Cheater’s Guide to Obama vs. Romney on the Big Four “Gay Issues”

Over on their DC Decoder page, the Christian Science Monitor published a helpful guide on where both President Obama and Mittsy stand on what they at their newspaper call “gay issues” but what I like to call “issues that concern a group of U.S. citizens who are also humans.” The guide focuses on four issues that have become hot button for the LGBTQ community: marriage, adoption, HIV and AIDS research and anti-discrimination legislation. So yes, gay issues, I suppose so.

Most of the platform decoding by the Christian Science Monitor for these particular four issues is super accurate, but I feel like a few things may have been left out– The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as an example of anti-discrimination laws, for example, or Mittsy’s hypocrisy in stating that he’s for HIV and AIDS research, funding and medicine while at the same time wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides screenings and HIV education. The Christian Science Monitor does not endorse any political candidates and tries to report right down the middle, stating only things politicians have said themselves or things their representatives have said, which may explain why some of these questions and parallels remained unaddressed. So I, a person who is not afraid to admit a liberal bias, I have made a handy downloadable PDF taking a closer look at these four issues. The table is inspired by the Christian Science Monitor’s guide.

Now, by no means am I endorsing the idea that these are the only four “gay issues” out there. My gay self is also really concerned about things like the economy and the worth of my college degree, the caliber of my education and the education of others now and in the future, poverty and the extreme socio-economic wealth gaps in our society, the role of government in promoting and funding scientific exploration. Hell, I am just as interested in Presidential beer as the next non-homo (they released that recipe, by the way.) And also, the branding of HIV/AIDS research funding as a gay issue has a lot to do with our history as a community, but perhaps isn’t the most accurate way to bill such a concern today, as there are so many other populations affected. But I feel like The Christian Science Monitor might have knighted these issues “the gay issues” because these are the line-in-the-sand issues. The issues where, if on the wrong side of them, actually signify a direct attack on the gay community.

Yes, it is pretty shitty if none of us can get jobs that aren’t inside malls. But that’s shitty for everyone equally with no implied bias or hatred against LGBT folks specifically (maybe against people who aren’t in the top one percent of the wealth strata, and it may come down heavier on women, but still.) But if someone is, say, against gay marriage, that is direct assault on our standing as citizens. Or if they think two women can’t raise a well-adjusted child together, that’s a distinct herald of homophobia or of a strong prejudice against women. The issues that divide – are you for my existence as an equal part of this country, or against it? Yes, I take issue with these being labeled “the gay issues,” because it implies that no one else should care about them. Everyone should care about these four particular issues! However, I can usually tell if a person thinks I’m less than by their stance on these, the Fab Four. And guess which candidate comes out looking worse? I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count. Enjoy your handy downloadable table and feel free to suggest more “gay issues”.

Can’t download that handy downloadable table because you’re on your work computer/ your conservative brother’s computer/ the slowest internet connection known to queerdom? Here’s a snap shot of it followed by a text-only version!

A Picture of the Handy Downloadable Table, inspired by the Christian Science Monitor.

President Obama



For an inclusive view of marriage that includes all couples and all families, a view included in the Democratic Party platform. Has stopped defending DOMA.


Believes all qualified caregivers should be permitted to adopt regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion or marital status.

Funding for HIV/AIDS Research

Lifted a ban on HIV-positive travelers, thus allowing the International AIDS Conference to take place in the US, implemented the first US National AIDS Strategy, continued funding for PREPFAR to combat HIV and AIDS in developing countries

Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Expanded federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Launched, supports the inclusion of LGBT community in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Five words: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.




Against inclusive marriage; signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge supporting a national definition of marriage as one man, one woman. Also is not in favor of civil unions.

Also also. National Organization for Marriage is a hate group.


Supports states right to choose, which means states can choose to ignore other states’ rules  on adoption. Also believes well-adjusted children have two parents of opposite genders and that no other type of family will produce well-adjusted children, even when we know that’s not the case.

Funding for HIV/AIDS Research

Says he’s tough on HIV and AIDS and believes in funding for research, medicine and education, but has said repeatedly he would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides HIV screening and education.

Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Promised to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 1996, then flipped on it ten years later. Also, was unclear if he would have signed the Ledbetter Act into law. His party wouldn’t have, that’s for sure. Lilly Ledbetter says so herself.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


    • Not to sound super creepy, but… it’s you! The other day I was filling out all the things on my profile (like what books/music/movies I like) and discovered that you could click on those things to see who else likes them. I clicked on Regina Spektor and you were the first one to show up, which I thought was pretty cool since we have the same name.

  1. If I were American I’d be all over this. I hate the Conservative party here but I think the Republicans are worse. Good luck American friends!

  2. Bookmarking this next time someone says Obama “isn’t any better than Romney” on gay issues purely because he took so long to endorse equal marriage. That’s not the only issue (and I would say, it’s far from the most important one in terms of the number of people it effects – a lot of queers who don’t want to get married are still affected by job and housing discrimination, for example).

  3. I feel like this could be condensed to “Mittens will throw the entire queer community under the bus. And also women.” and “Obama has both a brain and a heart, thinks queer people and women are people too.

  4. Proud that Pres. Obama spent his teenage years in Hawaii…great highlights in comparison with “Mitsy”. lol I think it’s unfair that Pres. Obama is blamed for the current economic status… He is still cleaning up the mess Bush had made…

  5. I live in Britain, and we’re not perfect, but I used to live in the States and I’m really struck by the contrast between the two countries in terms of like ‘normalisation of gayness.’

    Ali was right to point out the bit about ‘are these just gay issues or human being issues’; describing ‘gay stuff as OTHER’ is really characteristic of America being not-yet-too-comfortable with this even if maybe sorta more tolerant.

  6. Excellent! Thanks for doing the legwork and providing us with such a nice resource.

    Seeing it spelled out so clearly, it makes that GOProud video that much more mind-boggling. I will never understand women or queers (or any marginalized group of individuals, for that matter) who vote for Republican candidates *against their very own self-interest*.

  7. This article made me curious to read more about the National Organization for Marriage. Let me just say, you should probably not go to their website unless you want to throw up in your mouth. They are just bad humans.

    • I went to their website a few months ago because I was researching the opposing side in order to strengthen my argument. I couldn’t even get through it. There wasn’t any point researching it for debate purposes, because there wasn’t any logic behind their points. It was all prejudice.

  8. “The issues that divide – are you for my existence as an equal part of this country, or against it? Yes, I take issue with these being labeled “the gay issues,” because it implies that no one else should care about them. Everyone should care about these four particular issues!” – Well said!

  9. First…I hate political debates…second, Romney was in office when Mass became the first state, ever, to legalize gay marraige before Canada and all the others countries and states. He doesn’t hate gays or women just like Obama doesn’t hate white people and business owners (both of those accusations are floating about).

    Just saying, not advocating or anything (though I am a republican lesbian *cough* Ill hide from the possible mean comments on that), there are a lot of promises made in a presidential races that are never put into action and thats true of both sides. Perhaps we can all just get along and admit our differences??? Ill love you all either way and I can’t wait for election season to end :)

    • Wasn’t gay marriage in MA brought about by the courts, though? Don’t think Mitt would have had anything to do with that.

      • You are completely right, Dina. However, Romney gave the order to begin issuing the documents (as was his job of course) and didn’t fight the issue. Supported it rather. Anywho, you are right but as much as he might not be as Pro Gay as other candidates he is no Michelle Bachman thank god! He isn’t an advocate, I admit.

    • While I’m sure Mr. Romney doesn’t hate anyone, he doesn’t support marriage equality. He’s on the record (for this current go ’round, anyway) as believing that marriage is one man and one woman, and doesn’t believe in civil unions. I’m not sure he supports legal recognition of any kind. The Massachusetts Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality in the commonwealth by, basically, saying that the law doesn’t say that two people of the same sex can’t get married. Nothing really that Romney could’ve done for or against it at the point, especially because the MA legislature was too afraid to actually pass a law either way. As for being a Republican, Callie, it’s cool. :) A reasonable person knows that one can be a Republican without committing to EVERYTHING the current Republican party claims to stand for. I myself claim no party affiliation. I realize that the current GOP isn’t what it used to be. It’s been taken over by folks who claim to be conservative (socially or otherwise), but I’m not sure they understand what that really means. Or maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand. I guess this is why I don’t like politics!

    • “He doesn’t hate gays or women just like Obama doesn’t hate white people and business owners (both of those accusations are floating about).”

      This is like the “report both sides full stop” media approach. Those things aren’t equivalencies (…equivalents? equivalent?). Obama hasn’t introduced laws targeting the rights and well-being specifically of white people and business owners. Actually, he’s helped small business owners quite a bit–taxes, health insurance–and he is making education more accessible, so business owners will have better-skilled American workers for jobs they can’t fill. And, three-quarters of all U.S. businesses have no payroll–mostly self-employed people, often sole proprietors who hire students or other part-time employees. Obama’s tax policy helps these people way more than Mitt’s.

      By the way, the white people thing is incredibly inflammatory and offensive. There’s no evidence-based reason to bring it up, so… Nobody is saying Mitt’s against women because he’s a man. We’re talking policy. Well, some of us are.

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