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LGBTQ Rights: Biden V Sanders

The two front runners for the Democratic nomination for President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have very different records when it comes to LGBTQ rights.

Bernie Sanders V Joe Biden

Criticism of Biden


In 1993 as a Senator Biden voted in favour of a policy which included a section which said homosexuality was incompatible with military life, banning gay Americans from serving in the forces.


The law was later modified to accommodate "closeted" personell which is commonly known as 'don't ask don't tell'.


Biden later supported the repeal of the ban as part of the Obama administration in 2009.


In 1996 Biden voted in favour of the Defence of Marriage Act which prohibited the federal government from recognising any same-sex marriage.


In 2013, again during the Obama administration of which Biden was a part of, the law was ruled unconstitutional, a move which was celebrated by the administration.


Biden has since expressed his regret at decisions he made on LGBTQ rights earlier in his career.


In May 2012 he made clear his reversed position in respect of marriage saying he was comfortable with the fact that same sex couples should have the same rights.


During his time as VP Biden also married two gay staffers...

Proud to marry 'Brian and Joe'

Sanders more popular among LGBTQ voters?


On Super Tuesday a poll conducted in 12 of the 14 states found that 40 per cent of LGBTQ voters supported Bernie Sanders, leading many to question whether some LGBTQ people are put off by Biden's record.


Senator Sanders has an excellent record when it comes to LGBTQ rights, in the early 1970's when he was running for Governor of Vermont he called for all laws against homosexuality to be abolished.

Bernie Sanders 1970

The law was later modified to accommodate "closeted" personnel which is commonly known as 'don't ask don't tell'.


His support continued into the 90's when Sanders voted against 'don't ask, don't tell' and the Defence of Marriage Act.


However Sanders has also praised historically anti-LGBTQ regimes including Cuba in recent weeks saying of Castro "it's simply unfair to say everything is bad."


Comments from Sam Wise (Being LGBTQ)


It's clear that Sanders has a more consistent record on LGBTQ rights, having always been in support throughout his career from as early as the 70's.


Biden on the other hand hasn't always been an ally, but arguably has made amends in recent years, having been a pivotal part of the Obama administration which made many improvements to the lives of LGBTQ people.


Same sex marriage was also made the law of the land during the Obama tenure.


During the 2020 race so far Biden has made clear his positions have changed in comparison to those he had in the 90's.


However it is clear Sanders has the better record, so going forward it'll be interesting to see where the majority of LGBTQ voters stand.

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