The Human Rights Campaign have released their 2008 Democratic 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 largest gay civil rights organisation in the US, 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 recognised by their state.

Additionally, the candidates expressed 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 “Defence 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.”

“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 Human Rights Campaign 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 centre 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 neighbour against neighbour will not be tolerated.”