Edwards Announces Backing Of Gay Supporters

Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 5:45 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democrat John Edwards is touting prominent gay supporters who have signed on to his presidential campaign, including a former adviser to President Clinton.

Businessman David Mixner is one of 25 people listed on a news release that the Edwards campaign distributed Tuesday, along with a statement from the candidate saying he is honored to have the backing of so many respected gay leaders.

``They work hard every day to make our country a better place and I am proud to join with them to fight for equal rights for all Americans,'' Edwards said.

Edwards is making a push for gay support in the competitive Democratic presidential primary. In February, he came out in support of legislation that would end the ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy that prevents people who are openly gay from serving in the military.

But Edwards has competition for the gay community's support _ Barack Obama's campaign has also said he is opposed to ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'' as has Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign. She also told the Human Rights Campaign last month that she wants a partnership with gays if elected president.

Clinton's husband, Bill, was president when the Pentagon instituted the ``don't ask, don't tell'' policy, which says gays may serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation private. The policy was a compromise that Clinton was forced to accept.

``Don't ask, don't tell'' created a rift between President Clinton and Mixner, who raised millions for him among gay and lesbian voters but was later arrested in front of the White House in a protest of the policy. The two later said they patched up their differences and agreed to disagree on the administration's policy.

Mixer did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the Edwards endorsement.