[EDITOR'S NOTE:] This guest post is from Jon Hoadley, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats. Jon is responding to this evening's State of the Union address by President Bush.
For eight years, we’ve heard President Bush report on the progress of his administration. Unfortunately for LGBT Americans, there has been little effort on behalf of this White House to secure or defend our own liberties.
Now, as we enter this new year, it is time for our community to provide for ourselves our own vision of how we can contribute to a more perfect union – one that is strong and that uplifts the entire American family.
In a year when voters will decide who will next occupy the White House, we must work to ensure that elected official is an advocate for all Americans.
We’re ready to advance political priorities that protect our families.
Twenty years ago, holding an LGBT-based fundraiser for the Democratic candidates for President was considered risky. Eight years ago, voicing soft support for civil unions was labeled as daring. Over the years, our work has helped to mature the Democratic Party. We’re not where we should be, but we continue to move forward.
Today, we see Democratic presidential campaigns actively recruit from our community policy makers, volunteers, and-most importantly-votes. We see candidates speak of our families openly, before straight audiences, as part of the American family. Now, our work requires us to secure from our nominee a concrete vision that will now move these priorities into actual policy.
We’re ready for the White House.
LGBT Americans continue to face hardships unique to our community. While our families gladly contribute more than our share to the American family, we are still required to face legal discrimination in the workplace. We still suffer under uneven enforcement policies which treat bias-motivated crimes against LGBT Americans with less weight than most American enjoy. We still face legal burdens to securing legal stability for our families, protections for our children and we still are required to serve our nation in silence.
Our community hungers for our full inclusion in the American family. It is time to turn our eagerness into action and return a Democrat to the White House.
We’re ready for victories.
If we’re truly in the business of fighting for equality, we must ensure that we are not simply building majorities. It’s not enough to just support Democrats—although we have some great ones out there—but we have a responsibility to challenge Democratic candidates with accountability when they fall short on our issues and reward them with support when they take difficult positions.
Whether it’s the success in passing historic non-discrimination bills in “red states” like Iowa or Colorado, winning recognition for our relationships in places like Oregon or New Hampshire, or fighting to preserve the freedom to marry in Massachusetts, we’re seeing that our money—and or volunteer hours—matter.
We’re ready to work..
The next ten months will take patience, perseverance, and participation if we truly want to get to the America we’re all ready for. Now more than ever, it’s time to become involved. There will be distractions along the way. Candidates will misspeak. World events will vie for our attention. We will grow tired—physically, spiritually, and financially. But we can’t give up.
This is our year to build our country towards a more perfect union – an inclusive nation and a secure American family.
We’re ready for equality.