BARACK OBAMA RE-ELECTED Pro-LGBT Agenda is
"I believe we can keep the promise
of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it
doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look
like or who you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or
white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or
rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here
in America if you’re willing to try."
The Presidential Election is
over, the votes have been counted, and the
results are in. President Barack Obama
was re-elected for a second term of office.
Governor Mitt Romney was defeated after a
very contentious and polarizing campaign
during which a sharp contrast was drawn
between pro-LGBT and anti-LGBT platforms.
Obama received 303 electoral votes.
Romney received 206 electoral votes.
victory comes a victory for the LGBT
community. Two more states (Maine and
Maryland) have been added to the list of
states legalizing gay marriage.
Obama's LGBT-friendly platform supports LGBT
rights and same-sex marriage.
Oh, and a lesbian couple got engaged at an Obama
election night celebration party n Maryland.
aftermath of the election, there is much
room for optimism.
Merchant, ALGBTICAL President, stated:
"This is almost the best morning ever for enthusiasm
and hope for equality! Second only to
marrying my wife!"
ALGBTICAL Co-Founder, said: "I didn’t
think I would be as optimistic as I am this
morning. What a great morning for Equality!
A President who is on record supporting
marriage equality, our first LGBT member of
the US Senate, other allies elected to the
Senate. More LGBT members in the House. Then two states vote for
marriage equality and two other races yet to
be decided. Add to that, as far as I
know this hasn’t happened before, a state
that all major elected positions are held by
women. New Hampshire now has a woman
holding each US Senate seat, each seat in
the House, and a woman Governor. Times
they are a changing."
ALGBTICAL Past President, said: "I'm just
giddy with excitement!"
Elliott, ALGBTICAL Co-Founder, added some
"At the same time, we did experience some
losses by allies here in Alabama. The defeat
of Robert Vance by Roy Moore is very
troubling to me. Also, Lucy Baxley was a
quiet ally. On the local level, we lost a
ally in Judge Brian Huff, from Birmingham Family
Court. This fall he agreed to the
establishment of a nondiscrimination policy
inclusive of sexual orientation and gender
identity and expression for all Family Court
workers as well as youth served by the
Court. He followed up the policy by allowing
and promoting a training in October for
Family Court workers on issues for LGBTQ
youth. He had hoped to promote similar
training in the Family Court system
statewide. So, we do still have much work
to do here in Alabama!"
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D)
former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) to represent
Wisconsin in the US Senate. Baldwin is the first openly
gay US Senator and the first female Senator to represent
Baldwin's win keeps
the Senate seat long
held by retiring
Sen. Herb Kohl in
ends a bitter race
that pitted two
Thompson, a former
contender, was well
known in the state
and nationally. And
Baldwin served three
terms in the
In her victory
speech in Wisconsin,
that she makes
history as both
female senator and
the country's first
openly gay senator.
"Now, I am well
aware that I will
have the honor of
first woman senator.
And I am well aware
that I will be the
first openly gay
said to loud cheers
and chants of
"Tammy, Tammy!" from
her supporters. "But
I didn't run to make
history. I ran to
make a difference."
said she believes
that she and tea
can find common
ground to help the
state despite being
on opposite ends of
The 2012 US
Presidential Election is just around the
corner. Just in time for election day,
in a recent commentary featured in the
Huffington Post, US Representative Barney
Frank made the following statement:
standpoint of legal equality for lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender people, the
upcoming elections will be the most
important in our history. In decades, there
has not been a sharper distinction between
the two parties on any issue than there is
today on LGBT legal equality. President
Obama, the Democratic platform and the
overwhelming majority of Democrats in
Congress support abolishing the restriction
on federal recognition of same-sex marriages
in states that recognize them and support an
LGBT employment nondiscrimination act.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney,
the Republican platform and more than 90
percent of congressional Republicans
strongly oppose them. If you care
strongly about LGBT issues, the case for
voting Democratic is very clear. The
facts are clear: There is simply no logical
basis whatsoever for arguing that voting for
Republicans this year is a good way to
advance LGBT legal equality."
As the two major American political
parties wrap up their individual conventions, voters are left with a
lot to consider regarding the two presidential candidates. The
Republican National Convention, held in Tampa, nominated Mitt
Romney, while the Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte,
backed President Barack Obama for another term.
Both conventions played host to a lot of
rhetoric and gave voters much to mull over. For citizens
listening closely, this time around, for clues that reveal the
candidates' platform on critical issues related to LGBT concerns,
there was a sharp contrast. LGBT concerns, including support
for marriage equality and LGBT persons serving in the military, were
repeatedly expressed in speech after speech during the DNC. Meanwhile, during the RNC, not a word was uttered about LGBT persons
except to reiterate their support of "traditional" marriage.
More precisely, Democrats chose
specific vocabulary when discussing LGBT issues at the convention.
Instead of using the term “sexual orientation,” it was about “who you
love.” This election featured the DNC's first-ever plank
endorsing same-sex marriage.
More than a
dozen speakers mentioned LGBT equality on
the first two nights of the Democratic
convention. Openly gay speakers got
primetime billing. A record-setting 8
percent of delegates are LGBT. The party’s
unprecedented embrace of gay equality comes
a week afterJoe Biden thanked gay
rights advocates in Provincetown for
“freeing the soul of the American people.”
The gay rights movement, said the vice
president, was advancing the “civil rights
of every straight American.” For gay
people’s “courage,” he said, “We owe you.”
For the first
time ever, Democrats at their most public,
high-profile moment are treating gay rights
as a political winner. And they’re moving along
with public opinion. In the latest Harris
Interactive poll, 52 percent of likely
voters favored same-sex marriage, including
70 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of
LGBT speakers and issues were in the
spotlight at the DNC. Zack Wahl's spoke about being raised by
two mothers. Army Captain Jason Crow commended Obama for
ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. Lesbian Latina law student
Alejandra Salinas spoke in support of Obama. And two very high-profile openly gay public officials... Reps. Barney
Frank (D-Mass)... and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis)... also took to the
First Lady Michelle
Obama notably put gay marriage in a
particularly august civil-rights
pantheon as part of a crescendo late in
“If a young
preacher could lift us to the mountain
top with his righteous dream, and if
proud Americans can be who they are and
boldly stand at the altar with who they
love, then surely, surely, we can give
everyone in this country a fair chance
at that great American dream.”
particularly notable, given the fear that
gripped Democrats over this issue in
2004 and the reticence with which they
approached it in 2008, Rahm Emanuel even
auditioned marriage as a wedge issue:
leadership, whose judgment, whose values
do you want in the White House when that
crisis lands like a thud on the Oval
Office desk? … A person who wanted to
keep don't ask, don't tell or a
president who believes that who you love
should not keep you from serving the
country you love?”
Their Stance on LGBT Issues
What are the official positions of the candidates who sought office
in the 2012 elections? More specifically, what are their attitudes
regarding LGBT issues?
Mitt Romney has created
and acquired a reputation for being the most conservative candidate
in the 2008 Presidential elections not only by taking a tough stand
against gay and lesbian marriage but also opposing most of their
petitions seeking rights for
these groups. He is against the idea of letting gays and lesbians
serve actively in the US Military. In addition, he has said that he
would not support over-turning the 'Don't ask, don't tell'
legislation. He has openly opposed same-sex marriage saying that it
family which forms
therefore, it needs to be built further, protected and strengthened
instead of being redefined. To this effect, Romney has expressed
support for the Federal Marriage Amendment which would modify the US
Constitution and prohibit same-sex marriage. He has expressed
opposition for civil unions as well saying that he would want to see
marriage limited to being between a man and a woman. He said he
would support neither but if asked to choose between same-sex
marriage and a civil union, he would choose the latter as being a
lesser evil. Opposing the
judgment on the matter, Mitt Romney strongly feels that same sex
marriage would destroy not only the culture of America but would
also irreparably damage the education system and thereby children.
Although he personally believes that Americans should be respectful
of all people and their sexual orientation, the long standing
institution of marriage should be upheld and respected as being the
only acceptable norm. He frequently told Republican audiences
that every child has a 'right to have a mother and father' but also
acknowledged that same-sex couples have a 'legitimate interest' in
Newt Gingrich opposes domestic
partnership benefits for same-sex couples. He wants a
constitutional amendment to protect the traditional family. He
believes that same sex couples should have some sort of legal rights
so that they can leave their estates to their partners or visit them
in the hospital. Gingrich believes that homosexuality is a
sin. He thinks that same sex couples should not be able to
adopt children. He thinks that gays and lesbians should be
able to teach as there are many good and decent people who happen to
be gay and children will encounter them in everyday life.
Rick Santorum has equated the
issue of gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia. He gave a
pep talk to gay marriage opponents in Washington. He wants a
constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a
woman and said he would support a constitutional amendment banning
same-sex marriage. He said he would restore “Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell” if military leaders advised him to. He prides himself on
being a crusader for divisive social issues and for being decidedly
GOP Republican Presidential hopeful and Minnesota Congresswoman
Michele Bachmannhas been
particularly vocal regarding her opposition to LGBT rights and has
made numerous anti-gay remarks.
has signed an anti-gay pledge that states homosexuality is a choice.
As a result, she
has come under siege by young activists speaking on the behalf of
the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
She regards LGBT people as sick and dysfunctional. She is
quoted as saying,
“If you’re involved in
the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s
bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and
And she has also said,
I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians,
who are bisexual, who are transgender. We need to have profound
compassion for people who are dealing with
the very real issue of sexual
dysfunction in their life and sexual identity
in Iowa, Bachmann went toe-to-toe with Jane Schmidt, a high school
student who is the president of Waverly High School's Gay-Straight
Alliance. Jane confronted the Presidential hopeful on her same-sex
marriage stance and Bachmann replied, "We all have the same civil
rights." To which Jane then asked, "Then, why can't same-sex
couples get married?" "They can get married," Bachmann
responded. "But they abide by the same law as everyone else. They
can marry a man if they're a woman. Or they can marry a woman if
they're a man."
A week later, while attending a book signing, Bachmann was
approached by eight-year-old activist Elijah, probably coached by
his mother, who told Bachmann: "My mommy's gay but she doesn't need
fixing." Most likely Elijah’s comment stems from a statement
Bachmann made in the past.
State Rep. Tammy Baldwin has made
history by becoming the first openly gay first-time candidate ever
elected to Congress, winning Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district seat
over Josephine Musser.
While four openly gay men have served in
the House, all disclosed their sexual orientation after first being
elected to their posts. Baldwin also becomes the first lesbian to win a
The 2nd district seat was vacated by
moderate Republican Scott Klug. He successfully held onto this
Democratic-leaning district, which includes Madison, for four terms by
veering from his party's orthodoxy and working hard.
His retirement was expected to hand this
seat to the Democrats, but that was thrown into some doubt as Baldwin's
liberal politics and sexual orientation were expected to be a hard sell
in conservative rural and suburban areas of the district.
A GOP primary that drew six hopefuls was
won by state insurance commissioner Musser, a moderate who has Klug-like
On the campaign trail, Baldwin tried to
focus the spotlight on the issues rather than her sexual orientation.
She stuck with traditional Democratic themes such as universal health
Musser portrayed her opponent as a single
issue candidate. But Baldwin denied the charge, pointing to her work on
prisons, health and campaign finance reform issues.
A former nurse and health care consultant,
Musser also spoke about health care reform. Like her Democratic
challenger, she is pro-choice.
Musser diverged dramatically with the more conservative side of her
party on several key issues: She said she supports a ban on some types
of late-term abortions only if there are exceptions for the life and
health of the mother; she opposes a constitutional amendment barring
flag desecration; and she would not support legislation to ban gay
The Republican candidate was known during
the campaign as being blunt and a self-described "difficult person to
manage," having gone through four campaign managers over the course of
The race for Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district was one of the few
match-ups this year between two women.
dream of a world in which you can put your partner's picture on
your desk, then put her picture on your desk...and you will live
in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you
can walk down the street holding your partner's hand, then hold
her hands...and you will live in such a world. If you
dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected
officials, then run for office...and you will live in such
a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your
partner to the office party, even if your office is the US House
of Representatives, then take her to the party. I do, and now I
live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep
us oppressed --- them and us. We are half of the equation."
PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CIVIL
Support for LGBT
"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots
in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT
rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this
issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation
is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all
its citizens with dignity and respect."
Obama, June 1, 2007
Here is an overview of President Obama's agenda regarding gay and
lesbian rights, as stated on the official White House website:
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes:
In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest
category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such
crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand
federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because
of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender
identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama
passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit
them against the law.
Fight Workplace Discrimination:
President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and
believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded
to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing
number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic
partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace
occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored
legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples:
President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples
legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama
also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact
legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and
benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended
to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.
These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in
times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other
employment benefits, and property rights.
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage:
President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006
which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and
prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or
other unmarried couples.
Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell:
President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the
"don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should
be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve.
Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent
millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because
of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language
experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who
are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to
repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national
Expand Adoption Rights:
President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all
couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He
thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether
the parents are gay or not.
Promote AIDS Prevention:
In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and
begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that
includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce
HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health
disparities. The President will support common sense approaches
including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about
contraception, combating infection within our prison population through
education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our
public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal
ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of
infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to
confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to
Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS:
In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has
quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than
one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced
the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development
of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides
are a class of products currently under development that women apply
topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.
ANTI-GAY POLITICIANS Anti-Gay
Politicians Caught Being Gay
Shakespeare once said, "Me thinkest thou dost protesteth too much." In a
similar vein, once we start hearing some self-righteous politician or
demagogue proclaiming just a little too loudly the sinfulness of
homosexuality, be on the lookout for a closeted (or should we say
cowardly) public official dripping with all manner of hypocrisy. The
occurrence of such acts is now so commonplace, media outlets are easily
able to assemble top ten lists of the most egregious anti-gay
activists who have been caught in the act of being gay.
These are the twisted lawmakers who campaign against
gay rights in public, but who are, in fact, gay (and who generally enjoy
the rights they're publicly against, thanks to their power and
HATE TALK FROM
OKLAHOMA LAWMAKER Comments From State
Rep. Sally Kern
honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more
so than terrorism or Islam." -SALLY
KERN, Oklahoma State Representative
Message From Joe Solmonese, HRC President:
That's from an Oklahoma lawmaker's speech about gay people. You heard
right. A secret recording has just emerged of State Rep. Sally Kern
speaking to a Republican group in January, where she equates both sexual
orientation and religion with terrorism.
She thought no one was listening. Now hundreds of thousands are.
And despite her refusal to apologize, we won't let her get away with
Tell Oklahoma's governor and top legislators to
publicly denounce Kern's remarks.
This recording, first
released in a video by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, is all the more
troubling given the recent spate of hate violence
against gay and transgender youth.
Last month in California, a 15-year-old boy, Lawrence King, who suffered
taunting and bullying by his classmates because of his sexual
orientation, was killed by one of those classmates – a 14-year-old boy.
The week after Lawrence King's death saw the murder of another teen,
this time a 17-year-old transgender youth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Words matter. Especially words from elected officials. Rep.
Kern's private feelings towards homosexuality and Islam are one thing.
But public statements that encourage disrespect or violence towards
those with whom she disagrees are completely unacceptable.
Here are a few more completely unfounded claims from her speech:
"The homosexual agenda is
destroying this nation."
"No society that has
totally embraced homosexuality has lasted for more than, you know, a
"What's happening now is
they're going after, in schools, two-year-olds."
COMMUNITY Gay & Lesbian
It’s official that Patricia Todd will
serve as the first openly gay legislator in the State of Alabama.
On July 18, 2006 Patricia Todd won the Democratic primary election runoff,
beating out Gaynell Hendricks to replace retiring Rep. George Perdue for
House District 54. Since there is no Republican challenger for the
seat, Todd is the apparent winner.
Patricia Todd will be the
first openly gay state legislator in Alabama in obtaining a state House
seat representing parts of Birmingham.
The district includes part
of downtown Birmingham and all or part of the city's East Thomas,
Fountain Heights, Druid Hills, Forest Park and Crestwood neighborhoods.
It also includes part of Irondale.
In the June 6 primary election, Alabama voters overwhelmingly approved a
state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Ironically,
on the same day Patricia Todd came one step closer to becoming the first
openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature.
The massive vote for the anti-gay marriage amendment did not make her
victory bittersweet, she said. "We knew the marriage amendment was going
to pass overwhelmingly. It was not surprising. It was just a matter of
how big the margin was going to be," Todd said.
Todd was upbeat on her chances for victory in the runoff, noting that
she has been endorsed by two of her primary competitors. She also
theorized that some gay voters in her Birmingham-based district crossed
over to vote in the Republican primary to help defeat Roy Moore's bid
for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Moore, an outspoken gay rights opponent ousted as Alabama's chief
justice for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments, was
easily defeated by incumbent Gov. Bob Riley, receiving only 33 percent
of the vote.
Todd was endorsed by the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, likely the
most significant involvement from national gay rights groups in the
Including Alabama, 17 states now ban gay marriage in their
constitutions. Passage of Alabama's amendment will "enshrine a firewall
of protection of the definition of marriage" in Alabama's constitution,
said John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. Giles'
group spent $15,000 to print and distribute literature supporting the
ban on gay marriage. One brochure claimed that allowing gay couples to
marry would cause "the health care system to stagger and collapse," and
called for Alabama voters to set an example for voters elsewhere because
"other states and nations are watching our march toward homosexual
marriage and will follow our lead."
WINS HISTORIC RACE IN ALABAMA
Patricia Todd Becomes First Openly Gay
Official in State's History
Patricia Todd made
history when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district voted to
send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever
that legislature will include an openly gay Representative. The Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian
political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of
thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help
fund her campaign. Todd has no Republican opponent in the general
election in November.
“The road to equality in Alabama is a mile shorter today,” said
Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. “Gays and
lesbians in Alabama will now have what all Americans deserve--a
voice and a vote. Alabama knows well what a single voice can
accomplish. We applaud Patricia’s courage in stepping up to be
heard,” Wolfe said.
In other elections, Victory-endorsed candidate Rep. Karla Drenner
won her Democratic primary to advance to the general election in
November. Drenner is Georgia’s only openly gay state legislator.
Allen Thornell, a Victory endorsee who is seeking election to the
Georgia state House, advanced to a runoff in his Democratic primary
“Karla‘s voice in the
Georgia legislature is vitally important. We’re working hard both
to make sure she stays there and to help elect Allen Thornell to
join her,” Wolfe said. Thornell would be the first openly gay man
in the Georgia legislature.
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and
financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. It’s the
only national organization solely committed to increasing the number
of openly LGBT public officials at federal, state and local levels
of government. Victory is the nation’s largest LGBT political
action committee and one of the nation’s largest non-connected
PACs. In 14 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT
officials grow from 49 to more than 350.