2012 Nov 6

written by Sherri Joubert

NOH8

Jill Bennett & Cathy DeBuono
NOH8 Campaign

President Obama has done more for our LGBTQ rights than any president in the history of America, so get out there and vote for him today (election day) if you didn’t vote early.

For the very first time, the leader of the free world recognizes our existence as part of the American tapestry, and he recognizes that we are no different than the straight couples he and Michelle know. His daughters go to school with other children who have two moms or two dads.

He has many LGBTQ staff members whose families he has gotten to know personally. He met many, many gay and lesbian military personnel, and got to know them and their families, who were in hiding because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as he worked to repeal that horrific law.

When Barack Obama won the election in 2008, he was a proponent of civil unions and believed that was equivalent enough to legal marriage. He has since met many LGBTQ families that look like his family and love each other like he loves his wife.

He learned that a separate institution isn’t equal, and that same-sex couples must have the same civil rights as opposite-sex couples. Meeting and seeing real people in real life is probably the most powerful way to change hearts and minds. President Obama was changed by his experiences interacting with and fighting for LGBTQ rights.

Jill Bennett, an actor, director, lesbian role model and leader in our community, wrote a moving and compelling article on her blog entitled Guess What, Romney Supporters…It’s Personal. Please click over and read her post.

Jill argues that this election will have a greater impact on the LGBTQ community than on any other group, and that if Mitt Romney becomes the president, the LGBTQ community will face a gargantuan setback in our civil rights. She’s right, but I think there is more at stake than our community.

I believe all women, the poor, the elderly, children, and all minorities, including us, will suffer deep setbacks in any progress we’ve made on civil rights, equal protection under the law, equal pay, health care, and social safety net programs. These demographics include over half of the country’s population.

She posted an extensive, though incomplete (her words), list of everything President Obama has done on behalf of LGBTQ Americans. She also posted a list of what rights we would lose if Mitt Romney is elected president and gets his way.

Jill’s most personal argument is the fact that she and her fiance, Cathy DeBuono, cannot get legally married in California until Proposition 8 is overturned in the courts. We are waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear the case. If they refuse it, the lower federal court’s ruling will stand, and Prop 8 will be overturned. California same-sex marriage rights will be restored.

Most everyone thinks SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) will refuse to hear the Prop 8 case. There are many reasons to refuse it, one being the State of California recognizes the law is unconstitutional and is refusing to defend it in court.

We can’t afford for Mitt Romney to be in the position to nominate 2-3 Supreme Court Justices, either. He would seek ideologically right-wing judges who could, and probably would, do away with at least 60 years of rights women and minorities have gained.

If Barack Obama names those Justices, we will have a non-ideologically centrist court, and maybe a center-left or left-leaning Justice. The court has become much more conservative over the past 30 years. It’s even more right-leaning and ideological than 10 years ago when it upheld Roe v Wade. If we want our rights protected and expanded, we need more non-partisan women, minority, and younger Justices.

Jill’s most compelling argument, the one that hits home much harder for people outside our community, is the following, and I quote:

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?

Please vote, and I ask you to vote for President Obama and Democratic Senate and House candidates as well.

Photo Credit: Jill and Cathy posing for the NOH8 Campaign

Please write your thoughts in the comments below. How would you justify or refute the “it’s not personal” argument?

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