Saturday, July 14, 2007

HRC Excludes, Then Includes Mike Gravel From Debate, Suspicions Fly

Mike Gravel is the most outspoken supporter of true equality for the LGBT community that is currently running for president. This support seems too much so for the marginalized HRC, who originally told him he was not welcome to participate in the debate they are sponsoring, then changed their mind.

"Los Angeles, CA -- The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Logo, a division of Viacom Inc.'s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks, today made additional announcements about the presidential candidate forum on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to take place in Los Angeles on August 9. After enthusiastic community response, former Senator Mike Gravel has been invited to participate. Confirmed candidates now include, in alphabetical order, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), former Senator John Edwards (D-NC), Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). The format of the program will also be extended to 90 minutes to ensure in-depth conversations with each candidate. Discussions are continuing with a variety of journalists and a moderator for the forum will be announced in the near future.

The story they have told people is that he had not raised enough money to be part of the debate, even though he has already attended debates for CNN, PBS, NBC and at the NAACP where the size of his coffers did not seem to matter. Can someone not have enough money to inject the exact opinions your organization is supposed to be trying to support?!

Grace Ross ran a campaign for governor of Massachusetts on a shoe string budget, and yet was given the dignity of participating in all the major debates. She gave the LGBT community the valuable exposure we so desperately need in order for people to see us as humans....equals. Her campaign was not in vane, it provided us with an historic act of courage, and gave us the opportunity for people to stop and think about what is right.

People can say what they want about Mike Gravel's chances, but for a group who supposedly holds identical views on the issue of LGBT rights, it flies in the face of logic why they would not see his candidacy as an opportunity to help spread their own message. The exposure alone is worth millions of dollars, and I hope that the people of the LGBT community and their supporters call HRC out on this serious lack of logic. Our community is already a minority, if we allow ourselves to be further fractured by the very groups we are entrusting, we may well see our rights start to slide backwards. Don't give your money to anyone without letting your opinions be heard, and if you don't voice your opinions, you're a damn fool.

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