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Obama vs. Romney: Where the candidates stand on LGBT issues

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Monday, November 5, 2012
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The Washington Blade breaks down some of the most frequently cited LGBT issues and where each Presidential candidate stands.

Marriage Equality

BARACK OBAMA: SUPPORTS — In May, President Obama ended his 19-month “evolution” and expressed his support for marriage rights for gay couples.

MITT ROMNEY: OPPOSES — Mitt Romney has said he opposes same-sex marriage as well as civil unions that offer the same legal benefits of marriage. He’s campaigned on support for a Federal Marriage Amendment, saying states shouldn’t have different rules with respect to marriage.

Mitt Romney (left) and Barack Obama.
File photos, by Michael Key, Washington Blade

DOMA Repeal

OBAMA: SUPPORTS — Obama endorsed legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act known as the Respect for Marriage Act. The Obama administration also no longer defends the Defense of Marriage Act in court and has said laws related to sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.

ROMNEY: OPPOSES — Romney supports DOMA and has pledged to resume defending the law in court should he win the White House.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

OBAMA: OPPOSES — In 2010, Obama signed legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which was lifted from the books nearly a year later following certification. Still, openly transgender service is prohibited and the Pentagon has yet to make administrative changes to afford certain benefits to gay service members with same-sex partners.

ROMNEY: SUPPORTS — Romney once expressed support for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but his most recent statement on the issue, made December 2011, is that he doesn’t plan to return to that policy now that the law has been repealed.

Uniting American Families Act

OBAMA: MOSTLY SUPPORTS — The Obama administration has taken steps to ensure bi-national same-sex couples can stay together in the United States — most recently issuing a memorandum saying foreign nationals without legal status in same-sex relationships should be low priority for deportation cases. The White House has suggested Obama wants to include language for bi-national couples in comprehensive immigration reform. Obama has yet to endorse the Uniting American Families Act, but has expressed support for its general principles.

ROMNEY: UNKNOWN — Romney hasn’t publicly addressed the issue of bi-national same-sex couples, but has said he supports no amnesty for undocumented immigrants and wants to impose a policy where immigrants without legal status will want to self-deport.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act

OBAMA: SUPPORTS — Obama is a long-time supporter of ENDA, but the White House said he won’t issue at this time an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

ROMNEY: UNKNOWN — Romney’s last stated position on ENDA was in 2007 when he said states could implement workplace non-discrimination policies related to sexual orientation, but he doesn’t support federal legislation. He hasn’t addressed the legislation over the course of the 2012 campaign.

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