There are lots of reasons to vote for a third-party candidate when polls open on November 4th. Maybe you just don't agree with either McCain or Obama and can't see yourself voting for either of them. Maybe you already know which way your state is going to go and you want to use your vote to support a third party. Maybe you want someone who represents all of your views, and that someone doesn't happen to belong to the Democratic or the Republican party.
Whether you're planning on voting for a third party candidate or not, it's nice to know that in the American political system you do have options. So I've done a bit of research on gay-friendly candidates. I'm no expert, and there are more third party candidates than I can shake a stick at, so if I've left out anyone you know about, please leave a comment!
Vote for McKinney/Clemente this fall and you may actually make a difference. The Green Party is trying to break 5% of the popular vote this election in order to gain government funding for future campaigns. While this is a long shot, it is also a very real possibility. In 2000, the Green party's candidate Ralph Nader received 2.74% of the popular vote.
McKinney has been fairly quiet on gay issues, and has been criticized for that by gay activists. Her voting record has shown a commitment to gay issues, however. As a member of the House, she voted against an anti-gay adoption amendment in 1998 and another in 1999, voted against an amendment repealing domestic partner health care benefits in DC in 1995, and voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. However, she missed votes repealing don't-ask-don't-tell and including same-sex partners in the Family & Medical Leave Act.
McKinney participated in and won the support of the National Lavender Green Caucus – the Green Party's caucus centered on gay rights - and the green party platform supports gay marriage, the end of don't-ask-don't-tell, and nondiscrimination legislature that includes orientation and gender identity.
McKinney/Clemente will appear on ballots in 32 states this year and write-ins for several other states will be counted.
Nader is the other widely known third party candidate. He has been outspoken on gay rights issues and actually lists gay rights on the issues section of his web site. He has spoken for gay marriage, ending don't-ask-don't-tell, and ending employment discrimination.
Nader has been running for president off and on in elections since 1992. In 2000, as the Green Party candidate, Nader received the previously mentioned 2.74% popular vote. In 2008, Nader is running as an independent, although his campaign is being supported by several parties including the Peace and Freedom Party and the Independent Party. Nader will be on the ballot in 45 states.
Gloria La Riva
Party for Socialism and Liberation
Gloria La Riva's platform is based on civil rights – rights that gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. She has spoken for gay marriage and an end to employment discrimination along with an end to the patriot act and rights for undocumented workers.
Although La Riva has never held political office and has no voting record, she has played an active role in the fight for gay rights. She has participated in several pro-gay-rights marches and in speeches has often linked the fight against homophobia with the fight against racism and sexism. La Riva was the presidential candidate for the Workers World Party in 1992, and she has been a vice presidential candidate in several elections.
Personal Choice Party, Boston Tea Party
Charles Jay's political views lean towards the libertarian. Unlike many libertarians, however, Jay realizes that gay marriage may by necessity be federalized and is in support of a pro-gay marriage constitutional amendment in that eventuality. He takes libertarianism to its logical conclusion – that the government should not put exclusionary limits on the rights of its citizens, gay or straight. Jay was also the candidate for the Personal Choice Party in 2004.
Sources: candidates' web sites, votesmart.org, ontheissues.org, washingtonblade.com, advocate.com