"If you want to ask about ‘gay issues’ tonight, ask about jobs and the economy," Jimmy LaSalvia, the head of the gay conservative group GOProud said tonight in advance of the second presidential debate.
"In the lead up to this second debate, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not the candidates will get asked about ‘gay issues’ tonight," LaSaliva said in a statement. "The media ... think the only thing that qualifies as a ‘gay issue’ and the only thing that gay voters care about is gay marriage. The truth is that jobs and the economy are a gay issue – and indeed, the most important gay issue in this election."
GOProud, which has endorsed Romney's run for president, pointed to a recent Harris Interactive poll conducted for Logo TV, which found that 32 percent of LGBT respondents picked jobs or the economy as the most important issue in deciding their presidential vote. Only 6 percent said same-sex couples' marriage rights were the top issue.
Over at the Human Rights Campaign, which endorsed Obama's re-election early before Romney even won the Republican nomination, HRC vice president for communications Fred Sainz shot back.
"I don't disagree with Jimmy. Jobs, the economy, our foreign affairs are all important issues to LGBT Americans," he told BuzzFeed. "What Jimmy misses is that a tough economy is made worse for LGBT people by the lack of legal protections, whether it be employment nondiscrimination protections or the existence of DOMA.
"Obama wants to get rid of these barriers. Romney wants to keep them."