Even as Sen. John McCain leads the effort to keep the military gay ban in place, his wife is appearing in a new video criticizing anti-gay laws for what she says are their role in bullying and gay teen suicides.
In a new video from NOH8, a gay-rights campaign started after Proposition 8 passed in California, Cindy McCain takes a direct swipe at the "don't ask, don't tell" law.
"Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future ... they can't serve our country openly," McCain says.
The video features rapid cut-aways of various celebrities highlighting the disproportionately high rate of attempted suicides among LGBT youth, and blaming anti-gay legislation in part for the phenomenon. McCain's parts in the video are spliced with many others. The script states, in part:
Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future. They can't get married. They can't donate blood. They can't serve our country openly. They're not even allowed to adopt in certain states. What are these kids supposed to think? They're being shown by the adults in our country that here are no solutions to their problems. What's worse, these laws that legislate discrimination teach bullies that what they're doing is acceptable. Our government treats the LGBT community like second class citizens, why shouldn't they?
McCain's gay-rights activism comes at an inopportune moment for her husband, who is currently leading the effort to keep the military gay ban in place. As the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. McCain led a filibuster in September of a defense bill that includes a repeal of "don't ask."
"The woman basically accused her husband of sharing the blame for gay kids killing themselves," writes John Aravosis at AmericaBlog.
The New York Times explains how the tea party movement pushed McCain into taking a stance against the repeal:
Although Mr. McCain has said in the past that he would consider authorizing a repeal of the law once the Pentagon review was complete, he faced a challenge from the right in his recent re-election fight and campaigned, in part, on a promise to preserve the 17-year-old law that requires service members to keep their sexual orientation secret. Mr. McCain, 74, a naval aviator who was shot down and imprisoned in Hanoi in the Vietnam War, has continued to press against repeal.
Political observers note that time is running out to repeal "don't ask." With a Republican House about to convene, chances of a repeal past the current session are considered nonexistent. But the current lame-duck session appears only marginally more hospitable to the idea. The L.A. Times reports that McCain continues to oppose the repeal, and is in negotiations with Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin over the defense bill.
The result could be that the bill is stripped of the "don't ask" repeal, but the Times reports that some activists see a chance to add the repeal to another "must-pass" bill before the end of the current session.
The following video was released by the NOH8 Campaign.