Friday, October 12, 2012

Where Do Gays Fit Into The Upcoming Election?

Where do gays fit into the upcoming election isn't a rhetorical question. I'm actually curious, because so far I haven't seen anything about same sex marriage or equal rights mentioned anywhere. And as an independent voter who usually makes up his mind at the last minute like millions of other Americans, there are certain issues that are more important to me than others. This time same sex marriage and equality is number one for me.

Clearly, same sex marriage isn't being considered an important issue in this election. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere and I've been following what's been happening in the mainstream closely. I watched the VP debates last night between Ryan and Biden and they mentioned abortion, but not same sex marriage. In past VP debates I've heard it mentioned. Edwards and Cheney talked about it openly and they didn't seem to have a problem. Dick Cheney has a gay daughter and he went to her wedding. But if you watched the VP debates last night you'd think that LGBT people didn't even exist in America. As far as I see it, both were guilty of this.

Of course we all know where Paul Ryan stands on the topic of same sex marriage, so I won't go into that. We know how Gov. Romney feels as well.

Last night during the debate Ryan told us how he feels about abortion. He's a practicing Catholic and he basically said he follows the Catholic Church in this respect. Then Joe Biden, also a practicing Catholic, added his response and it didn't make sense to me. He's a practicing Catholic who doesn't personally support abortion, but he doesn't think he should impose his values on other people who aren't Catholic?

The problem with what Biden said is that I'm a non-practicing Catholic and I know better. You can't be a practicing least not in good moral standing with the church...and support abortion in public and at the same time be anti-abortion in private. I know it sounds like you can, but according to the church that's not how it works. The church is not a democracy. Catholics believe (or should believe) in papal infallibility, which basically means you can't be in good standing with the church if you don't agree with the Pope. One of the reasons why I'm a non-practicing Catholic is because of the way the Catholic Church stands on so many issues. I disagree with their stand on divorce. I think women should be priests and I think priests should be allowed to marry. They don't even believe in birth control, which I find ridiculous. We know how they feel about LGBT issues: it's okay to be gay as long as you aren't a "practicing homosexual." Well, that's makes no sense. So it should be obvious why I'm not practicing Catholicism at this point in my life.

Joe Biden lost me on that one. He also made me wonder how the President feels about same sex marriage. The President has openly stated he's personally in favor of same sex marriage. And I believe him 100%. But is he going to fight for same sex marriage legislation on a federal level or is he going to take the same convoluted stand that Joe Biden takes on abortion? Does the President still believe that we should leave same sex marriage up to the states as he's stated in the past? Will he support same sex marriage across the board on a federal level now that he's admitted he personally supports it?  I don't know the answers to these questions, but I would like to know them before I have to cast my vote.

Frankly, I'm tired of having same sex marriage treated as a minor issue that's pushed aside while the LGBT community sits around waiting patiently, speculating, for someone to say or do something. And I want to see it discussed in at least one of the debates so we at least know where each candidate stands and we know how to cast our votes this fall. There are many important issues right now, and same sex marriage is one of them. Fifty years ago when it was illegal for mixed race marriages to take place they tried to do the same thing. And it finally took a few people with guts to push the civil rights movement forward to make the changes that were needed.

In the upcoming debates between President Obama and Governor Romney, I hope something is said about same sex marriage and equality for everyone in the LGBT community. As I said, I'm on the fence right now as to where I'm casting my vote, and because this issue is so important to me I need to know where the President stands and how he's going to act in the future. After Bill Clinton and DOMA, I trust no one anymore. I know I'm supposed to follow blindly and believe that he's going to support same sex marriage on a federal level, but that's not how it works for everyone. I want to hear it being discussed just like abortion was discussed in last night's VP debate.

In the event this doesn't happen in the next few weeks, I hope all people in the LGBT community are paying attention to important legal issues, especially if they are in a long term same sex relationship and they own property and they have mixed finances like a married straight couples. There are important legal steps that need to be taken no gay couple should take for granted. Get that legal power of attorney before it's too late. Figure out legal ways to work it out so that if anything happens to either one of you the survivor won't be responsible for paying inheritance taxes. I would advise finding a good attorney who specializes in these matters. Trust me, there are plenty of excellent gay attorneys who will help you out so that you don't lose your dignity or half your savings.

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