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    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Dean: Queer Ally?


    Howard Dean isn't so great. Yes, he was pretty awesome on the Sunday shows this past weekend. But, I won't turn over for him that easily.

    "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman," Dean told Robertson. "That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is that we believe in inclusion, that everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect, and that equal rights under the law are important."

    But the platform actually supported gay marriage. ...

    Once considered a major friend of the LGBT population Dean has raised concerns more recently as he attempts to draw conservative Christians toward the party with calls to candidates to go slowly in promoting LGBT issues.

    Whether the 700 Club remark was one of Dean's famous "misspeaks" or was intentional is not yet known. A spokesperson for the DNC did not immediately return calls. ...

    The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was more direct.

    It returned a recent $5,000 DNC contribution and demanded that Dean issue a clarification of his remarks.

    "Disturbingly, this is not the first time he has misrepresented this important and affirming plank, and he has been asked before to correct the record and to cease making these misleading statements," said NGLTF Executive Director Matt Foreman.

    "Governor Dean's record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues since becoming DNC chair has been sorely and sadly lacking. The Democratic Party chair should stand by and fight for the party's own platform and values. In light of Governor Dean's pandering and insulting interview today with the Christian Broadcasting Network, we have decided to return the DNC's recent $5,000 contribution to us. We do so with great sadness, knowing that the Democratic Party has long been a champion of our rights."


    But, he quickly tried to clean up the mess today:

    Thursday morning Dean was busy trying to mend fences with the gay community.

    "I misstated the Democratic Party's platform, which does not say that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, but says the Party is committed to full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and leaves the issue to the states to decide," he said in a statement.

    "The Democratic Party remains committed to equal protection under the law for all Americans. How we achieve that goal continues to be the subject of a contentious debate, but our Party continues to oppose constitutional amendments that seek to short circuit the debate on how to achieve equality for all Americans."

    Not only has the "misspeak" forced Dean to acknowledge it has hurt the party with gays, he now has to face conservative Christians who have begun portraying his original remarks to be a callous attempt to get their votes by misleading them.


    Hmmmm. When the "Christian right" is pandered to, they start to feel pandered to. Maybe we shouldn't pander to them to the detriment of long-time-Democratic stalwarts. Just a thought, Chairman Dean.

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