My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

03 November 2012

An Election About Life and Death and Love

This election is of vital importance. 

For the first time, the President of the United States came out in favor of same-sex marriage. I was beyond excited when Obama gave voice to an affirmation that resonated around the globe (see my blogpost about my enthusiasm and reservations about his statements here). This was huge, massive even. It was a giant leap toward equality. 

But in this election, the progress I've fought for--that we've fought for--could be taken away from us. And, astonishingly, there's been next to nothing from either presidential campaign about LGBTQ equality. The presidential candidates had a debate on domestic issues, and yet the millions of LGBTQ Americans without rights were not even mentioned. It's time to make the case for a President that believes in LGBTQ equality.

This election is of vital importance. 

I could talk about how I disagree with Mitt Romney's views on women's rights, the environment, healthcare, and education for hours. I could explain how I agree with major components of Obama's platform for a few more hours. But right here, I'm only going to delve into an extremely personal issue for me: marriage equality. 

This election is of vital importance.  I have friends tell me it's all a bunch of political "BS," that real change won't ever happen, that it's not worth voting, that it won't make a real difference for people who is president.


But they're so wrong. This election is about whether my sister will have access to equal marriage rights within the next four years. This is tangible, this is real, but it's also not just about my sister.

It's about millions of people. It's about the kids with lesbian or gay parents, it's about hospital visitation, it's about tax benefits, it's about bullying to the point of suicide, it's about partner healthcare benefits, it's about access to first-time home buyer programs, it's about veterans' partner benefits, it's about societal acceptance. It's about the 1,138 benefits or rights of marriage (as calculated in 2003 by the US General Accountability Office) that gay and lesbian couples have unequal access to. 

This election is of vital importance. It's about what these candidates stand for, and how they're going to serve all of the citizens of this country.

Gov. Mitt Romney

Insensitive:

  • "I didn't know you had families."
  • Thinks Don't Ask Don't Tell was effective. Although, he has disagreed with himself on this issue. 

Ignorant:

  • "Some gays are actually having children born to them... It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and a father."

Dangerous:

  • Blocked a Massachusetts bullying guide for public schools because it contained the words "transgender" and "bisexual."
  • Vetoed hate crime prevention in Massachusetts, doesn't see any need for additional anti-discrimination laws, and his running mate voted against the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. 

Don't forget how dangerous and prevalent LGBTQ bullying is. This is an extremely significant issue, and to be against hate crime and bullying prevention can have incredibly dire results.

Unconstitutional:

Backward:

video

Keep in mind that Gov. Romney is trying to sound much more moderate than his actions have shown he is. Please explore the bullet points above to fully understand his views. Also, unlike what he implies in the above video, he does not support further nondiscrimination policies, national equal rights initiatives, bullying prevention if it includes transgender individuals, and holds contempt for same-sex parents. I don't know what "gay rights" he is in favor of, but supporting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage makes it pretty clear where he stands. 

President Barack Obama

In terms of what Obama has done, I outlined a more detailed report on this blog post, but to sum it up:
  • Supports and has enacted bullying prevention programs that includes LGBTQ people.
  • Made hate crimes against LGBTQ people a federal offense. 
  • Supports same-sex marriage (with some reservations).
  • Supports LGBTQ human rights initiatives around the globe.
  • Declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
Forward:




The next President will continue to make important decisions about marriage rights, LGBTQ people in the military, bullying and hate crime prevention, and perhaps most importantly, will have the opportunity to nominate justices to the Supreme Court who will continue to impact these kinds of decisions long into the future. If Obama is reelected, I truly believe that in four years we will either have marriage equality or will be a lot closer to it. After the first four years, we sure are closer to marriage equality than ever before. 

This election is of vital importance. Get to the polls, and get everyone you know to the polls. This is an extremely personal issue for me. I've seen the beginnings of real change, and I do not want to go backwards.

I mean, come on America. This is about life and death and love. It's unacceptable to be on the sidelines. Vote for equality.

Your vote will matter for millions of school children with two moms or two dads who don't understand why the world says their mommies or daddies can't get married, why their family is wrong. It will matter for the teen contemplating suicide because their society rejects their identity. It will matter for the same-sex couple who has been together for thirty years, and cannot understand why they are labeled as a sinful "other" undeserving of equal rights.

This election is about life and death and love.

So. Let's go forward. 

-JJC

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