Current Affairs

Obama challenged over lack of contact with gay press

Tony Grew April 7, 2008
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One of America’s most respected gay publications has accused Presidential candidate Barack Obama of disrespecting the “entire local LGBT press.”

Last week Philadelphia Gay News published an wide-ranging interview with his rival for the Democratic nomination Senator Hillary Clinton, ahead of the Pennsylvania primary later this month.

In an Editorial Letter to Obama last week, PGN said that he has only spoken to the gay press twice.

“One of those interviews, which appeared in Chicago’s Windy City Times, was in 2004 before he became a US Senator.

“The other limited interview occurred after controversy erupted when his campaign added an anti-gay minister to his tour of the South.

“It has now been 1,522 days since Obama has been accessible to our community.

“The question is now this: Is he trying to play it safe or has he become a managed candidate? But there’s more to this story.”

The paper claims it has been given the “roundaround” by the Obama campaign, despite contacting him through one of his major fundraisers, two of his super-delegates, a US Senator, a college friend of Obama’s and a Congressman.

“We have found that Senator Barack Obama would rather talk at the LGBT community than with it.

“While Senator Hillary Clinton has been accessible to the local LGBT press with numerous “no rules” interviews, Obama simply has not.”

The editorial claims the US local LGBT press has a national weekly audience of 2.2 million readers, not including websites and points out that Obama has spoken to Christianity Today, a local Philadelphia sports radio station and European magazine Paris Match.

PGN concluded:

“With all due respect, Senator, you haven’t spoken to the local LGBT press since 2004. Isn’t it about time?

“One last point: We were treated with more respect by Republican John McCain’s campaign than yours.”

In January New York’s Gay City News, the largest circulation lesbian and gay newspaper in the US, endorsed Senator Obama for President.

“Given that the two Democratic contenders share a similar, generally friendly and supportive posture toward LGBT Americans, we ought to think about the message our choice sends about a fundamental question – what our politics should be all about,” said GCN in an editorial.

“We are finding our place here and there at the table, but we have also spent much of our life on the outside. The nation needs to hear our views on how American politics can accommodate new voices in the mix.

“Judged by that measure and taking full stock of how the Democratic nomination contest has unfolded, we believe the choice is clear.”

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