The HRC/Logo Presidential Forum just ended. First, I really liked this type of forum. The one-on-one rather than the free-for-all format got directly to the issues and questions. Having been at the YearlyKos Presidential Forum last week and watching the AFL-CIO this week, it doesn't serve the issues but the differences.
Hands down the crowd present was a Hillary crowd. She has a history with and a support base with HRC. The other candidates seemed to be working with that in mind, at least Obama and Edwards were. Gravel and Kucinich have the most support for the LGBT community and retold their histories about that. They were the only two who support gay marriage.
Edwards, for the first time that I've seen him, did not give a stump speech. He actually answered questions directly. It was refreshing. He cleared up his opposition to the marriage issue as being one of his religion. He said it wasn't really. It was personal.
Obama relied on metaphor as he usually does. He spoke to the issues that were asked and brought personal understanding to it. He compared LGBT struggles to Civil Rights. He also addressed the problem between the LGBT and African-American communities.
Richardson looked and acted very uncomfortable. He relied on his record as examples of his support for LGBT. It is to his credit, but he also identified LGBT as a lifestyle. Not a really good move on his part.
I suppose the most disappointing thing is that none of the major candidates answered the question about why they are against marriage. They are all for full benefits of domestic partnership in civil unions. If they are for this, what is the difference between civil union and marriage? Politics, plain and simple. I think former Senator Gravel's comment was telling, "Five years from now the marriage issue will be a non-issue in the next presidential election." We can see it happening now. Slowly, but it's happening.
Personally, I have recently made a tentative decision about which of the candidates I can support. I'm waiting to make it official since I still need more time to clarify my thoughts on it. I just have to say that the choice is a real surprise to me.
You can visit the Forum website here: The Visible Vote '08
[On a side-note: I may be on the verge of changing my personal opposition to the marriage issue. If you've read along for a while, my argument is two-part: 1) it has detracted from broader and more important LGBT issues; & 2) marriage itself is an archaic institution and doesn't support or reflect the society we live in now. I may just be about to agree with Rep. Barney Frank when he changed his mind about the issue and said that you have to draw a line in the sand some place.]