Obama victory ‘a giant leap towards full equality’
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)