Obama vs. Romney 101: 4 ways they differ on gay issues

Barack Obama made history on May 9 when he became the first sitting US president to declare support for same-sex marriage. Mitt Romney has said he is against it. But gay issues extend beyond same-sex marriage. 

3. HIV/AIDS research and prevention funding

Larry Downing/REUTERS/File
An audience member holds up a "Fund PEPFAR" sign, referring to the US President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), during President Obama's speech at a campaign event in Boone, Iowa, on Aug. 13.

Obama gets good marks from the AIDS research community, most recently for July’s International AIDS Conference in the US. Moreover, Obama has remained committed to HIV/AIDS funding. Even during economic challenges in the country, he has implemented the first-ever US National AIDS Strategy, and the Obama administration has lifted a longtime ban on HIV-positive travelers, notes Dan Tietz, executive director of AIDS Community Research Initiatives of America.

This last move allowed this year’s conference to be held in the US for the first time in two decades. Obama has also continued funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program to combat AIDS in developing countries, which was launched in 2004 under the Bush administration.

In mid-July, prior to the conference, Romney issued a statement on the continued need for action in AIDS research and funding. 

“AIDS is an indiscriminate killer. It takes our young and our old. It leaves behind widows and orphans,” said the former Massachusetts governor. “And in many parts of the world, it affects those least able to help themselves. Significant progress has been made in research, education, and delivery of medication, but more needs to be done. America is a compassionate nation. It has been – and must continue to be – a beacon of hope for innovative research and support as we seek to overcome the global challenge of AIDS.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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