It’s a first for a Republican presidential nominee. Sen. John McCain participated in a Q&A with the Washington Blade, a leading gay newspaper. In the historic interview, Sen. McCain reiterated his longstanding support for gay and lesbian Americans and spoke movingly of his friendships with gay people, including former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe.
McCain: When he came out in 1996, there was no question that I would stand by him. He’s a friend and a patriot and has been an admirable public servant, and a good example of why someone’s sexuality should not be relevant in public life.
On openly gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, who tried to retake control of United Flight 93:I had the humbling experience of speaking at Mark Bingham’s funeral after the attacks on Sept. 11. Mark had supported me during the 2000 campaign. Unfortunately, I barely knew him, but our country learned about him after 9-11. He was one of the heroes on 9-11 who tried to retake control of United Flight 93. His efforts along with the other brave patriots could have saved hundreds of lives. I honor and respect Mark. Memories of his sacrifice and the other victims from 9-11 motivate me everyday to make sure we keep our nation safe from the terrorists who want to attack our way of life because freedom is a threat to their message of hate.
On whether he’d nominate a gay Supreme Court justice, cabinet member or other official:I have always hired the most qualified and competent people — regardless of their political party, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
On the HIV/AIDS crisis and its disproportionate affect on gay men:
It’s important to settle on a national strategy — with input from state, local and federal government officials; along with the private sector, doctors, drug companies and AIDS advocates. Let’s roll up our sleeves and put together a National AIDS Strategy for more effectively addressing the domestic challenges. Recent CDC statistics show that gay men continue to be strongly impacted by the disease, and the disease is disproportionately affecting people of color. Our prevention and treatment efforts must be improved to address these challenges.
On whether his administration would be willing to meet with and work with gay leaders:I have met with leaders of Log Cabin Republicans in my campaigns. I am always willing to listen to all viewpoints and that will continue if I become President.
On Log Cabin’s endorsement of McCain for President:
I appreciate Log Cabin’s support. I’ve had a friendly relationship with the organization for almost 15 years. We don’t agree on every issue, but I respect their commitment to the GOP and I thank them for their support. Our party needs to focus on what unites us and I appreciate Log Cabin’s effort to make the GOP more inclusive. I have always been willing to discuss the important issues of the day with Log Cabin members and that will continue if I am elected. This is going to be a close election and we need support from every American.
On seeking the votes of gay and lesbian Americans in this election:
I hope gay and lesbian Americans will give full consideration to supporting me. The stakes are high in this election. I will have an inclusive administration and I will be a president for all Americans.