Watch our debate on human rights issues

On Tuesday, I’ll moderate the seventh debate in our “Local perspectives on the presidential campaign” series.
I’ve enjoyed bringing together local Democrats and Republicans to debate the issues. While the economy remains the most important issue in the minds of most, I think many voters will cast a ballot based on the issues we’re discussing tomorrow under the umbrella of “human rights.”
When I was planning the series with Dori Smith and Darlene Casella, my helpers from Democratic and Republican women’s clubs, we first contemplated 12 debates. It was based on an Associated Press analysis of where the candidates stood on 12 issues. But studying the calendar and my workload during this busy election season, I realized 12 was too many. If we did eight – one every two weeks – the series would carry through neatly from July 17 to Oct. 23.
But that meant we had to consolidate some issues. We brought in “women’s issues,” such as abortion and contraception, and gay rights under that umbrella term.
As you’ll see in the columns by Democrat Anita Rufus – who calls herself the “lovable liberal” – and Republican Floyd Rhoades, the differences are stark.
For instance, Rhoades says Romney believes Roe v. Wade should be reversed and abortion policies should be determined by the states.
Romney also favors a constitutional amendment to declare that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Rufus cites Obama accomplishments such as extending federal benefits to same-sex partners repealing
“don’t ask, don’t tell.”
These positions touch the hearts of voters far more than deficits and tax rates.
As of noon Monday, I hadn’t received any questions for this debate. Send me your questions to You’ll also be able to send questions during the debate from 2-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday at our website,