Sen. John McCain Outlines Inclusive Vision for Country in Interview with LGBT Newspaper

Historic Interview Includes Call for National AIDS Strategy and Willingness to have "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Reviewed

October 1, 2008 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(Washington, DC) – In a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Blade, a leading gay newspaper, Sen. John McCain reiterated his longstanding support for gay and lesbian Americans and asked for their votes in November.

"This is a great day for everyone who cares about basic fairness for gay and lesbian Americans," said Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon. "Sen. McCain's outreach to gay and lesbian voters is unprecedented from a GOP presidential candidate. That's why Log Cabin was proud to endorse him. We know his inclusive vision for America will draw strong support from LGBT voters."

"The gay left has been trying to define John McCain as another George W. Bush on gay issues. His words in this interview further undermine that ridiculous argument," said Sammon.

The wide-ranging interview touched on many issues, including the Senator's personal friendships with gay people, his hiring policies, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, among others.

Sen. McCain calls for the development of a National AIDS Strategy to combat the growing epidemic in the United States. He also says he's willing to review the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning gay Americans from serving honestly in our nation's military.

"We applaud Sen. McCain for calling for the development of a National AIDS Strategy so we can more effectively fight this epidemic," said Sammon. "We also applaud Sen. McCain for showing a willingness to review the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. This law is harming our nation's security in a time of war by turning away qualified, patriotic Americans from serving-simply because of their sexual orientation."

On whether he'd nominate a gay Supreme Court justice, cabinet member or other official, Sen. McCain said:

"I have always hired the most qualified and competent people - regardless of their political party, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation."

On the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, which bans gay and lesbian Americans from serving honestly in the military, McCain said:

"I promise to give full consideration to any legislation that reaches my desk. On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," 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, but at the end of the day, I'm going to rely on the commanders who will be impacted by a change in the law."

On the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), McCain said:

"Gay and lesbian people should not face discrimination in the workplace. I've always practiced that in my hiring. I select the best people, regardless of their sexual orientation. I support the concept of non-discrimination in hiring for gay and lesbian people.

However, we need to make sure legislation doesn't lead to a flood of frivolous lawsuits or infringe on religious institutions. 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."

On receiving the Log Cabin Republicans endorsement for President:

"I appreciate Log Cabin's support. I've had a friendly relationship with the organization for almost 15 years. 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."

On the HIV/AIDS crisis and its disproportionate affect on gay men:

"It's important to settle on a national strategy - with input from state, local and federal government officials; along with the private sector, doctors, drug companies and AIDS advocates. Let's roll up our sleeves and put together a National AIDS Strategy for more effectively addressing the domestic challenges.

Recent CDC statistics show that gay men continue to be strongly impacted by the disease, and the disease is disproportionately affecting people of color. Our prevention and treatment efforts must be improved to address these challenges."

On his friendship with openly gay former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ):

"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."