Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He has served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 1, 2005.
Question: How do the Republicans and Democrats compare on LGBT issues?
Neil Giuliano: Well the Republican Party is still very controlled by factions within the party that are religiously based and use religious based discrimination to justify their very anti-gay and defamatory comments and behavior towards the LGBT community. Those leaders within the Republican Party still have that kind of influence on the party. You need only look at what went on in the Republican primaries to note that kind of influence. Now it’s of significance that there were- that John McCain got through those primaries, but if he had only been running against one very, very rightwing, religiously based conservative, instead of a couple, that might not have been the case. So the dynamic worked very interestingly. It’s fantastic and it is groundbreaking that the LGBT community’s relationship with leadership in the Democratic Party has brought us to a place where we had all of the major candidates for the Democratic nomination come before an LGBT audience, talk about LGBT issues, have it broadcast on an LGBT television network; I mean, that really shows a sense of arrival for the LGBT community as a political force, as a group of influence within that sphere. And so that was just I think tremendous. And I think nothing shows clearer the differences in where the parties still are than the fact that the Democrats came and participated in a forum on a gay television network, LOGO, and the Republican debate was still all controlled by those from the far right whose views about the LGBT community are really based on religious views that are not shared by, I don’t think, a majority of Americans.
Recorded on: Mar 4 2008