What a crazy and wonderful news week it has been. DADT repealed, gay marriage begins in New York, DOMA hearings. Our community has taken giant steps forward in the last few days. Battles that we have fought for years are finally coming to fruition. We are ridding ourselves of the unacceptable compromises made during the Clinton administration.
And all week, as I have been writing and editing, President Obama has been on the TV screen above my desk, fighting with both parties about the budget and debt ceiling. So naturally my thoughts turn to him as I consider our situation for the coming years. Letâ€™s be clear up-front. I am Democrat. I voted for Obama in 2008 and intend to again in 2012, but the President has been a mixed blessing for our community thus far. During his last election cycle, he did not support gay marriage. During the last few years, his administration has both advanced our civil rights and gotten in the way. He has appointed a remarkable number of openly gay officials. On June 29, he held a reception for Gay Pride at the White House. Recently, he has endorsed Senator Dianne Feinsteinâ€™s Respect of Marriage Act which is intended to repeal DOMA.
According to people close to the president, his views on gay marriage are â€śevolving.â€ť And this is good news because he can have a huge influence on gay marriage rights across the nation. For example, his support can hold sway with the black churches, which are typically opposed to gay marriage and have been working hard (and often successfully) to stop gay marriage legislation (for example, mostly recently, in Maryland).
I do firmly believe that this man, during his second term, will have more impact than any other president in history in advancing our equal protection under the law. We can argue about his mixed record and (rightfully) grumble about his politicking, but bottom line, we must get him re-elected. And if we do, I suspect his â€śepiphanyâ€ť about gay marriage will occur when he is safely ensconced in his second term. We must be patient.
Iâ€™m sure that my message of patience is not well-received by many of you. After all, the wheels of change have not moved fast enough to save so many of our brothers and sisters dying of AIDS and hate crimes and flat out annihilation in other countries. Our children are still taken from us. We are barred from the hospital rooms of our partners. But I hope you see, as I do, that change is happening faster than ever before. State by state, we are fighting and winning our rights to full and equal protection under the law. Go New York!!!
I have been out and an activist of one sort or another for 23 years. When I first joined the community in 1992 and was living in the Midwest, we were still trying to create visibilityâ€¦ we marched and protested. We laid down â€śdeadâ€ť in the streets. We chanted and shamed and outed. It was what was necessary at the time. We were fighting for basic things -- protection in the workplace, the right to care for our loved ones, and safety at home, school and on the streets. Few of us could even imagine gay marriage.
Today, life is very different for lesbian, gay and bisexual people on the coasts. Even in the heart and south of our country, we are seeing important progress (I donâ€™t think we can paint a bright picture yet for the young Trans movement). Traditional street activism remains critical, and to it we have added strategic politicking, with powerful lobbying groups and elected and appointed officials in nearly every state. One of our own, Representative Tammy Baldwin, has announced a race for Senate in Wisconsin. If elected, she would be the first openly gay person elected to that body.
I am proud of how our community has adapted as necessary to our social and political circumstances to influence change. And due to the efforts of every type of activist, we have more power and influence than ever before.
My friends, I implore you to get involved with the 2012 Obama campaign. Donate, volunteer, talk to your friends. It is going to be an ugly race with the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann on the scene, so we will need to fight. It is an investment in our future.
And while I have youâ€¦ you may have noticed some changes at the Bay Times. We have updated our logo and the look of our paper. It was time for the design of our paper to reflect the quality of its content. We have many more changes in store for you and we want your input. What do you like?
What should we do more of? Less? This is your paper. We will listen to every idea. Write to me at email@example.com.