Kerry-Edwards Ticket — The Most Gay-Supportive in American History

July 06, 2004

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

Washington, DC., July 6, 2004 — John Kerry's pick for this running mate, North Carolina senator and former presidential hopeful John Edwards, has a record of strong support for key issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute.

The Task Force analyzed Sen. Edwards' positions on 13 key issues important to LGBT people and found that he was supportive in nine categories, his positions were unclear in three others. However, while Edwards is against a Federal Marriage Amendment, he does not support extending equal marriage rights to same sex couples.

"John Kerry and John Edwards make up the most gay-supportive national ticket in American history." said Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "But, in order for them to win the enthusiastic support of the gay community, a critical part of their base, they will have to take a strong and bold stand on supporting our civil rights."

Foreman continued, "We call upon Sen. Edwards to use his strong southern and populist roots and speak out against the ugly, divisive and anti-gay campaigns being waged all across the country in the guise of "protecting" marriage. We need him to call these tactics what they are - partisan, debasing, and profoundly un-American."

The Task Force said Sen. Edwards supported non-discrimination protections for gay people, inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crime statutes, ending the ban on gay citizens serving in the military, and supports domestic partnership benefits. The analysis was based on voting records, public statements, and policy platforms*.

With the presidential contenders locked in a statistical dead heat, both sides are trying to energize their bases of support. For the Democrats, the gay community is a key ingredient to victory. According to exit polls**, the gay, lesbian, and bisexual vote comprises at least 5% of the general election vote and traditionally votes heavily (70%+) democratic. Only the African American and Jewish communities vote more solidly Democratic.

*For more detailed information, please see Potential 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential Running Mates, by Task Force policy analyst Alain Dang, available on our website at

**Exit pollsters have thus far not asked a transgender exit poll question, therefore the Task Force can make no comment on the size or outcome of the transgender vote.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.