As a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, I have benefited from the tireless work of S.C. Equality. It is in the context of my respect that I balk at its endorsement of Hillary Clinton, which implies the unequivocal superiority of her record on S.C. Equality’s issues. That record is absent.
Bernie Sanders has supported anti-discrimination legislation for us since the 1970s. He was an early supporter of civil unions, and was a champion both against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and for same-sex marriage in Vermont in 2009. This, despite his own identity as a white heterosexual man and secular Jew.
Clinton’s record is comparatively dismal, and her contentions were decidedly moral in nature. She supported the 1996 law. She said in 2004 that she considered marriage a “sacred bond between a man and a woman.” She disagreed with the State Department’s 2010 decision to replace the descriptor “mother and father” on passport forms. Not until 2013 did she reveal unconditional support for same-sex marriage — so late in the day that it came at no political cost.
Sanders’ history on these and other civil rights will count as a strike against him for some conservatives. But my concern is to set the record straight: Clinton is not the “champion” for equality that the Human Rights Campaign and others have touted her to be.
Chase W. Nelson