I am certain that over the course of America’s history there have been many visionaries, those who could look into the future of this great land and see the bustling growth of a nation and the opportunities and possibilities that it presented.
I am also most assured that many of those visionaries saw something deeper than the threads of industry and the stretching forth of infrastructure and commerce. Some surely saw a land that men and women could live free from the shackles of tyranny and the religious edicts of others. A land where anyone could set their own path and fulfill their own dreams, a land of hope for everyone, not just the few, this is what America could be, one undoubtedly envisioned.
Our founding fathers were some of those visionaries who set forth a document to guarantee our freedom; “the United States Constitution”. Though that historical document has been amended many times it still holds the same principle and the basic foundation of our democracy. That principle is set forth in another document called “the Declaration of Independence” which states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
Even though our founding fathers made clear their intent, that all men should be treated equally, they allowed the slavery of black men and women. Many decades passed before slavery was finally abolished and even longer for African-Americans to be given the right to vote.
We have witnessed the enlightenment of a nation as equal rights legislation and constitutional amendments passed through our Congress and through our courts to guarantee the rights of not only African-Americans, but women, the disabled, the religious and the non-religious, along with almost every minority that exist.
Yet still, there are those who are just as American as anyone and yet they are denied the same rights as other Americans. These Americans use to have to live in the shadows of society, never revealing who they really are, afraid to be exposed because exposure could mean ridicule, shame and even punishment.
I speak of gay people and I also speak of myself. It is true that we now no longer have to live in the shadows. It is true that many of us can live our own dreams as the majority of Americans always have. Yet it is also true that we still have a long ways to go.
Most states still do not allow gay marriage and many also now have laws and constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage. Even our own federal law bans marriage except between a man and a woman and some wish to amend our Constitution to define marriage to just between a man and a woman.
We have been very fortunate to have a president who has used his office to further the rights of gay people. President Barack Obama has not only ended the two-decade old policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” but has also:
1. Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
2. Lifted the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status.
Ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to guarantee medical decision-making and visitation rights to LGBT couples.
3. Directed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court and declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional.
4. Expanded the Family Medical Leave Act to ensure that LGBT parents and partners can take leave from work to care for their child, parent, or spouse—a right afforded to any other family.
And the list goes on of the active role President Obama has had in seeing that gay people have equal rights in this country. Most recently and most significantly, he announced that he now supports gay marriage, saying:
“I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, 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.”
Gay people well know who we want in the White House this coming November and it isn’t the guy who bullied a kid in school because of his effeminate hair. It’s very likely that our rights as LGBT people to marry the one we love and be recognized anywhere in this nation could become a reality, but only if Obama is reelected as Mitt Romney no longer supports gay marriage.
Then of course, eventually gay people will be free to marry who they wish as American society becomes more accepting of gay people. It’s now only a matter of time, but a Mitt Romney presidency would delay that inevitability for years to come, forcing gay people to continue to live under the cloud of theocracy embedded within our government.
Equality seems only an arm’s reach away and so much relies on a president who believes in the principle of equality set forth by the fathers of this nation. Visionaries look forth and see a land of freedom and equality for all. “Pursuit of happiness…” A dream, a hope and the right to pursue it; that’s all gay people seek for, the same as everyone else.
This is a republish from my website: Fidlerten Place