Clinton, Obama Gay For Gay Pride Month

Hot on the heels of Governor Bill Richardson’s prideful plans (and informative interview with IN Los Angeles), Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have released their respective statements on pride month.

Read the gay details, after the jump.

45-year old Senator Barack Obama – who once referred to gay marriage a “political ploy” designed to distract Americans from “future challenges” – reminds readers that we’ve got a long road until queers are completely equal to their fellow countrymen. In addition to proclaiming the importance of hate crime legislation, the democratic presidential candidate contends the necessity of civil union laws and the dismantlement of the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.

From Senator Obama’s campaign website:

Pride Month is a reminder that while we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do.

Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.

It’s time to turn the page on the bitterness and bigotry that fill so much of today’s LGBT rights debate. The rights of all Americans should be protected — whether it’s at work or anyplace else. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” needs to be repealed because patriotism and a sense of duty should be the key tests for military service, not sexual orientation. Civil unions should give gay couples full rights. And those who commit hate crimes should be punished no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

This Pride Month, let’s make our founding promise of equality a reality for every American.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it only took a month to dismantle institutionalized oppression? Sigh.

Like her competitor, Senator Hillary Clinton highlighted the work that needs to be done, but focussed more on gay’s recent gains. Her exhaustive extensive and self-congratulatory statement opens:

As we celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, I want to commend the LGBT community on a historic year that brought our country closer to equality and closer to ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Just a year ago, I worked with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate as well as with LGBT leaders to defeat the divisive and discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). Since then, we not only defeated FMA, but we have been able to make real progress in achieving fairness for all Americans. In fact, since June 2006, New Jersey and New Hampshire became the third and fourth states to adopt civil unions and Washington and Iowa were added to the list of states that outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. A similar bill in Colorado is expected to be signed into law soon. And in Congress, we are finally on the verge of passing the Matthew Shepherd Act, which would expand hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. What a difference a year makes.

Ever the politician, Clinton then uses her queer celebration to celebrate her own pro-gay activism. The former first lady blast the present President’s blatant disregard for family rights and offers her political posture on the purple peeps:

When I am president, we will work together to make sure that all Americans in committed relationships have equal benefits and that nothing stands in the way of loving couples who want to adopt children in need. We’re going to finally expand our federal hate crimes legislation and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It is just plain wrong that in the year 2007, people who work hard and do a good job every day can still be fired because of who they love. And finally, we will put an end to the failed policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice — the traits that define our men and women in uniform — have nothing to do with sexual orientation.

A bit ironic Hillary’s hubby’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would become one of the most discussed issues in her future Presidential run? The candidates, including Clinton, have been using the issue as a distraction from the larger – and less timely – issue of gay marriage. When asked last night during CNN’s presidential debates in New Hampshire, Clinton referred to Don’t Ask as a “transition” piece. Now that she’s seen the act’s been used to discriminate (um, wasn’t that the point), we should “change the policy to let gays and lesbians serve in the military and be protected by military justice.” When Wolf Blitzer reiterated the original question, “Was your husband’s decision wrong?” Clinton responded “No, it was an important first step.” A step backward, we think.

Like Obama’s pride month message, Clinton’s declaration relates the gay rights movement to America’s political roots:

…We can continue the journey America has been on from the very beginning — to form a more perfect union and realize the goals and values we believe in. That’s the promise of America — and that’s why I’m running for president.

Damn, she blew Obama’s final word out of the water. Do they have the same speech writer or have they just been sharing notes?