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Democrats debating gay-rights issues in LA

 The Democrats were quizzed on their understanding of the gay community at the Visible Vote '08 in L.A.

Democrats debating gay-rights issues in LA Six of the right Democratic candidates took turns answering questions pretending to the gay-rights at the Visible Vote '08 in Los Angeles on Thursday. The forum, sponsored by the cable channel Logo and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, focused on the issues important to the gay and lesbian communities throughout the country. It was the first time presidential candidates appeared on a forum dedicated to the touchy political issue of gay-rights.

 So far all of the Democratic candidates have agreed on a federal ban on anti-gay job discrimination, allowing gays to serve in the military and civil unions that would give the same-sex couples marriage-like rights. But that's pretty much where it all stops. Only Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, candidates highly unlikely to make the Presidential Race, have publicly supported a nation-wide recognition of the same-sex marriage.

 Hillary Clinton decided to focus on her husband's achievements during presidency. "We certainly didn't get as much done as I would have liked. But there was a lot of honest effort," Clinton vowed to continue his legacy on gay-rights.

 Barack Obama, who belongs to the United Church of Christ, has not yet publicly supported the gay-marriage, although his church does. "If we have a situation in which civil unions are fully enforced, are widely recognized, people have civil rights under the law, then my sense is that's enormous progress," Obama said.

 John Edwards was zinged by the moderator about a past statement that he felt uncomfortable around gay people. The former Senator blamed the comments on a political advisor, adding "I'm perfectly comfortable."

 New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got the hardest question - if he believes people are born gay or whether it is a choice. He answered that it was a choice, and later clarified his answer by saying "I'm not a scientist. I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency." After the debate, his camp released a statement saying that he had misunderstood the question and that he does not believe people choose to be gay.

 As clearly noted by the Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, the majority of the candidates did not make a public promise to support marriage equality, yet it was an important step forward public discussion of the rights of gays and lesbians in the country.

 Senators Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut were the only two Democrats which did not attend the forum.

The top three most likely to be chosen as the Democratic candidate for the 2008 US Presidential Election according to the betting odds on the 2008 Presidential Race:

Hillary Clinton - 2/5

Barack Obama - 12/5

John Edwards - 8/1

Odds by Bodog Sport.

Published on 08/10/2007

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