Just last week, Barack Obama had a frat boy moment, where he felt it necessary to remind the audience at Howard University that he was indeed heterosexual. Now we hear that Bill Richardson, who has been aggressively courting gay money and votes, freely used the Spanish equivalent of "faggot" while on shock jock Don Imus' (former) show.
This is incredibly disappointing to me. Governor Richardson has seemed to work very hard to build a solid record on LGBT issues. He worked against the 'Family Discrimination Amendment' in New Mexico, he advocated civil unions in his state, and he's made a respectable effort to win gay support.
I even attended a breakfast that his campaign had in Washington to woo gay supporters. I was impressed by his willingness to specifically address gay issues, which many Democrats find uncomfortable, even with an all gay audience. He even said during that breakfast that he was going to be on the phone that day to lobby legislators in New Mexico to pass civil union legislation that was under consideration.
However, when we hear things like this, it reminds us that we still face huge obstacles. We lack many of the legal protections afforded to the rest of the population. Even when we win those rights, responsibilities, and protections, we'll still have to work to win the hearts and minds of the rest of America. We need political leaders to be a part of that process. When they make comments like this, we take a step back from achieving equality.
Richardson contends that, since this happened a year ago, that it's unfair to talk about it now. If he had just apologized and kept his mouth shut, then maybe it would go away. Unfortunately, he felt it necessary to offer further justification by using the time issue. That stinks to me.
I think Governor Richardson is a good person and a great governor. There is no room in this race for any Democrat who harbors any kind of homophobic ideas. It's 2007 and the time for discrimination in any form is over.