The openly gay Brian Bond is constituency director for the Obama for America campaign. Previously, he served as executive director of the Democratic National Committee’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council and, prior to that, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
MS: You’ve been involved a great deal in gay political circles for many years. Some might even say you’re one of the most senior LGBT people with experience in the gay political field. Give me some history on how far the Democratic Party has come on LGBT issues.
BB: I think it’s amazing how far as a community we have come. A good example of that is the platform that was just approved in Pittsburgh: The language on the need to correct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” says a lot about the party and for Barack Obama. The need for comprehensive financial HIV/AIDS strategy, the inclusion of gender identity, the passage of a bipartisan comprehensive employment nondiscrimination bill — these are proof within the pudding. The fact that it was so easy to work with the party and, quite frankly, share Barack Obama’s vision on where to take America to where we are all valued and created equally is emblematic in that document.
MS: Much of the progress of the DNC happened during your watch. Tell me how you personally feel about this.
BB: I think it’s very exciting. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work to do. I have to commend both Barack for his vision and [DNC chair and former] Gov. Dean for his vision, but at the end of the day, we won’t achieve any of the things that are in this platform or the vision that Barack shares if we don’t get him elected and increase our margins in both the House and the Senate and on the state level, clearly. I will put pride aside right now to engage with LGBT voters the sense of urgency to move forward going into November in electing a Democratic president and a stronger Democratic Congress.
MS: Assuming that there’s an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress, what should the LGBT community look for in the next four years?
BB: I think the community can see Barack take his leadership and what is already on paper and put it into action. I think you’ll see an Obama administration that will look like America, including the LGBT community, and build on the successes of the Clinton administration in that area. I think you will see a community that will be asked to be engaged in ensuring that ENDA is passed, hate-crimes legislation is passed and signed into law, and that we take “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and put it in the history books and allow good men and women to serve this country openly.
MS: How does your new position at the Obama campaign differ from your position at the DNC?
BB: I’m really honored to be here because, first of all, I’m working with a lot of incredible people, but second of all I think it says a lot about Barack and his vision to have an openly gay person working with all constituency groups. At the end of the day, clearly we each have our own interests but we all share a common need, a common desire, a common goal not only to elect a Democrat but also to ensure that the values of the Democratic Party are successful and, again, I hate to beat this like a drum, but that will only happen if we do elect a Democratic president and increase our majority in both the House and Senate. To that point, we have the opportunity to nominate several Supreme Court justices in the next administration. It behooves not just the LGBT community but a lot of communities that make up this great country to be very concerned about who will make those nominations. And I personally believe electing Barack Obama will put all communities in good hands when it comes to the selection process for the Supreme Court justices.
MS: Brian, I’ve never heard such pride in your voice before.
BB: It’s exciting to be here. What’s really exciting about it too — and I welcome you to come to the headquarters here — is the diversity in this building speaks to the depth of Barack’s commitment to moving this country forward.