August 07, 2007

Impact of LOGO Debate--Bigger Than One Might Think?

That's the opinion of John D'Emilio, a historian of gay history and professor at the University of Illinios. He was interviewed by MSNBC in their leadup to the debate:

Q: Only about four percent of the voting population is gay. Is the focus of a “gay debate” too narrow?

A: Well, four percent self-identified as gay or lesbian or bisexual. There are two points to make about that. First, there are still people who won’t self-identify, so the figure is probably a little bigger—maybe six percent. And we know that the six percent is not equally distributed around the country. Urban areas are more likely to have a higher percentage than rural ones. You’re going to have larger populations in the state of Massachusetts than you’re going to have in North Dakota. So in some states this forum might make a bigger difference than in others.

But second, I think same-sex marriage these days, and AIDS earlier in the ‘80s and ‘90s, demonstrated that lots of people have really strong feelings about gay issues. When you’re having a debate where the candidates are addressing these issues, there’s this four or five percent that are really concerned about it, but there’s also the larger population that finds it relevant. Some are concerned about it because they have family members who are gay; some are concerned because they’re religious and their religions say it’s wrong. I have no idea what the TV audience will be for this. The audience might not be large, but once it starts to circulate online and in the media, people will hear what the candidates were saying, and it will be relevant to a lot of people.

Click here to read the rest of the interview.

While I'm not going to do a play by play on the debate, I do plan to have some comments posted shortly after its over Thursday night.

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