Oct 182004
 
Authors: Jake Blumberg

What is going on in some citizens’ bedrooms is once again coming

under the legislative microscope.

The rights afforded to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and

transgender population in America is a highly controversial issue.

With the election nearing, some voters will be considering this

issue when choosing their presidential candidate.

“It’s definitely an issue that has to be considered,” said

sophomore Stephanie Gibbs, a political science major. “There are

other issues that I rank ahead of it, but it’s definitely an issue

I am considering going into the election.”

Beyond individual voters, GLBT organizations also feel that gay

rights are an issue that will heavily influence voters at the

polls.

“I think that gay rights, and gay marriage, are a huge issue

coming into this year’s election,” said Randy McCrillis, director

of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services. “The

candidate elected this year, Kerry or Bush, will have a huge effect

on the future of gay rights.”

Although the economy, health care and the war in Iraq have been

some of the main focuses of this year’s campaigns, some students,

such as sophomore Matt Leigh, said candidates are weary of the

negative implications from taking a stance on the issue of gay

rights.

“It’s one of those issues that divide the voting population,”

said Leigh, a natural resource management major. “And neither

candidate wants to add another issue that may cause them to lose

votes in the upcoming election.”

Both candidates were forced to address the issue of GLBT rights,

and more specifically the topic of gay marriage, during the last

presidential debate.

“In a free society people, consenting adults, can live the way

they want to live,” President Bush said in the debate. “And that’s

to be honored. But, I believe in the sanctity of marriage, I think

it’s very important that we protect marriage as an institution,

between a man and a woman.”

Sen. John Kerry echoed Bush’s sentiments regarding the sanctity

of marriage, but he refuted the president’s desire to amend the

Constitution to further define marriage.

“The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a

man and a woman,” Kerry said. “I believe marriage is between a man

and a woman. But I also believe that because we are the United

States of America, we’re a country with a great, unbelievable

Constitution, with rights that we afford people, that you can’t

discriminate. You can’t discriminate in the rights that you afford

people.”

Although Kerry said he does not support gay marriage, he states

on his Web site, www.johnkerry.com, that homosexuals should be

granted benefits that heterosexual couples receive through

marriage, including access to pensions, health insurance, family

medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor

benefits and other basic legal protections.

Bush’s official Web site, www.georgebush.com, does not contain

any information on his stance on civil unions or benefits he

believes should be granted to homosexual couples.

Beyond the presidential candidates themselves, the two major

political parties do not have an official stance on gay

marriage.

“The Republican Party does not support any legislation (on gay

marriage),” Bill Ray, spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party

said. “It is based on individual legislators, not the party

itself.”

Chris Gates, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, agreed

with Ray

“It’s an incredibly nuanced issue,” Gates said. “We do not,

however, believe that it is fair or right for one group of people

to be discriminated against based on their beliefs.”

Although gay rights and gay marriage are not currently regarded

as the primary issue of this election, McCrillis does not feel its

significance will be lost in the coming years.

“Gay rights will continue to be an issue in the future,”

McCrillis said, “(Gay rights are) an issue that will only gain

momentum and influence in the coming years.”

Despite the two parties’ stances on gay marriage, voters such as

Leigh feel that they will be forced to address the issue in the

future.

“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed as time goes on,”

Leigh said. “Homosexuals are a significant segment of our

population, and their needs need to be addressed.”

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