Editor's Note: Jordan Peters is a 20 year old sophomore at The Ohio State University majoring in International Studies and Russian language. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio with her parents. The 2008 election marks her first opportunity to cast her vote in a presidential election.
Four years ago at this time I was hiding a huge part of myself from the two people who know me best- my parents. I had no idea how to tell them I was a lesbian. The conventions had ended and John Kerry and George Bush really began discussing the issues that would drive the election. Gay marriage became a significant social divide, especially as states all over the country announced constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. With the strong anti-gay sentiments in the Republican Party, revealing to my Republican family that I was gay seemed nearly impossible. Fortunately between the conventions and the 2004 election, my parents found out my secret and accepted me with love and support. Despite this sitting in my living room watching the results of the election and the passage of eleven constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage- including my home state of Ohio- was terrifying and alarming.
At twenty and participating in my first presidential election as a voter, that November evening is something that I would like to prevent. As I mentioned, my parents are lifetime Republicans, and they have instilled many of the party's beliefs in me. Before finalizing my decision at the poll in November, I intend to investigate many issues facing our country, however due to my youthful idealism the issue closest to my heart and to my future will be gay rights.
Barack Obama and John McCain both pledge change in the next four years. Moreover they promise to fight for all Americans. What do these statements mean for the gay community?
Log Cabin Republicans have recently endorsed the McCain/ Palin ticket. Based on many Republican values, this endorsement is intelligent and encouraging. Yet from a gay rights perspective this endorsement has the potential to be devastating. Mr. McCain's record regarding LGBT rights is shaky at best. The Log Cabin Republicans endorsed McCain based upon his refusal to support a federal amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. McCain's reason for opposing the amendment was based on his desire to let individual states decide the issue. He currently supports a similar amendment in his state of Arizona. Regarding his position on adoption, Don't Ask Don't Tell, hate crimes and equal housing and employment Mr. McCain has anti- LGBT opinions.
Another confusing element of the endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans surrounds the silence from Sarah Palin about issues regarding the gay community. The unexpectedness of her selection as a vice presidential candidate leaves numerous unanswered questions across the board, not just questions surrounding the gay community. Because of these circumstances, why were the Log Cabin Republicans so hasty in their endorsement of the McCain/ Palin ticket? Eight weeks remain until Election Day and Ms. Palin will be forced to answer questions from the public.
Because this election is so important to our country and to the gay community, the Log Cabin should have postponed their decision until the public knows more. Being an informed voter is one of the most important responsibilities we have as Americans and we rely on organizations such as the Log Cabin Republicans to educate ourselves. This organization was not responsible or informed when it endorsed John McCain and Sarah Palin. Hopefully by November fourth our questions will be answered and the endorsement from the Log Cabin will prove to be strong.