ELIZABETH EDWARDS PRIDE VISIT may boost Washington support for LGBT community

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Elizabeth Edwards

California Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said today that he hopes Elizabeth Edwards’ scheduled appearance at Sunday’s Gay Pride event will usher in further support from Washington for the LGBT community.

Edwards, wife of 2008 presidential candidate former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, is set to speak at the annual Alice B. Toklas Pride Breakfast Sunday at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel at 9 a.m.

Her appearance marks the first time a presidential candidate has attended Pride.

“It’s very important that the Edwards campaign is front and center of the LGBT community,” Leno said today. “We are hoping this will encourage the presence of other major contenders for the presidency in the (gay) community, at least for symbolic purpose.”

Leno, one of the first openly gay men ever to be elected to the Assembly, has not endorsed a presidential candidate for 2008.

But he said Edwards’ visit is another step in the progression of the civil rights movement. More support from Democratic candidates might help reinstate vital funds for California communities that have been cutback by the current White House administration, Leno said.

“There are millions of dollars due to California and the Bay Area that would greatly impact quality of life,” Leno said. “Some of the major issues the gay community are dealing with are dependent on support from the federal government, including Ryan White CARE and HIV funding. I think this certainly speaks of respect for the community from the Edwards campaign.”

Leno also said support for the gay community by Democratic candidates would only help their campaigns for the presidency.

“I think on the Democratic side of the equation, any and every demonstration of respect and validation for all of the many communities within the Democratic Party is an asset to a campaign,” Leno said.

“This Party promotes inclusiveness and dignity, so a move like that would benefit any candidate.

LET ME BE WHAT I AM

37TH ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO LGBT PRIDE 2007

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