WEST HOLLYWOOD (AP) — Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer waded into friendly terrain Wednesday, telling a group of gays and lesbians that she is a champion of gay rights.

The three-term senator is in a tight race with Republican challenger Carly Fiorina and is trying to rally voters who typically lean Democratic to ensure they get to the polls next week.

“This is an exciting race, and it will be decided by who turns out,” she said, urging her supporters to push friends and family members to vote.

Boxer made a campaign stop to thank the supporters who gathered in a community center to make phone calls to voters on her behalf.

She said she strongly supports marriage equality and was one of the first lawmakers to oppose the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“You want to make sure people you send to the Senate are not afraid to stand alone,” she said.

She told a crowd of about 60 supporters, many of whom were members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, that she wants equality for all people, a remark that drew loud applause.

Fiorina favors civil unions for gays and lesbians but thinks marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. She has received support in her campaign from the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage.

A campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co. is a strong supporter of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“If Barbara Boxer is a lone voice on issues, it’s because no one wants to work with her to pass job-killing policies,” Saul said, referring to Fiorina’s campaign focus on the importance of reviving the economy through private-sector job growth.

Fiorina is scheduled to return to the campaign trail Thursday after being hospitalized two days for an infection stemming from her reconstructive surgery last summer after breast cancer.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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