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A High Stakes Election
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 10/25/12
Last updated on: 10/25/12
 
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Sarah Schmidt, Chair of LPAC, discusses the importance of this election with other glbtq political activists.

The 2012 presidential election is a high stakes affair. Much of the progress made by the equal rights movement could be reversed if Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States.

The difference between the candidates for President could not be more stark. President Obama has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights. He has not only achieved major legislative victories that benefit glbtq people, including the passage of a hate crimes bill and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but he has used the powers of the executive office to improve the lives of sexual minorities. Not only has the President directed the Department of Justice not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and the Immigration Service not to pursue the deportation of foreign-born same-sex spouses, but in his administration, regulations have been put in place that accord greater recognition to same-sex couples, protect federal workers against discrimination, and ensure that the federal government recognizes the correct gender of transgender people.

In addition, the President has endorsed marriage equality and has moved the Democratic Party to a major policy change on the issue.

In contrast, Romney has pledged to support a Federal Marriage Amendment and to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Should Romney be elected President, he can be counted on to reward his ultra-conservative supporters by rolling back the progress made by the glbtq community. Should the Democratic Party retain control of the U.S. Senate, it is unlikely that a President Romney could enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, but he certainly will reverse many of the executive orders issued by President Obama and the regulatory interpretations initiated by his administration that have improved the lives of glbtq people.

These orders and regulations range from student bullying regulations to interpretations of the family leave act to enforcement of immigration laws.

As Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, told Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade in June, "The bigoted wing of the GOP, which Romney has embraced with gusto, cannot stand the idea that same-sex relationships have been afforded near equal status in so many federal rules and regulations."

He added as an example, "It grates against their very being that transgender Americans can get passports with the appropriate gender marker and there are more than a few who want to see the HIV travel ban put back into place."

At a recent dot429 Straight Talk conference in New York City, veteran activist David Mixner, Pennsylvania State Representative-elect Brian Sims, LPAC Chair Sarah Schmidt, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation president Neil Giuliano discussed the high stakes of the 2012 election. The video below excerpts some moments in that discussion.

 
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