Gregg Homme
    First Published: June 2003
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

As we all know, whoever ends up in the White House can have a profound effect on us here in the UK. If George W. Bush gets re-elected next year, commentators fear that his government will get even more right-wing and repressive in the US and we'll be dragged in to into more wars like Iraq. One man who hopes to defeat him is Democrat contender Howard Dean who as a State Governor has been an outspoken champion of gay rights. OutUK US correspondent Rex Wockner caught up with him campaigning in a gay bar in San Diego California on Friday night.
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor who signed the state's groundbreaking gay civil-unions law, campaigned in a gay bar here June 27.

Following a rally in nearby Trolley Barn Park in the University Heights neighbourhood, Dean headed over to Bourbon Street, an upmarket gay bar to mingle and address supporters and donors.


"I'm the only person that I ever hear on the campaign trail who brings up gay and lesbian issues in front of heterosexual crowds," Dean said.
Photo by Rex Wockner.
"This campaign is about taking back our country. This President has appealed to the most hateful parts of human beings. I couldn't believe it on Thursday when Justice Scalia rendered an opinion from the bench that was the same thing, essentially, that Rick Santorum had said two or three weeks earlier. And Justice Scalia is the person that George Bush mentioned is his choice to be Supreme Court chief justice if Rehnquist steps down."

Santorum, a Republican U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, recently likened gay sex to bigamy, polygamy, adultery and incest, and said gay marriage would be "the death knell of the American family." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his minority opinion castigating the court for legalizing gay sex June 26, said: "State laws against bigamy,same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are ... sustainable only in light of Bowers' validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today's decision. ... What a massive disruption of the current social order, therefore, the overruling of Bowers entails."

In its 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court said it was permissible for states to ban gay sex. The new ruling overruled Bowers, declaring gay-sex bans unconstitutional.

Dean said Bush and his friends, like Scalia, are "appealing to bigotry, appealing to racism, appealing to homophobia."

"We have to stand up against that, because this country will never be as strong as it can be unless every single one of us can walk down the street with pride no matter who we are, and not be ashamed or worried," Dean said. "The reason Democrats don't win elections is because we're so busy trying to be like Republicans that we don't stand for anything and then people don't support us."

The Bush administration is composed of "right-wing ideologues who do not care about thoughts and facts," Dean said. "All they care about is their ideology. They don't even care about the United States of America. Their principle task is to maintain their hold on power for their few, privileged, wealthy friends and the rest of us can suffer and pay for their tax cuts. I've had enough of this, I've had enough of the hate, I've had enough of the bigotry, I've had enough of the divisiveness."

Dean urged gays and lesbians to use the Internet to help him win.

"I need you on the Internet talking to your friends all over the country," he said. "I need you to sign up at DeanForAmerica.com. We'll send you stuff and when we do, you send that out on your e-mail list. There's probably 60 people here and if you each have a hundred people on your e-mail list, that's 6,000 people that you'll contact on your e-mail list.

"Your say-so is more important than my say-so," he said. "If they know you and they like you and you send them an e-mail saying, 'This guy's a decent guy, you ought to vote for him for President,' that makes a big difference."

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