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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Elwyn Tinklenberg's Stonewall DFL Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Elwyn G. Tinklenberg

Office you are seeking: US House, MN 06


1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES / NO


2) If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?

I would be honored to say I have the support of the LGBT community in Minnesota and I would display Stonewall DFL’s endorsement proudly along with my other endorsements.

3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?

I have sought out people from the LGBT community to advise me about issues of importance and to communicate with me on a regular basis.

Also, a large part of my message is about justice and fairness, two things which go to the heart of ending discrimination and promoting equal rights.

4. How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?

My opponent is Michele Bachmann; she is quite possibly the most anti-gay rights politician Minnesota has ever had. I will be encouraging many groups with agendas that run contrary to her own extreme, intolerant agenda, to come out and work with us to defeat her.

5. What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?

The issues I have worked on, from battered women’s issues to housing, transportation to employment, have been issues that have affected the broad spectrum of our society, including members of the LGBT community. I also participated in United Methodist congregations that identified themselves as Welcoming (or Reconciling) Congregations and the accepting attitude of the United Methodists is one of the things that drew me to it.

6. LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?

One thing I will promise is visual advocacy of equal rights and justice. The other promise I make is to support legislation that strengthens and enforces laws against hate or discriminatorily motivated crimes.

7. Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.

Everyone has a right to feel entirely comfortable and secure in who they are. I will support legislation that protects equal treatment and benefits, including provisions for operations and procedures that while voluntary, are part of ensuring complete health for transgender persons.

8. What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?

I support full legal status for heterosexual and homosexual couples. Whatever the terminology, it is an equal rights issue. We should never be using our tax laws or any other laws, to discriminate.

9. Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?

Issues of substance abuse and the fast-growing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases are common in many factions of society. I think that one of the best ways to combat these in all communities is through better access to medical care which includes support for mental health and treatment programs.

10. What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?

Domestic partnerships and civil unions should be treated in the same way “marriages” are under access to medical benefits and in our tax laws.

11. The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?

The Ryan White Act was designed to provide HIV treatment for low-income persons in need. Ryan White was from Indiana and it’s possible that the HHS used his profile as an opportunity to move that funding to places where there might not be other programs or assistance in place (red states). I support Universal Healthcare because it would provide assistance for ALL Americans with HIV or AIDS, who were in need, regardless of geography.

12. A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?

Homelessness, sexual abuse vulnerability and substance abuse are all products of trying to hide the issues faced by young LGBT individuals. It is important that our schools and our communities provide support groups and counseling early in our children’s lives to ensure they are not disenfranchised and left vulnerable.

13. What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?

Access to reproductive health options is a threat to all women, regardless of sexual orientation. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be upheld and that any universal health care plan should include full access to responsible reproductive options and choices.

14. What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a ridiculous idea that has never worked. We have valuable people of all sexual orientations who are willing to serve our country and to deny them that opportunity is wrong. I believe sexual orientation should not be a factor in the military or any other occupation.

15. Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?

I support H.R. 2015 (April of 2007) because it mirrors Minnesota’s own policies prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Cross posted at Dump Michele Bachmann.