Editors' Note: Guest blogger Jim Toevs co-founded the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In 1992, Jim was the Democratic nominee for Congress against then-closeted Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe. He resides in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
I will gladly trade continued Democratic control of the United States Senate, in exchange for not including a marriage equality plank in the National Democratic Platform, any day of the week. I support marriage equality, and I am sure that it will come to pass in my lifetime if President Obama is re-elected to a second term and Hillary Clinton follows by serving eight years as the first woman President of the USA.
However, the most critical political battle facing the LGBT community after the President's reelection is holding on to the Democratic majority in the Senate.
Other than a "feel good" moment in Charlotte this summer at the Democratic National Convention; including a plank in support of marriage equality in the National Democratic Platform has no political merit whatsoever, and will put the Democratic Senate Majority in jeopardy.
Six years ago this November, Democrats took control of the Senate by a whisker. In the last three races to be decided late on election night, Democratic candidates Jim Webb of Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jon Tester of Montana, all had to win to give Democrats the majority. All three of these seats are hotly contested again this year, in addition to Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and many more, where right wing Republicans will use marriage equality as a club in an attempt to defeat Democratic candidates.
Why is the Senate so important to the LGBT Community? Among many other reasons is the fact that the Senate must confirm presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, as well as the rest of the federal judiciary. These are the same federal judges who will rule on every equality court case to come before them for the next generation. Concerning legislation, just this past week the Violence Against Women Act passed the Senate with every democrat voting "yes" and every republican voting against.
In August, I will be 71 years of age. Past and present political history tells me that we can achieve full legal LGBT equality in my lifetime by riding the Democratic donkey to victory. The alternative is to be stamped into the ground by an increasing rogue Republican elephant.