Lining Up Gay Voters Behind a Clinton Presidency

Lisa Changadveja is LGBT Americans director at Ready for Hillary, a group urging Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president.  
National Journal
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Oct. 30, 2013, 12:52 p.m.

Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton has not said wheth­er she will run for pres­id­ent in 2016, but the pro­spect of the first fe­male pres­id­ent has spawned an in­de­pend­ent su­per PAC in her name. Ready for Hil­lary, which opened its doors in Janu­ary, has hired con­stitu­ency dir­ect­ors to mo­bil­ize every slice of the lib­er­al spec­trum, in­clud­ing the LGBT com­munity.

“This is a per­son­al thing,” said Lisa Changad­veja, who was named LGBT Amer­ic­ans dir­ect­or and is gay her­self. “If Hil­lary does de­cide to run, she’ll have LGBT lead­ers ready to stand by her as sup­port­ers, donors, and hard-work­ing vo­lun­teers.”

Changad­veja poin­ted to three in­stances in which the pre­sumptive can­did­ate has proven her gay-rights bona fides. In 2000, Clin­ton be­came the first first lady to march in a gay-pride parade. (She has marched in sev­er­al gay-pride parades since then.)

As sec­ret­ary of State, Clin­ton de­livered a speech at the United Na­tions in which she equated gay rights with hu­man rights. “Like be­ing a wo­man, like be­ing a ra­cial, re­li­gious, tri­bal, or eth­nic minor­ity, be­ing LGBT does not make you less hu­man,” she de­clared. “And that is why gay rights are hu­man rights, and hu­man rights are gay rights.”

Fi­nally, Clin­ton for the first time en­dorsed gay mar­riage earli­er this year. “I sup­port it per­son­ally and as a mat­ter of policy and law, em­bed­ded in a broad­er ef­fort to ad­vance equal­ity and op­por­tun­ity for LGBT Amer­ic­ans and all Amer­ic­ans,” she said at the time.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter, 92 per­cent of LGBT Amer­ic­an adults say so­ci­ety has be­come more ac­cept­ing of them in the past dec­ade. One reas­on: gay-rights ad­vocacy by pub­lic fig­ures. That same poll, which was re­leased in June, asked re­spond­ents to identi­fy pub­lic fig­ures who had ad­vanced the cause of gay Amer­ic­ans. Twenty-three per­cent named Pres­id­ent Obama, 18 per­cent named comedi­enne El­len De­Generes, and 3 per­cent named Clin­ton. (Apart from Obama and De­Generes, no one else was named by more than 3 per­cent of re­spond­ents.)

Non­ethe­less, Changad­veja in­sists that the LGBT com­munity is en­thu­si­ast­ic about the pro­spect of a Clin­ton pres­id­ency. At a re­cent LGBT rally in Or­lando, 900 people signed up for emails from Ready for Hil­lary in a single day. “Hil­lary has been a long­time friend of the LGBT com­munity,” says Changad­veja, who took a leave of ab­sence while in col­lege to help with Clin­ton’s first pres­id­en­tial run. “They have a lot of love for her.”

Changad­veja, who is of Thai her­it­age, grew up in Helen, Ga., 90 miles north of At­lanta. The sci­ence-fic­tion buff, who can re­cite snatches of dia­logue from Star Trek and Battle­star Gal­lactica, vo­lun­teered for John Kerry’s 2004 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign and worked on the suc­cess­ful 2006 reelec­tion bid of Ore­gon’s then-Gov. Ted Ku­lon­goski, a Demo­crat. In 2007, Changad­veja tem­por­ar­ily with­drew from Brenau Uni­versity in Gaines­ville, Ga., to join Clin­ton’s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign. She was still a teen­ager at the time.

Changad­veja has been openly gay for 10 years. She cred­its re­cent ad­vances in gay rights — like the Su­preme Court’s de­cision earli­er this year to strike down the De­fense of Mar­riage Act — to evolving so­cial norms and the di­li­gence of gay-rights act­iv­ists. “It’s amaz­ing to see how far the LGBT needle has moved in the last dec­ade.”

What We're Following See More »
THE PLAN ALL ALONG?
Manchin Drops Objections, Clearing Way for Spending Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."

Source:
UNCLEAR WHAT CAUSED CHANGE OF HEART
Giuliani Out of Running For State
1 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.

Source:
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
1 days ago
BREAKING
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

HEADS TO OBAMA
Senate Approves Defense Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login