Thursday, November 6, 2008

My letter to President-Elect Obama

submitted on

President-Elect Obama,

My deep and heartfelt congratulations go out to you and to Senator Biden on your historic and momentous victory. This is a proud moment in our nation's history, and I look forward to being a part of the change your Administration promises.

But your historic victory was accompanied, unfortunately, by the victory of three propositions, in Florida, Arizona, and California, that enshrined bigotry and discrimination into the constitutions of those three states.

Because of the passage of Proposition 8 in California, my husband and I are unsure whether our marriage is still valid. While it was never valid in our home state of Oklahoma, knowing that at least one state recognized us as equals meant a lot to us. It was a real blow to us that millions of Californians believe that we are second-class citizens, undeserving of the same rights that heterosexual couples take for granted.

I urge you and Senator Biden to take a leading role in advancing equality for the GLBT community in this country. You have indicated on the campaign trail that you would enact hate crimes legislation, employment non-discrimination, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I urge you to make all of these things a high priority. Millions of GLBT families are counting on you to help reverse the injustice and bigotry enshrined in more than two dozen state constitutions, and grant us equal protection and equal rights under the law.

You know this already, but I'm going to repeat it. The gay and lesbian struggle for equality is the next great challenge in this nation's long battle for civil rights. You are uniquely positioned as a President who calls on America's better nature to take a leading role in this struggle. Full equality, including marriage equality, on a nationwide basis, may be a long way off, but you can start to take the steps necessary to end the hate and bigotry spread by dogmatic religious figures, and let America finally see their gay and lesbian neighbors as brothers and sisters.

Here are two concrete things you can do right now. Firstly, ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is a Mormon, to denounce the actions of his church in leading the charge in favor of Proposition 8 in California, which he should have done months ago. Secondly, set up an investigation to determine whether the Mormon church violated its tax-exempt status in funding and campaigning actively for Proposition 8's passage.

In peace and hope,