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Topics In the News
 
Vote as If Your Rights Depend on It: They Do
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 11/05/12
Last updated on: 11/05/12
 
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Photo by Marc Nozell (CC BY 2.0).

The 2012 presidential election is a high stakes affair. Much of the progress made by the equal rights movement over the last four years could be reversed if Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States. Anyone who cares about the rights of glbtq people should vote to re-elect President Barack Obama.

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 the Matthew Shepard and James W. Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but he has also decisively used the powers of the executive branch to improve the lives of sexual minorities.

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. In addition, regulations have been put in place that accord greater recognition to same-sex couples, afford visitation rights to partners of hospitalized patients, 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.

Romney is perhaps the most duplicitous and least trustworthy candidate to run for President of the United States in memory. Nothing he says can be believed. Nevertheless, it is a very good bet that should he 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.

Over the past four years, President Obama became the fierce advocate for glbtq people that he promised to be in the 2008 campaign. He richly deserves re-election.

On October 15, 2012, the Obama campaign released a stunning video featuring glbtq celebrities. In it Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Billie Jean King, George Takei, Wanda Sykes, Zachary Quinto, and Chaz Bono explain why they support President Obama.

In very personal and moving terms, they explain how their lives have been affected by the progress achieved by the Obama administration in the area of glbtq rights. They also express their well-founded fear that this progress can be turned back by the election of Mitt Romney.

The video rehearses the achievements of the past four years and also makes us aware of what is at stake in the November 6, 2012 election.

 
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