When it comes to political issues, there are so few that are as black and white as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. You’re unlikely to find a person who does not feel strongly on the issue, either for gay rights or against gay rights. For this reason, it’s important you know what the future of equality will look like under either candidate.
President Barack Obama was the first president ever to voice support for same-sex couples to get married. He is an unequivocal proponent of same-sex adoption, stating he thinks adoptive children should have a family life no matter what its gender makeup. He has provided funding for HIV/AIDS research and support agencies, and he brought an international HIV/AIDS conference to the U.S. for the first time in decades. Obama has signed a hate crime prevention law that recognizes hate crimes motivated by gender identity or sexual orientation. He also sponsored a website, stopbullying.gov, dedicated to ending bullying – including bullying that targets LGBT students.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., does not support anti-discrimination laws for LGBT individuals. He said of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, “I don’t see the need for new or special legislation” regarding the protection of gays and lesbians. He did, however, make statements supporting HIV/AIDS research in July 2012, The Christian Science Monitor reported. In contrast to Obama’s position on gay adoption, Romney said he believes “nurturing [of children] … is enhanced by the nurturing of two parents of two different genders.” Also in contrast to Obama’s position, Romney does not support civil unions and signed a pledge a year ago to introduce a constitutional amendment mandating that marriage is between one man and one woman.
A few weeks ago, I saw a drag queen named Chad Michaels perform in Madison. At the end of her performance, she spoke to the audience, saying, “It’s so important that you vote. There are places in the U.S. that people can lose their jobs because they are gay. Only you can vote to change that.” I was inspired, and I hope when you cast your vote, you will also consider LGBT rights.
Taylor Nye (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior majoring in human evolutionary biology, archaeology and Latin American studies.