NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sought the support of voters in the homosexual community Feb. 28, telling them in a letter that if elected president he would work to pass laws important to that constituency and would use the "bully pulpit" to urge states to grant same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage.
The 770-word letter was posted on a section of Obama's campaign website devoted to homosexual issues. He and Hillary Clinton have worked for months to get the votes of the homosexual community, even appearing in August at a historic Democratic presidential forum devoted solely to homosexual issues.
In the letter, Obama touted his past record on such issues and said he would continue that record if elected. He used the acronym LGBT -- which stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" -- six times.
"As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws," he wrote. "I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -- whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage.
"He once again said he backs the "complete repeal" of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law passed in 1996 that gives states the option of not recognizing another state's "gay marriages." It also prohibits the federal government from recognizing "gay marriage." Ever since it was passed homosexual activists have viewed it as a significant legal barrier to nationwide legalization of "gay marriage."
"While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether," he wrote. "Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.
"Austin Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization that supports the Defense of Marriage Act, said overturning DOMA "would lead to the recognition of everything the homosexual agenda stands for, including same-sex marriage."
"A repeal of DOMA would mean that the federal government is acknowledging and supporting same-sex couples, and that would be in Arizona and everywhere else," Nimocks told Baptist Press. "And it would start with the extension of certain federal benefits, the filing of joint tax returns by same-sex returns, and it would chip away at the institution of marriage in every state -- and most egregiously in those states that have voted through a constitutional amendment or a law to protect marriage between one man and one woman."
In the years since DOMA was signed into law, more than 40 states have passed various types of laws prohibiting "gay marriage," including 27 that have passed constitutional marriage amendments. "To suggest that DOMA in some form or fashion prevents states from fashioning their own marriage law is just disingenuous at best," Nimocks said. "To repeal DOMA means that every American taxpayer would be forced to fund the homosexual agenda."
Obama also said he supports "age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception" and favors lifting "the federal ban on needle exchange[s]." During a September Democratic debate he said he would be comfortable with teachers reading to second graders a children's book, King & King, supportive of "gay marriage."
In the letter he asserted that in multiple forums -- talking to rural farmers or to Baptist parishioners -- he has talked about the need to "fight homophobia." "I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country," he said. "To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike."
Obama also mentioned in the letter his speech in 2006 during an HIV/AIDS conference at Saddleback Church, where Rick Warren pastors. At the time Warren released a statement saying he disagrees with Obama on abortion and other issues.