, about 300 people attended, paying between $1,000 and $25,000 each.