Give Obama Another Term: Get Out And Vote
Four years ago this month, I had the good fortune of landing exclusive interviews with Democratic presidential candidate, then-Sen. Barack Obama, and the Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain. The McCain interview was the first known time that a Republican presidential nominee had agreed to an interview with a gay publication, the Washington Blade - considered then, as it is now, America's "gay newspaper of record."
With the 2008 presidential election season in full swing, I was able to ask both men their positions on such important issues as "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the long-stalled (and still pending) Employment Non-Discrimination Act, hate crimes legislation and the debate around comprehensive sex education programing in schools. The approach was to provide a list of questions so that we could run the articles in a Q&A format. To their credit, both camps provided straightforward, honest answers to the questions.
Things have changed a lot in four years. I am no longer with the aforementioned media company, so my approach to this subject doesn't need to be as neutral as it was back then. That means that I can freely state my personal opinion about which candidate I believe would be the best person to be our next president and why.
That said, I can proudly say that this year, I'm supporting the current president of the United States, Barack H. Obama, for a second term over Gov. Mitt Romney. I have a couple reasons for doing this, which I believe make a lot of sense. Is wanting a president who is on record as saying that he and his wife have "many openly gay and Lesbian friends and colleagues" or who personally believes in pursuing policies that "treat all of us, regardless of identity or background, with dignity, equality and respect" asking too much?
I am sure that some may disagree, and I would encourage those individuals to share their perspectives, as I believe respectful debate is a good thing, particularly when we're talking about something as important as who's going to lead our country as president for the next four years.
President Obama deserves a second term because of the strong support he's provided to the LGBT community. There's been much debate over this, but I believe he's lived up to the promises he made to LGBT Americans during the 2008 campaign-and then some.
He successfully pushed through the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Today, gay and Lesbian military personnel serve openly, and consensus has built that our armed forces' moral is stronger for it. The Obama administration has refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, The president has come out forcefully for same-sex marriage, and the Democratic Party's platform reflects his view.
Many, however, continue to criticize the president for the perception that he was too slow in demonstrating his support for the LGBT community. Even if this were a valid criticism, I would answer, "Who cares?" The fact is, he did it; and because of this, I believe that all LGBT Americans should show up in force at the polls to support him.
Not only that, but the next president is likely to face filling two or three vacancies to the U.S. Supreme Court. This fact that he will be suggesting these appointments to the Senate is sometimes overshadowed by our day-to-day concerns, but the power of the executive branch to appoint Supreme Court justices is one of the major ways in which a president can affect how Americans live for decades after his presidential term ends. The have been just over 150 nominations submitted to the Senate for confirmation over the entire course of U.S. history. The appointments are vitally important.
President Obama has made two solid appointments to the court to date. Even though we do not know for sure how Justices Sotomayor and Kagan will ultimately rule on any same sex marriage case that may come before the court, chances are good that they will support marriage equality. I would argue that appointments by a President Romney would be much less likely to follow this path - although in fairness, I do feel obligated to point out that appointees by Republican presidents have taken a position in favor of LGBT rights, i.e., Justices Kennedy and Souter. Also, past GOP appointees have sometimes turned out to be more liberal in their views than expected. Chief Justice Earl Warren (appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower), Justice John Paul Stevens (appointed by President Gerald Ford) and especially Justice David Souter (appointed by President George H.W. Bush) are examples.
While I can't go into great depth on such a complicated subject here, believe me, I have considered the topic at considerable length over this non-ending election season, and I have concluded that it is not a difficult decision at all for LGBT voters this year. President Obama deserves our enthusiastic support for a second term.
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