A letter sent to the president—posted here with permission—by a Slog reader.
Dear President Obama,
My wife and I have been enthusiastic supporters of your candidacy and administration since early in the 2008 Democratic primaries. We are a young, professional, married, heterosexual couple with a 1-year-old son. I am a medical student, and my wife is a small business owner. Despite the incredible amount of time and attention consumed by being students, businesspeople and new parents, and our vested interests in issues like health care and the economy, we consider Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender rights to be among our most vital political interests. To date, we have been extremely disappointed in the near total lack of active support your administration has provided to the GLBT community.
Achieving equality for our GLBT brothers and sisters is the civil rights movement of our generation. Just as the movement for racial equality in the mid-20th century is well-remembered today, we feel
that the citizens and leaders of today will be remembered by how they stood on the issues of GLBT equality. You told us that you would be a "fierce advocate" of GLBT rights. We believed you. Since this January, your administration has continued enforcement of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, filed a deeply offensive brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, and most recently offered a hollow promise of benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, without assurance of heath coverage. The apparent rapid backpedaling of your administration on GLBT equality has been frustrating and alarming.
We represent a key sector of your constituency. We advocated for your candidacy; we contributed money to your campaign. We are young, educated, politically active, and vote in every election. We talk to our friends about politics. While we are not gay or lesbian ourselves, GLBT issues are near to our hearts, and right now we feel left out in the cold by your administration. We recognize that politics is a complicated game, and are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there is a grand scheme that includes "fierce advocacy" for GLBT citizens at a later date, as it is clearly not occurring now. We understand that we may not get everything we want right away, but as of today your administration has given nothing concrete to the GLBT community, and we consider that unacceptable.
We want you to know we are watching you and your administration. The buck stops with you. If you are unable to exercise some clear leadership on this civil rights issue, you cannot count on our support in 2012 and the future. We believe that there are hundreds of thousands of people, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Straight that agree with us, and whose support likewise depends on your leadership on these issues. We expect to see improvement from your administration on GLBT equality: the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the extension of Equal Protection Under the Law to Gay and Lesbian families, including health insurance benefits. We hope to hear what your plans are on these issues, but we demand that you remember: it will be your actions, not your words, that we and history will remember you by.
Lorne Walker & Laurel Greenidge
San Diego, CA