Disappointed gays unlikely to shun Democrats at polls

Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:56pm EDT
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By Nichola Groom

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California (Reuters Life!) - Gay voters, disappointed with President Barack Obama's failure to do away with a ban on gays in the military, have pared back funding for Democrats in the midterm elections but are unlikely to abandon them at the polls on Tuesday.

One of the most vocal and affluent groups of the Democratic base, gay voters say they have received nothing in return for decades of loyalty to the party, even after two years of Democratic leadership in both the White House and Congress.

"We voted for Democrats. We gave them the House and the Senate, and what did we get?" said John Aravosis, editor of the left-leaning blog AMERICAblog.

Disillusionment in the gay community with both Obama and his party is palpable. Obama, who received strong support from gays in his 2008 election, says he supports ending the ban on gays openly serving in the military. But his administration is now challenging attempts by a federal judge to impose an end to the ban, saying it is up to Congress, not the courts.

In addition to scrapping the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" ban, gay voters had hoped Democrats would use their power to pass a law that would make it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and to repeal a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

With none of those goals accomplished, gay rights group GetEQUAL last month began urging gays to withhold donations to the Democratic National Committee and other party groups. AMERICAblog has a similar initiative.

Those activists hope to send a message to Democrats who depend on gay voters' wallets even more than their votes.

"At the national level, there are just not enough gays and lesbians to be politically powerful" except in very close races, Stanford University Professor Gary Segura said.   Continued...

<p>Lieutenant Dan Choi, dismissed from the U.S. Army for admitting he was gay, chants during a rally outside the Beverly Hilton hotel where U.S. President Barack Obama was attending a Democratic party fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California in this May 27, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>