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Supervisor tapped for Obama’s LGBT council

By rgordon
Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 5:35 pm in Uncategorized.

San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon was tapped Thursday by presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to serve on his campaign’s National LGBT Leadership Council.

The list of 58 leaders includes politicians, professors, clergy, business leaders, activists and even Chris Hughes, a co-founder of the social networking Web site Facebook.

Barack Obama“I’m proud to have the support of these LGBT leaders who work each day for equality and justice, whether it’s educating their communities or reforming their government,” Obama said in a statement. “These Americans, like all Americans, are ready to change the divisive politics in Washington so we can make real the promises of equality and justice that are at the heart of our nation’s founding.”

The announcement preceded Thursday night’s presidential forum on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues hosted in Los Angeles by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group, and Logo, a television network aimed at lesbian and gay viewers. (Obama is shown speaking at the forum in this Associated Press photo above.)

Gordon, who is gay, said he was tapped for the LGBT council after agreeing about two months ago to serve – at the invitation of former gubernatorial candidate and state controller Steve Westly – on Obama’s California steering committee.

As a member of the council, Gordon said he will likely engage in outreach efforts in the LGBT community, attend gatherings on behalf of the campaign, and provide input as to “how the campaign can make itself available to the gay and lesbian community.”

There was something different about Obama that inspired Gordon to get more deeply involved, he said.

“All of the candidates on the Democratic side are generally responsive to what I think are some of the key concerns for the gay and lesbian community,” Gordon said, citing elimination of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allowing civil unions. “I also found Barack Obama to be an inspirational leader who just brings a fresh perspective and a fresh vitality. I’m very much wanting a change in the White House.”

Obama’s campaign, he said, is “really reaching out in a new and different direction” tapping into not just the LGBT community (which even has its own section on Obama’s Web site) but other constituencies such as women, people of faith and students.

Thursday’s forum featured Obama and five other Democratic presidential candidates – New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel – who tackled issues such as same-sex marriage and employment benefit rights.

Obama spoke of the struggles that his white mother and black father faced when they married in the early 1960s, something that Gordon felt especially resonates with the LGBT community.

“I felt like, there’s somebody who really knows what love is,” Gordon said, “and could understand the frustration that gay and lesbian have experienced by not having their relationships recognized.”

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