Gephardt's gay daughter: Chrissy Gephardt is revving up to solicit gay and lesbian votes for her dad's presidential bid. (Campaign 2004).
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported May 8 that Chrissy Gephardt, a Washington, D.C., social worker who assists female survivors of trauma and abuse, "will be far more aggressive than Mary Cheney in soliciting gay and lesbian votes for dear old dad."
And in another departure from Cheney's 2000 campaign, this time "dear old dad" isn't shying away from talking openly about his daughter. Gephardt's campaign Web site reports that Chrissy lives with her partner, Amy, and features a photo of Amy with the rest of the Gephardt family. "Dick loves his daughter very much, and they are a very close family," Gephardt campaign spokeswoman Kim Molstre told The Advocate. "He hopes she will take a very active role in his campaign for president."
What remains to be seen, however, is how much having an openly gay daughter can help the congressman from Missouri in a campaign in which nearly all the Democratic front-runners are jostling for the title of "gay-friendliest"--and if his daughter's openness will have any effect on Gephardt's position opposing equal marriage rights for gay men and lesbians.
During a May 3 debate in Columbia, S.C., Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Howard Dean sparred over who was the bigger supporter of civil unions. "My position in fact is stronger than Governor Dean's," Kerry said of the former Vermont governor, who signed the nation's first and only civil unions law when he was in office.
Gephardt also supports civil unions. But he has so far drawn the line at equal marriage rights for gay people, telling The Advocate in 2000, "I think we can make progress on all the legal questions facing same-sex couples.... Down the road, who knows? Maybe we will make progress [on marriage tool."