Friday, August 10, 2007

Which Candidate For President Has Best GLBT Record?

If you think the answer to that question is one of the Democratic candidates for president, you would be wrong. It's the front-runner for the 2008 GOP nomination, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani. Newsday's Tom Brune uncovers the fact that Guiliani, as the number three official in the Reagan Justice Department, authorized the first hiring of an openly gay lawyer for a post requiring a security clearance. Brune writes:

Attorney Gregory Baldwin, now in private practice in Miami, remembers it well.

Being openly gay lost him his job on the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 1980s, he said. Its chairman and the CIA said he was a security risk, under post-World War II policy, because he could be blackmailed.

A colleague helped him land a temporary job as an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami, Baldwin said, but when the U.S. attorney there learned about his sexual orientation, he moved Baldwin from narcotics to money-laundering cases.

Baldwin wanted the job to be permanent and needed a security clearance. The FBI vetted him. He flew to Washington for a grilling."It finally dawned on me, I was the first one," he said. "I wasn't trying to prove a political point or further the cause. I was just looking for a job."

A 1982 memo alerted associate attorney general Giuliani about the Vietnam War vet, a divorced father of two, top attorney and "admitted homosexual." He asked Justice Department legal counsel Theodore Olson for an opinion.

Olson sent back a memo citing 1960s lawsuits, a 1975 federal personnel code and a new policy on security clearances. He said Baldwin could not be denied a job, unless being gay affected his ability to do the job, and that Baldwin likely could win a lawsuit if he were not hired.

Olson gave Giuliani an out: Hiring a practicing homosexual would indicate a disrespect for Florida's anti-sodomy law, putting the Justice Department in an awkward spot.

But Baldwin got the job.

Olson, now a senior Giuliani campaign aide, called it the "right thing to do" and a "big step.""Once we wrote that opinion, it was binding on the executive branch and it set a precedent," Olson said.

Marty Steinberg, the lawyer who helped Baldwin get the job, praises Giuliani and Olson."They did the right thing," he said, "and that was not an easy thing to do in that era."

Baldwin's hiring was just the first of many actions Guiliani has taken in both his public and private life to promote equality for gays and lesbians. He pushed for a domestic partner and hate crime laws in New York as mayor. "'Rudy Giuliani is near the top of the list,' said Matt Foreman, head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who was an activist in New York when Giuliani was mayor." "The challenge for those of us in the gay rights movement is to look at two things: an elected official's accomplishment while in office and whether they affirm the humanity of gay people," said Foreman. "'On that score, Mayor Giuliani has a good record,' he said, citing the city domestic partnership law, state hate crimes law, public support and appointments of gay judges." Foreman tells Brune Guiliani is very comfortable around gays, noting that he marched in gay pride parades and shared an apartment with a gay couple.

I've heard a lot of Democrats pounce on Guiliani because he supports only civil unions and not marriage rights for gays and lesbians. While those same folks are fawning over candidates like Obama and Clinton, only Guiliani has a proven record. Actions are after all lounder than words. Bill Clinton hardly uttered the word "gay" during the many years he served as Arkansas governor, but he was the savior to end all saviors to many in the GLBT community when he
sought the presidency in 1992 making all kinds of promises. He gave us DADT and DOMA. Again, actions speak louder than words. Other than Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), none of the leading Democratic candidates can point to anything they did as a government executive to advance gay rights as Guiliani has.

Watching HRC's president, Joe Solmonese, question Clinton at last night's Presidential Forum, it was obvious he and the Clinton campaign were trying to orchestrate a remaking of the Clinton image on GLBT rights. Judging from the reaction around the blogosphere today, it appears there were plenty of Kool-Aid drinkers. But if you don't know by this time who Clinton will throw overboard at the first opportune time so she can achieve personal power for herself, you haven't learned much from history. Democrat or Republican, Guiliani is the best hope for advocates of GLBT rights in 2008. Imagine diffusing gay bashing as a wedge issue in our political campaigns. Then think of electing a Republican president who has a proven record on GLBT rights, but who also is the only Republican candidate with a proven record of reducing crime and taxes while governing our nation's largest city.

15 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

I'm glad that in the GOP line-up of white men running for President, there is one that isn't a rightwing loonie on gay issues...

How 'bout that Iraq War, Mr. Giuliani?

Anonymous said...

Wilson, you are banned from this blog!

You keep obfuscating it with your smoke-screen!

The bottom line is that you now live in South Gary, Indiana. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, if you had EVER served your country...you would understand that reconstruction is a requirement of war & the Geneva Convention. One cannot take over a country and leave immediately with "might makes right" as the law of the land. That would only restore the likes of Hussein.

Wilson, just go Trespass through the tulips...and leave the defense of this great country to the patriots.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, even though you are TRESPASSING on this blog, how did you serve your country?

(Editorial reserved)

Wilson46201 said...

"trespass through the tulips"? What exactly does that mean?

Why does that anonymous deranged stalker keep trying to highjack threads here?

Anonymous said...

Wilson, you are a TRESPASSER, deranged is true, and you continue to blog when told not to.

You must be a Democrap, as they always infringe on the rights of others!

Wilson46201 said...

Well, my deranged stalker has certainly highjacked & trashed a possibly interesting thread about Rudi and LGBT issues...

Brian said...

Wilson,

You have other things to worry about other than GLBT records. You need to pony up and pay those delinquent taxes.

Brian

Wilson46201 said...

My property taxes are fully paid up weeks ago. I even paid the original 2007 billed amount as a good citizen.

Gary: your blog is being taken over by the loonies ... they want to talk about me instead of LGBT & Rudi...

Brian said...

Wilson,

You are so full of it...go the indy.gov site....search center township...enter your name....Wilson Allen.....look at that...deliquencies. Just shameful Wilson.
Now, if this is incorrect, an upstanding citizen, such as yourself, would get this corrected immediately, right? Also, you might want to tell your pal Mr. Drummer, he should belly up to the table and pay his deliquencies as well.

Anonymous said...

Brian, please...interesting though it may be, stick to the subject...

Rudy did an admirable job for our community while he was mayor. The thing is, I won't judge candidates based solely on their views toward our community. That's stupid.

And the rest of his record sucks. Plus, he's obviously an egomaniac, flaming a--hole, and doesn't get it on the war.

Not to worry. He won't get the Republican nomination. They need to open up their tent, but, for the time being, wingnuts control your party, Gary.

But it is fun to watch him poke a sharp stick in the eyes of the far right. They're squiriming like a dog with his ass full of fleas. And given all their wedge wacking, it's high time they got some of their own medicine.

Anonymous said...

Joe Solmonese did try to hijack the Q/A tone Thurs. night--you're right, Gary. And he's firmly in the Clinton camp.

Joe used to work for Julia, ya know...

Bil Browning said...

It's an interesting story, but there's a lot more to it than was quoted in the story. Since Matt Foreman contributes to The Bilerico Project, he's commented on the piece there after I blogged the story a few days ago... He opens with this:

The problem with any media story is that it only takes slivers of what a person says around a sliver of an idea. I'm not misquoted in the article, but as Andy Humm relates, it does not reflect the entire story of Mr. Guiliani's record as mayor or his current positions on LGBT issues. (You can see where he currently stands - poorly - on our candidate analysis). I also expressed deep frustration with Mr. Guiliani's backpeddling on so many of our issues since he's been running for president. I also expressed my personal emnity for Mr. Giuliani because of how he literally destroyed the life of a good friend of mine through his abuse of power while he was US Attorney.

Advance Indiana said...

Again, Bil, actions speak louder than words. The highest scores on your analysis go to Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich. What did either do when they were Gov. of Alaska or Mayor of Cleveland? The leadership of the GLBT will not lend any support to Guiliani because he's a Republican, pure and simple. They would rather bite off their nose to spite their face on that score. GLBT rights will be advanced much further by his election than any of those candidate you score on the Democratic side if history offers any guidance.

John M said...

The only way Rudy Giuliani will be elected president is if he wins the Republican nomination. The only way he will win the Republican nomination is if he convinces the hard right Republican base that he won't lift a finger for your community, Gary. Politicians are politicians. It wouldn't have been expedient for the Clintons to be more aggressive about gay rights than they were. As unsatisfactory as DADT must have been, even that split-the-baby move was treated as a sign of the apocalypse by the hard right. I'm not saying the Clintons should not have done more, but given the political climate in the early 1990s and then-existing attitudes on gay rights, it would have been difficult. Hell, they raised hackle in the Republican party merely by nominating an openly gay person for a high ranking position (Roberta Achtenberg, or something?)

On the flip side, it took absolutely zero political courage for Rudy Giuliani to be strongly pro-gay rights as mayor of overwhelmingly liberal, overwhelmingly Democratic NYC. It would have taken more political courage for him to have taken the opposite position. I don't know what's in his heart, or in the hearts of WJC or HRC. I do know that to so much as lift a finger for your community as president, Rudy will have to expend enormous political capital and would alienate the vast majority of his party's house and senate caucuses. "If history is any guide" is a pretty big qualifier in this case. The mayor of NYC, even the Republican mayor of NYC, has a much different constituency than a Republican president. If Rudy wins the presidency, it will be because of votes and dollars from people who overwhelmingly oppose your cause.