Obama vic­tory ‘a gi­ant leap to­wards full equal­ity’

GA Voice - - News -

Hu­man Rights Cam­paign, the na­tion’s largest LGBT po­lit­i­cal group, via email.

“Our com­mu­nity has flexed our po­lit­i­cal mus­cle with exit polls show­ing les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual Amer­i­cans in­creas­ing our pres­ence at the polls from 4 per­cent of the vote in 2008 to 5 per­cent this year,” Grif­fin con­tin­ued. “And the pres­i­dent gained many more sup­port­ers among les­bian, gay, and bi­sex­ual vot­ers — jump­ing seven points to gar­ner 77 per­cent of our vote.”

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the im­por­tance of an Obama win, Grif­fin high­lighted the work LGBT rights ad­vo­cates have ahead.

“Too many peo­ple are still de­nied the abil­ity to marry. Too many peo­ple go to their jobs with­out work­place pro­tec­tions. Too many young peo­ple go to bed at night and stare at the ceil­ing, sleep­lessly won­der­ing what awaits them the next day at school or at church or in their own home,” Grif­fin said.

“We have a long way to go, my friends, but tonight we took a gi­ant leap to­wards full equal­ity in this great coun­try.”

Four more years

Obama’s ac­com­plish­ments on LGBT is­sues dur­ing his first term in­clude re­peal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” sign­ing the Matthew Shep­ard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Preven­tion Act into law and in­struct­ing his De­part­ment of Jus­tice to ac­knowl­edge the un­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the De­fense of Mar­riage Act in a se­ries of court chal­lenges. He also an­nounced his per­sonal sup­port for al­low­ing same-sex cou­ples to marry.

No pres­i­dent had ever ad­vo­cated so fiercely for LGBT causes, but can vot­ers ex­pect more of the same in the next four years?

Dar­lene Nip­per, deputy ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Gay & Les­bian Task Force, said the an­swer is “yes.”

“He’s clearly been the most pro-LGBT pres­i­dent we’ve had,” Nip­per told GA Voice by phone.

Nip­per was bullish on leg­is­la­tion mov­ing for­ward, even with a di­vided Congress where Repub­li­cans re­tain lead­er­ship in the U.S. House while Democrats con­trol the U.S. Se­nate.

“We have to as­sume [DOMA] is some­thing that would be on Pres­i­dent Obama’s agenda. There’s al­ready the Re­spect for Mar­riage Act that’s in Congress. We need to get an em­ploy­ment non-dis­crim­i­na­tion bill passed. Our ex­pec­ta­tion is that he will be mov­ing for­ward,” she said.

Pres­i­dent Obama in­cluded gay Amer­i­cans in his ac­cep­tance speech, not­ing that whether you’re ‘gay or straight — you can make it here in Amer­ica if you’re will­ing to try.’ (Pub­lic­ity photo)

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