By RON MILLS
Four years ago, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was the law of the land, and the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” appeared nowhere in the federal register.
Today, gay and lesbian men and women can serve their country without hiding who they are. The Obama administration has declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and the President is working to make our schools safer for LGBT youth.
It would take two full pages of this newspaper to detail all of the Obama administration’s advancements in the cause of our equal rights. Our community has the most progressive U.S. President ever with respect to LGBT rights. Among the advancements of our rights, Obama has ensured that transgendered veterans received respect and the best care at VA facilities, he has appointed four LGBT judges to the federal bench, and he has assured that LGBT persons have equal treatment at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In addition, President Obama called for equal treatment for LGBT persons seeking to adopt children, permitted military chaplains to perform same sex marriages, allowed transgendered persons to get a passport without surgery, assured family leave for LGBT families, guaranteed hospital visiting rights for LGBT families, lifted the travel restriction ban to allow persons living with HIV/AIDS to enter our country, extended key benefits to same-sex partners of same-sex federal employees, and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The United States Supreme Court will eventually hear the arguments for and against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). While President Obama refuses to defend DOMA, a Romney Presidency would support a constitutional amendment that bans marriage equality. The next President is expected to nominate two Supreme Court justices. A Romney Presidency would essentially rule out the possibility for LGBT-Americans to seek future recourse in the U.S. Supreme Court.
We must keep this historical progress towards the advancement of our equal rights moving FORWARD, by reelecting Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the White House for another four years.
Ron Mills is the former President of the Dolphin Democrats. He serves as Campaign, Director for the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus