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Thompson's response on gay rights riles activists

A lightning-round question during Tuesday night’s face-off between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and challenger Bill Thompson has ignited a stormy debate among gay rights activists.

Asked whether they believe President Barack Obama has done enough for gay rights, Bloomberg answered “no.” Thompson, the city comptroller and Democratic mayoral candidate, hesitated, sighed that Obama had only been in office for "nine months" and answered “yes.”

Some pundits argued that Thompson was trying to adhere to party lines, but Log Cabin Republicans spokesman Gregory Angelo yesterday asked, “Why all of the sudden is Thompson so beholden to a president who won’t mention him by name?”

Angelo, whose group represents gay Republicans and has endorsed Bloomberg for mayor, called Thompson’s response “truly offensive.”

Despite promises to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the president hasn’t delivered, Angelo said.

The debate came fresh on the heels of a massive weekend march that brought tens of thousands to Washington, D.C., in support of gay rights.

The format of the question itself was disappointing, said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. “A question of civil rights surely is more important than a yes or no question.”

The Stonewall Democrats, a liberal LGBT group that gave Thompson the nod for mayor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

emily.ngo@am-ny.com

Tags: mayoral race , gay rights , Bill Thompson , Michael Bloomberg

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