From the debate over same-sex marriage to the military's "Don't ask, don't tell policy," issues that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) community look to play a prominent role in this year's presidential election. Read the stances of the presidential candidates below. The views of the vice presidential candidates are shown where available.
Believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act but voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. Says states and local governments should set their own marriage policies.
Voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1996. During an interview in 2000, McCain said: "I think that the present laws that clearly prevent a discrimination of any kind certainly [apply] to gays and homosexuals as well. That's why I voted the way that I did. I think that enforcement of existing law could work rather than passing special laws for special categories of people."
When asked about the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, McCain said: "...I don't think there's any doubt that there are evolving attitudes in America about many issues, including this one, but every military leader that I talk to, I say 'Should we change it?' They say, 'It's working.' And right now we've got the best military we've ever had -- the most professional, best trained, equipped and the bravest. And so I think it's logical to leave this issue alone. I really do."
The McCain campaign states that gay adoption is a state issue and does not endorse any federal legislation.
Watch McCain speak about same-sex marriage
Stated on Sarah Palin for Governor Web site: "I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman."
Stated during the vice presidential debate October 2, "No one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties."
According to a New York Times report, she supported an amendment to the Alaska state constitution that would have banned same-sex marriage, but, during her tenure as governor, she vetoed a bill that would have denied health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees on grounds that it was unconstitutional.
Opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposes a constitutional ban. Says he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. As stated on the Obama campaign Web site, he supports full civil unions that "give same-sex couples equal legal rights and privileges as married couples, including the right to assist their loved ones in times of emergency as well as equal health insurance, employment benefits, and property and adoption rights."
Says the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Advocated legislation that sought to expand federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Says the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy needs to be repealed.
Watch Obama speak about same-sex marriage
Opposes same-sex marriage. Voted against a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Supports civil unions. Says he believes legal recognition should not be denied to same-sex couples. Advocates re-examining federal laws, including the tax code, to ensure national laws are not unfair to same-sex couples and that committed adults who are adopting are not discriminated against because of sexual orientation. Supports letting states determine how to recognize civil unions and define marriage. Also supports ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" Policy. Supports adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes.