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Presidential Forum on Marriage Equality

It was billed as the “HRC Foundation and Logo Presidential Forum” but you could have just as easily called it the “HRC and Logo Presidential Forum on Marriage Equality. But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

According to Donna Rose’s blog:

“I have been told by people who would know that a decision has already been made that each candidate will be given a “T” question (their words, not mine). When I sent my list of questions this morning (the deadline was noon), part of the response I got back was that they particularly “like the more general ones because it requires them to be more forthcoming.”

For the record, there was ONE question during the entire forum that was a “T” question. Joe Solmonese asked John Edwards the following question:

“Susan Stanton is in our audience tonight. She was, for 17 years, the city manager in Largo, Florida. She did her job well; she was respected and admired. And when it was revealed that she was transgender, she was fired. So my question for you is if a member of your staff came to you and told you that they were transgender and that they were thinking of transitioning, how would you react to that? And who in your life has influenced what your reaction might be?”

Wow, that was a really hard hitting question! Can you say…


What did you expect him to say? “Well, I’d fire her too! Damn trannies don’t belong on this planet!”

The rest of the forum seemed to center around marriage equality. The people asking the questions pounded each candidate with marriage equality questions, and only in response to those questions did the candidates talk about other issues such as passage of ENDA and the hate crimes bill. Frankly, I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? Both ENDA and the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act are bills that are on the verge of being voted on. There are no pending marriage equality bills on the federal level that I’m aware of. Why pound marriage into the ground when a significant percentage of the electorate is against it? According to a recent gallop poll, only 26% of Americans are against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there wasn’t mention of the wide American support of the hate crimes bill and the coming presidential veto.

The Real ID act will go in effect soon, why no questions about it? Without changes in the Real ID act and without protections in ENDA, transgender people are at even a higher risk of being stigmatized and marginalized in the workplace.
There are so many questions that that weren’t asked. All in all, tonight was a missed opportunity for anyone that cares about any other issue besides marriage equality or the bark beetle infestation of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Written By

Marti Abernathey is the founder of the Transadvocate and the previous managing editor. Abernathey has worn many different hats, including that of podcaster, activist, and radiologic technologist. She's been a part of various internet radio ventures such as TSR Live!, The T-Party, and The Radical Trannies, TransFM, and Sodium Pentathol Sunday. As an advocate she's previously been involved with the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance, Rock Indiana Campaign for Equality, and the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition. She's taken vital roles as a grass roots community organizer in The Indianapolis Tax Day Protest (2003), The Indy Pride HRC Protest (2004), Transgender Day of Remembrance (2004), Indiana's Witch Hunt (2005), and the Rally At The Statehouse (the largest ever GLBT protest in Indiana - 3/2005). In 2008 she was a delegate from Indiana to the Democratic National Convention and a member of Barack Obama's LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Abernathey currently hosts the Youtube Channel "The T-Party with Marti Abernathey."

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