Clinton and Obama: We (Heart) Gays, Especially in Pennsylvania

| Fri Apr. 4, 2008 5:12 PM EDT

gay-obama-08.jpgHillary Clinton and Barack Obama want you to know they're not just tolerant, they really like gay people. And they want their votes, especially in Pennsylvania later this month.

In her effort to court the gay vote, Clinton gave an exclusive interview to the Philadelphia Gay News during which she talked about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," among other issues. The publisher of the paper says both Clinton's and Obama's campaigns have made noises about buying ad space, "but we haven't gotten an insertion order."

Though Barack Obama hasn't done a Pennsylvania-specific appeal to gay voters yet, he has in other parts of the country. According to Editor&Publisher, in March Obama bought full-page, full-color ads in four Ohio and Texas LGBT publications shortly before their state primaries. It was the first time (sez Obama's campaign rep) that any presidential candidate has placed ads in local gay/lesbian publications for the express purpose of "asking for the support and the vote of LGBT voters statewide."

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John McCain was asked to do an interview by the Philadelphia Gay News, but declined, as did Obama. "It's a sad day when we are treated with more respect from the Republican candidate, John McCain, than a Democratic senator," said publisher Mark Segal. "With McCain, his top press representative called us back within three hours. It took seven weeks for Obama's representative to acknowledge."

And if you think there aren't enough gays in Pennsylvania to make a difference, think again. The publication says that a full 90% of its readers are registered to vote, and that the "gay vote" makes up to 3 percent of the Pennsylvania electorate, definitely enough to sway the state one way or another.

Ironically Obama (who like Clinton says gay marriage decisions should be left up to the states) said in a speech that marriage should be between a man and a woman. He went on to say that gay rights are often used as an attention-seeking ploy around elections. McCain similarly says that while he's in favor of gay people having some rights, they shouldn't be able to legally marry. Clinton stopped short of saying the same in her interview with the gay paper, but noted that if elected president, she will walk in gay pride parades "to the extent that security would permit."

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