The Big Bernie Sanders Lie (That They Keep Telling)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stands up after speaking at the CNN Town Hall at Drake University in Des Moi
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stands up after speaking at the CNN Town Hall at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 25, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders has a reputation for being a longtime gay rights supporter (as does Hillary Clinton for that matter). But the Sanders campaign has recently made several accusations implying that his record of support is pure whereas Clinton's record is spotty at best, alluding to her somewhat late "evolution" on marriage equality. Sanders' complaints amplified when HRC, America's largest gay rights group endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Shortly after that at an event in Iowa Sander's high profile supporter, actress Susan Sarandon, attacked Clinton's record by stating, ""It's one thing to be for gay rights and gay marriage once everybody else is for it."

But here's the rub. Bernie Sanders was NOT always a supporter of marriage equality for gay people. Mark Joseph Stern who covers Law and LGBT issues for Slate, is one of the few reporters to actually research Bernie's gay rights record and his report shows that, in fact, as recently as 2006 Bernie Sanders was arguing AGAINST marriage equality on a national level because he said that States should have the power to deny gay citizens the right marry. And even though Sanders also got a lot of media attention for his past stance of being one of the few against DOMA, there again if you look at his actual record he never expressed any desire for marriage equality for LGBT Citizens, rather he opposed DOMA because he felt it infringed on the powers of the State.

The Sanders campaign has been really good at writing a nice narrative about Bernie Sanders highlighting the statements he made early in his career in which he voiced support for full equality for gay Americans. But they do themselves and LGBT Americans a disservice when they try to cover up and embellish his record. The truth is Bernie has a good record on gay rights, but much like Clinton, and every other politician when it comes to gay equality, NONE of them are pure and at one time or another they ALL played politics with the equality of LGBT Americans.

Full Disclosure: I support Hillary Clinton to be our next president. I do so as a gay man who accepts that she may not have always been perfect on every issue concerning LGBT equality, she was still and always an ally. I see Bernie the same way in that regard but I find it offensive that his campaign continues to promote a white washing of his record on gay equality and using that false narrative to attack Clinton.