Less than 24 hours remain until the polls open for the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney presidential race. In my final article on Obama and the LGBT movement, I will highlight the president’s fourth year in office. 2012 proved another excellent year for LGBT achievements, President Obama jump starting January with some strong LGBT initiatives.
Taking off on his LGBT 2011 memorandum, Obama helped assemble a series of LGBT White House conferences held in major cities around the country, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Minneapolis, and Detroit.
Designed to inform LGBT organizations, activists, and the public about the Obama Administration’s strategies to foster justice, health, safety, and respect for gay citizens, the conferences focused on the following issues affecting the LGBT community:
-Safe schools and communities
With the rise of bullying directed against the LGBT community and the high rate of attempted suicide among gay youth, including local Williamsville native Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his life in Sept. 2011, the conferences served as a necessary call to action.
For an inside look at the LGBT Families Conference, held in Minneapolis in Apr. 2012, visit http://www.theuptake.org/2012/04/28/sen-franken-speaks-at-white-house-lgbt-conference-in-minneapolis/
May 9, 2012: Obama Publicly Supports LGBT Marriage
On May 9, 2012, President Obama became the first president to publicly verbalize what LGBT Americans were longing to hear: Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. Although our president enacted many laws and legislation that supported LGBT Americans throughout his four years in office, it was the first time he confirmed his gay marriage viewpoint to American citizens.
“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” said President Obama to ABC News this past May, as stated on www.cnn.com.
This thrilled the LGBT community, President Obama’s statement coming about a year after New York State became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage on June 24, 2011.
October 19, 2012: DOMA Struck Down, Edith Windsor Wins Case
The LGBT community gained ground on October 19, 2012, a New York federal appeal’s court striking down DOMA as unconstitutional, siding with Edith Windsor. Edith Windsor, an 83-year old lesbian, lost her wife Thea Spyer in 2009. Asked by the federal government to pay $363,000 in estate taxes and denied spousal deduction benefits, Windsor sued the federal goverment. President Obama stood behind Windsor throughout the process, publicly stating his support.
No matter what the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election, I want to take this time to extend my appreciation and gratitude to President Obama and his administration. It has been an incredible, ground breaking four years for LGBT Americans.
Thank you for defending LGBT rights, making me feel included in my home, the United States of America, and most of all, treating me like a human being, worthy of dignity, respect, and equality.
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”
– Preamble of “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”