Obama backs LGB troops in gay magazine interview
US Presidential candidate Barack Obama has given an interview with leading gay publication The Advocate, just a week after being criticised for “disrespecting” the LGBT media.
The interview is due to be published tomorrow, but AP were given excerpts.
Mr Obama, a US Senator from Illinois, said he supports a repeal of a law that bars openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people from serving in the country’s Armed Forces and is hopeful it can be achieved.
In an interview last week his rival for the Democratic nomination for President, Senator Hillary Clinton, discussed options to remove “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which was introduced during her husband Bill Clinton’s Presidency.
“I think there’s increasing recognition within the Armed Forces that this is a counterproductive strategy,” Senator Obama told The Advocate.
“We’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn’t make us more safe.”
Senator Obama also told the magazine that he would sign into law workplace protections for LGB people and would like to include trans protections, though he acknowledged that might be more difficult to get through Congress.
“Obama also said he’s interested in ensuring that same-sex couples in civil unions get federal benefits,” reports AP.
Last week Philadelphia Gay News published an wide-ranging interview with his rival for the Democratic nomination Senator Clinton, ahead of the Pennsylvania primary later this month.
In an Editorial Letter to Obama, 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.
“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 gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love, but basically all press feels that way at all times,” Senator Obama told The Advocate.