Meet the candidates: John McCain and gay rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

In October the Republican candidate for President of the United States gave a written response to questions for a leading American gay publication.

Asked by the Washington Blade: “what is your advice to gay rights activists as to what they should pursue and realistically expect to pass in 2009 with regard to the issues listed above?” he replied:

“My advice to all Americans is that it is time we came together to work in a bipartisan fashion to find real solutions to the challenges facing our country.

“I will be the President for all Americans — and will challenge every American to work with me to put our country first.”

He reiterated his view that “a child is best raised by a mother and father because of the unique contributions that they make together to the development of a child.”

Senator McCain also said he supports attempts to ban gay marriage in California and opposes laws against LGBT hate crimes.

On the ban on gays in the military, he told the Blade:

“I’m going to defer to our military commanders. So far they have told me it’s working. I’m willing to have the policy reviewed to make sure that’s the case.”

Senator McCain claimed that former Congressman Jim Kolbe is a personal friend who is gay.

“We first ran for Congress in Arizona the same year — in 1982,” he said.

“We served together starting in 1985. He’s a great American who spent two decades serving his country in Congress. Like me, he also served in Vietnam so we have a special kinship.

“When he came out in 1996, there was no question that I would stand by him. He’s a friend and a patriot and has been an admirable public servant, and a good example of why someone’s sexuality should not be relevant in public life.”

The Republican candidate said while he supports “the concept” of non-discrimination in employment he is unsure about a federal law protecting LGBT people in the workplace.

“We need to make sure legislation doesn’t lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions,” he said.

“What I can say now is I will give careful consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk, and confer with Congress before making decisions.”

Senator McCain said he “appreciated” the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans, the party’s gay caucus.

“I’ve had a friendly relationship with the organisation for almost 15 years,” he said.

“We don’t agree on every issue, but I respect their commitment to the GOP and I thank them for their support.

“Our party needs to focus on what unites us and I appreciate Log Cabin’s effort to make the GOP more inclusive.

“I have always been willing to discuss the important issues of the day with Log Cabin members and that will continue if I am elected. This is going to be a close election and we need support from every American.

“I hope gay and lesbian Americans will give full consideration to supporting me. The stakes are high in this election.

“I will have an inclusive administration and I will be a president for all Americans.”

Read the full McCain Q and A here.