Sen. Obama Responds to Jennifer Chrisler’s Questions on Family Policy

Just three weeks ago, presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said in
a NYTimes interview that he does not “believe in gay adoption.” The
Family Equality Council immediately responded, issuing a statement
questioning McCain’s grasp on the reality of American families.

A great deal of press ensued, including this AP article that generated interest
in the issue nationwide. Even though our efforts to raise the
visibility of McCain’s divisive statement resulted in increased
attention to LGBT family issues, we didn’t think that a press
statement went far enough.

On Wednesday, July 23 Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of
Family Equality Council, issued identical letters to Sens. McCain and
Obama, outlining the vast array of family types in this country and
asking both candidates to explain how their administrations would
work to recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all loving
families in the US. One week later, Sen. Obama issued the
following statement
in response to Jennifer:

Dear Jennifer,

While we live in a nation that is enriched by a vast array of
diverse traditions, cultures and histories, it is our commonality
that most defines us. The desire to build a life with a loved one,
to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and
thrive — these are desires that all people share, regardless of
race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. My own
experience has taught me this lesson well. I was born to a single
mother, my devoted grandparents helped raise me, and then I married
the woman of my dreams and had two beautiful daughters. The love
that has blessed each of those households has been strong and sure,
and I know that millions of families across this nation share the
same blessings.

We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the
expense of the American family. For decades we’ve had politicians
in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven’t had
policies that value families. Instead, it’s harder for working
parents to make a living while raising their kids. It’s even harder
to get a break.

That’s why I’ll double spending on quality after-school programs –
so that you can know your kids are safe and secure. And that’s why
I’ll expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include more businesses
and millions more workers; to let parents participate in school
activities with their kids; and to cover elderly care. And we’ll
finally put federal support behind state efforts to provide paid
family and medical leave. We’ll require employers to provide seven
paid sick days each year. We’ll enforce laws that prohibit
caregiver discrimination. And we’ll encourage flexible work
schedules to better balance work and parenting for mothers and
fathers. That’s the change that working families need.

But we also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT
families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption
rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions
of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and
freedom. That’s why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of
Marriage Act. That’s why we have to eliminate discrimination
against LGBT families. And that’s why we have to extend equal
treatment in our family and adoption laws.

I’ll be a president that stands up for American families – all
of them.


Barack Obama

The Family Equality Council applauds Sen. Obama for his timely and
thoughtful response to serious questions that define the health and
safety of millions of American families. As of today, we have heard
nothing in return from Sen. McCain.

For more reaction to Sen. McCain’s comments on gay adoption,
check out this op-ed by Alan
O’Brien-Myers, a rising high school senior who lives in Holyoke, MA
with his two moms and younger brother.