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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LGBT Rights: An Important Year Ahead

By David Mixner -

You have had your break and smiles with the wonderful Congressional victory on beginning the process of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." What a wonderful moment. The last year was an incredible one with the court cases, the victory with DADT and the nation finally coming to terms with the epidemic of LGBT suicide. Finally we are seeing real tangibles from the energy, time and money we are pouring into this epic battle for full equality for LGBT people.
Unfortunately there is no rest for the weary. We have another tough year ahead of us. Every single one of us is needed on the front lines, walking precincts, writing checks and mobilizing their straight family and friends. No one gets an exemption from this battle because we are so close to crossing that line where there is absolutely no turning back the clock. Time for each and every one of us to stand and be counted.
Of course, we have to push to make sure the implementation for the repeal of DADT is moving quickly and without prejudice in any of the announced policies.
We appear to holding our own in protecting marriage equality in New Hampshire and Iowa but we can't let our vigilance down. We have to be ready to move quickly if our opposition gains a foothold in those states. The Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the case against marriage equality from Washington, DC this week and that protects us in the District. Their refusal is no small matter.
It's absolutely essential that we see that our several major court cases, especially the Proposition 8 Case, have the talent and resources needed to assure victory. Write those checks to the Foundation for Equal Rights and let them know we are walking side by side with them in this case.
This year presents opportunities in Maryland, Rhode Island and New York for marriage equality. In all three states we have the chance of gaining, not civil unions, but full marriage equality. While New York is the toughest battle we still are very much in the running with our new governor in office. If Maryland passes marriage equality we most likely will face a referendum to repeal the law. This will be an fierce battle and we must start preparing for it now. Major donors around the country should be pooling their resources and insisting on a professionally run and winning campaign.
Which bring us to our President.
President Obama has indicated and teased us with the fact that in the words of psychic John Edwards he is about to 'cross over' to full marriage equality. My guess is we will never hear the words 'marriage is between a man and a woman' cross his lips again. Well, Mr. President, now is the time to come on over. If you wait until 2012 you will be in the middle of your re-election and everyone will tell you to stay firm against marriage equality. If you wait until the courts order full equality you will lose your increasing movement toward being a leader on civil rights. If your political aides present you with polls, focus groups and data telling you now is not the time, just ignore them and do what is right. The right time for justice and freedom is always now. Tomorrow means another day of oppression, youth suicides and lost opportunity.
Even more important, Mr. President, if we face a referendum in Maryland we will desperately need not only a statement in support but your actual voice opposing the ballot measure. There is a huge number of progressive voters in Maryland who look to you for understanding the issue and leadership. You saw nationwide the impact your words carry after the Tucson Massacre. We need the exact same moral leadership and voice for marriage equality in our struggle. Now is the time, Mr. President, now

for more from David visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.


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