We are 27 days from the election, and the political posts are flying. Everyone has an opinion, and is entitled to it – this is America after all, and I support your right to express yourself. However, please understand that I may take it personally. VERY personally and I will lay out why in a minute.
This whole thing began after reading a post on my good friend (and amazing actress to boot) Maeve Quinlan’s Facebook wall. An actress friend of hers, Stacey Dash, came out in support of Mitt Romney and was promptly attacked online. Horribly attacked. The comments were mostly racially motivated, there were even death threats. The ladies of The View discussed the whole incident as well. Some (including Maeve) framed their argument around Stacey’s right to free speech. But for the most part, no one was arguing that she didn’t have the right to express her views, they were responding to her choice. And yes, the response wasn’t civilized, nor was it constructive…but it was a response.
That’s the whole thing about this social media business ya’ll. You can put it out there, but don’t be surprised when you get a response. I’ve been attacked online myself, I know what it feels like. I am not one to mince words, and I can tell you, you’ll get as good as you give when you put your views out to the social media universe. Back to Stacey. I don’t know her personally, but if Maeve says she’s a nice person, I believe it. And I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of “nice” people out there voting for Romney. But here’s where it gets complicated for me. This election is arguably going to have the most impact on my life as any election in history. The stakes are high. The stakes for LGBT folks are higher than for anyone else. Anyone.
Yes, everyone will be impacted by the election. The next president in office will greatly impact our nation and our lives, in terms of the economy, healthcare, taxes, foreign policy, women’s rights… Now add something else to that mix – your basic civil rights. Yes, unless you are LGBT, this doesn’t apply to you. Your civil rights have been enshrined into law. You are protected from legal discrimination on all fronts as a human being. Not so for us, and our lives are literally hanging in the balance of this election. We are talking marriage equality, access to healthcare, protection from housing and job discrimination – the list goes on.
Since being elected, Obama has kept every promise he made to us in the LGBT community, and has gone above and beyond to bring full equality into our lives. Here a partial list of his accomplishments on our behalf.
- Endorsed the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 to provide full partnership benefits to federal employees
- Ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to guarantee medical decision-making and visitation rights to LGBT couples
- Signed into law the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010
- Directed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court and declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional
- Expanded the Family Medical Leave Act to ensure that LGBT parents and partners can take leave from work to care for their child, parent, or spouse—a right afforded to any other family
- Removed a common barrier to safe housing by adding gender identity and expression in the Fair Housing Act
- Reversed an inexcusable U.S. position by signing the United Nations Declaration on Gay Rights, which condemns violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide
- Changed State Department policy so that transgender Americans can more easily obtain passports that reflect their true gender and ensure that same-sex married couples can use their legally married name on official State Department documents
- Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the federal government
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation or gender identity
- Formed the Interagency Council on Bullying Prevention and convened the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and launched Stopbullying.gov, a website with resources designed to assist bullied youth and their advocates—including specific information regarding LGBT bullying
- Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept LGBT relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way and urging transgender Americans to identify their true gender
- Hired and appointed a record number of qualified LGBT Americans, including several transgender appointees— the first president ever to do so
- Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history, and after eight years of silence under the Bush administration, resumed the tradition of issuing Presidential Pride proclamations
- President Obama, Vice President Biden, DNC, and White House staffs record “It Gets Better” videos
- Department of Labor clarified definition of “son and daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure that same-sex parents can receive parental rights to family leave regardless of legal or biological relationship
You better believe that most, if not all of these advancements will be rolled back if Romney gets elected.
According to Mitt’s website:
1. As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act and he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Further, the former Massachusetts governor does not support civil unions.
That’s right, he doesn’t even support Civil Unions. No legal protections for gay couples whatsoever in a Mitt Romney White House.
2. Romney opposes ENDA.
Many people have no idea that you can lose your job in 29 states simply for being LGBT. As in, if your employer is a homophobe and decides they don’t agree with your “lifestyle,” they can call you into their office and fire you, stating your sexual orientation is the sole reason for giving you your walking papers, and it’s completely legal.
This is why we need the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to be passed and signed into law — ENDA would add protections for LGBTs by prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees. Obama has vowed to fight for this in his next term, if not simply pass it via Executive Order.
3. As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.
The next president will most likely nominate two Supreme Court judges to the bench, and these are lifetime appointments. Our Supreme Court will absolutely be ruling on the issue of marriage equality in the next couple of years. If the court swings any further to the right, there is a very good chance that I may never be able to get legally married in my lifetime. I proposed to Cathy a year ago, and while I’ve watched numerous friends walk down the aisle this year, I am legally prevented by Prop 8 from marrying my fiance.
Do you now understand why this is personal?
So in closing, I will say this. If you’re voting for Romney, don’t tell me about it, unless you want to hear my response. His election would deeply impact my life and I have no choice but to take it personally. Many people feel this way, and this is where the backlash began, and though it wasn’t civilized, there was a reason it happened.
Imagine it’s 1954, and you tell your African-American friend that it isn’t personal, but you don’t support Brown v. Board of Education…that we are all entitled to our views and opinions. Okay, fair enough, but how does one not take something personally that so impacts their life?