WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the first time ever, all of the announced Democratic candidates for president have stated their support for extending federal benefits and equal tax treatment, currently only available to heterosexual married couples, to same-sex couples who are parties to a union legally recognized by their state. Additionally, the candidates expressed unanimous support for extending federal benefits for same-sex couples and their children.
Democratic presidential candidates (left to right) former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
This groundbreaking and unified position of all Democratic candidates would override Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which provides that for federal purposes, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
“These candidates have expressed a unified belief and echoed the majority of the American people by stating that same-sex couples deserve federal recognition,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It is extremely encouraging to finally see the focus of the debate around the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans center around extending the American value of equality to all people. 2008 is not 2004, and the American people have already put out the warning that divisive, wedge politics that pit neighbor against neighbor will not be tolerated.”
The questionnaire focused on the following questions of importance to the LGBT community:
• Federal recognition of state-level same sex unions
• Employment Non Discrimination Act
• Federal hate crimes legislation
• Support for marriage equality
• Support for civil unions
• Extending federal benefits to same-sex couples and their children
• Extending coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act
• Extending access to survivor benefits
• Equal tax treatment
• Domestic partner benefits for same-sex employees
• Adoption/foster parent issues
• Immigration equality
• Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
• HIV/AIDS funding
• Comprehensive sex education
Among the 2008 Democratic Presidential candidates responding to the questionnaire are Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, Senator John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.