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Ken Williams

Views & Voices

2012 election is crucial to LGBT Americans, women and minorities

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
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The 2012 presidential election is quickly shaping up to be a fairly clear choice for many LGBT Americans, women and minority groups.

The Democrats, whose national convention will be Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C., are poised to endorse marriage equality and other progressive issues near and dear to the heart of the LGBT community, women and minorities.

The Republicans, whose national convention will be Aug. 27-30, are on the verge of approving an extremely conservative platform that rejects marriage equality, supports a constitutional amendment to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying, defends the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), restricts rights of women and minorities, and more.

For many LGBT voters, the re-election of Barack Obama will mean that the slow progress toward full equality will continue and the direction of the country will continue to trend toward progressive goals.

However, the prospect of the election of a Republican president sends chills up many spines, especially to those voters — LGBT, women, minorities, progressives, liberals and moderates — who have read about at the proposed Republican platform and are aware that the next president will likely shape the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come.

The proposed Republican platform is expected to be ratified by the national convention at month’s end.

The plank ignores national polls showing that marriage equality is now approved by a majority of Americans.

“The GOP’s proposed platform is blatantly out-of-step with not only the majority of our nation, but even with the rank and file of the Republican Party itself,” said Chad Griffin, HRC president. “The party is poised to send a devastating message to LGBT youth – that they and the families they aspire to one day build are not worthy of the same protections as everyone else.”

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, also expressed disappointment in the draft of the platform.

“With a growing majority of Americans, a substantial majority of independents, and a super-majority of young people across the spectrum supporting the freedom to marry for all committed couples, it’s sad to see the Republican Party so out of touch,” Wolfson said.

“A party that proclaims its belief in freedom, limited government, and personal responsibility should not be doubling down against couples seeking to share in the commitment of marriage and the birthright of liberty and justice for all,” he said.

Wolfson’s organization also sponsors Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which recently sent a letter to the Republican platform committee urging its members to resist efforts to oppose marriage equality.

HRC stresses that the proposed Republican platform resembles the so-called “marriage vow” edict from the anti-gay hate group, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Signers of the vow, which include presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, pledge to defend DOMA, pursue a federal amendment against marriage equality, appoint only anti-gay judges and establish a Joe McCarthy-style congressional commission to investigate supporters of equality.

The proposed Republican platform shuts out moderates in the GOP who are for equality, including Log Cabin Republicans. LCR had hoped to persuade the GOP to tone down its platform and at least affirm the “dignity and respect” of LGBT Americans, but even that was rejected. R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of LCR, told BuzzFeed that the platform was harsh. ”It’s bad with a capital B,” he said.

Tony Perkins, head of the rabidly anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), gloated that he practically wrote the GOP platform. This suggests that the national party has been totally hijacked by known anti-gay hate groups like FRC and NOM that promote lies and discrimination against LGBT Americans under the guise of “protecting traditional marriage.”

“This platform language certainly doesn’t represent the whole of the GOP, which is continuing to add equality supporters to its ranks,” Griffin said. “As Americans and young Republicans increasingly embrace equality, politicians seeking to harm our community will not even be considered serious contenders at the national level.”

After the Justice Department declared DOMA was indefensible in court and the Obama Administration ordered the government to stop defending the law in federal lawsuits, the Republican House leadership is now spending a fortune in taxpayer dollars to unsuccessfully defend DOMA in federal court. To date, more than eight federal judges have declared parts of DOMA to be unconstitutional, yet the GOP continues to ignore the course of history and the wisdom of the judiciary.

Do we want to be a progressive nation? Or do we want to turn back the clock on the rights of LGBT Americans, women, minorities and others who do not subscribe to right-wing politics?

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