I talk to a lot of people running for Congress. I've been doing it, more or less, systematically since 2005. It's part of the Blue America vetting process. One of the questions I ask all the candidates is about marriage equality for the LGBT community. When I started, the question was about whether or not the candidate supported it. I was even interested if they supported it in their heart despite being able to say so aloud in a red, red district. That's changed remarkably fast. Almost all Democrats support marriage equality now, including all moderates. Only the most dire, ancient reactionaries who, for whatever reason, haven't flipped to the GOP yet, still oppose marriage equality. And the question has changed as well. Now I ask how the candidate is going to persuade conservative voters that marriage equality is the right path.
Last month I spoke with a self-described "very conservative" Washington state senator, Steve Hobbs. And he is very conservative-- but not on social issues, including LGBT equality. Hobb's is a pro-Choice, pro-LGBT Democrat, with a voting record to back up those claims. It's in contrast to the Blue Dogs in DC who swear they're just fiscally conservative and then vote straight-up reactionary when it comes to matters of Choice, corporate corruption and equality. In the guest post he did for DWT on the topic he talked about how his military service in Afghanistan helped him understand the need for equality on a very personal level. "How could I look my gay and lesbian comrades in the eye if I voted no? How could I stand next to them, train with them, fight with them and potentially die with them if I voted to deny them the same rights that I have? I represent a swing district in Snohomish County, Washington, where the majority of my constituents do not support marriage equality. That?s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and, believe me-- they shared them with me before I took my vote." I'd have more respect for conservatives in general if there were more conservatives like Steve Hobbs.
Jim Graves, the Democrat running against Bachmann, may not be another Alan Grayson, Barbara Lee or Raśl Grijalva but he is somewhat more of a progressive, across the board, than Hobbs. His district, though, is as conservative as Hobbs' is. In a guest post he did for DWT he talked about how he combats Bachmann's deranged homophobia on the stump:
I also reject my opponent's understanding of the role of government. She talks a lot about making government smaller. But, in fact, she seems to think the government should interfere with the most personal decisions a person could ever make. She would like government officials to tell the victim of rape what she ought to do with her body. She would like the government to determine who a person can and cannot marry. Now, I have been married to my wife, Julie, for nearly forty years. Our marriage has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I don?t see how anyone would want our government to deprive individuals the freedom to experience that same joy and happiness no matter what their sexual orientation.
Ron Barber (AZ)- hasn't voted on any LGBT issues so far
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA)- 16.67
Tim Bishop (D-NY)- 28.57%
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)- 28.57%
Lois Capps (D-CA)- 100%
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)- 16.67
Mark Critz (PA)- ZERO
John Garamendi (D-CA)- 100%
Kathy Hochul (NY)- 100%
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
David Loebsack (D-IA)- 50%
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)- 14.29
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)- ZERO
Jerry McNerney (CA)- 50%
Bill Owens (NY)- 33.33%
Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR)- 66.67%
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)- 71.43%
Betty Sutton (D-OH)- 50%
Tim Walz (MN)- 50%