A couple years ago, my friend Jerry Hose was invited to the White House LGBT Pride Reception. Like me, Jerry was at the very first gay Pride march, which we called Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day. It was in commemoration of the Stonewall riots the year before and, like Jerry, I was the only one in the room at this year's White House Pride Reception who had been at that first march. I still have my marshal's badge -- a 3-by-5 card with the stamp of CSLDC on it. We didn't have much money in those days -- there was no Gay Inc. then.
So when the president entered to make his speech, I hung to the back of the room along with an old friend from the Democratic National Convention, some White House personnel and blogger Mike Rogers.
The president welcomed all to the White House last Friday and then ran off a list of his administration's accomplishments for this community. Not going to list them here, but they are impressive.
After the speech, he worked the rope line and spoke with a few guests. Later, one of those told me he asked the president to sign an executive order -- hold it right there!
Let's take a reality break. It is a waste of time to ask the president to issue any new policy changes. Not that the change is not necessary, not that you'd be wrong in wanting the changes. It's just absolutely a waste of time and priorities. Why, you ask? Any executive order issued by President Obama can be undone by the next president. Therefore, if for any reason Obama does not get reelected, do you really think Mitt Romney would keep it in place? So why ask the president for something that will only last six months? But that's only half the story. Much of what this administration has accomplished for this community can be undone by Romney. And even that is not the full story. Because Romney says he'd try to appeal the other areas that have been written into law.
With that, I say your No. 1 priority is to reelect President Obama to protect your rights and gains and to give him the time he needs to do what most kept a blind eye to -- making those executive orders laws. And securing the laws that we have won, such as the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And, as I've said a thousand times, passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act really needs to be a priority, but not now.
Now we are in a fight to keep the modest gains we have made. And the only way to do that is to reelect Obama. Let's be clear: This is not going to be an easy election. Did you notice Wisconsin? Did you notice the money in that race? Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino operator and the man who financed Newt Gingrich's run, has stated that he might give Romney and his super PAC $100 million. Chances are that Romney will have more funds than Obama. If that were not enough, did you know there are now 24 states that have pending voter ID legislation? That means that certain people will have a problem voting. Do you even wonder which people they are? The ugliest of those states is Florida. Remember Gore vs. Bush?
As I write this, a press release from GOProud, the gay Republican organization, hits my desk. They endorse Mitt Romney. And here's the rub. They do so for Romney's private sector economy record. There is no mention of any Romney LGBT support to this community in any way. Guess you'd have to be a rich, white self-hating homo to appreciate endorsing someone who says he'll not honor you or your relationship -- and attempt to toss you out of the military since being gay means you are not fit for U.S. military service. While this might be a hard statement on GOProud, we are more than just our wallets. GOProud should at least endorse someone who has given something to this community. Obviously, this is how poorly they think of themselves. But their endorsement makes a point: divide and conquer.
If you don't want to wake up on Jan. 21 and see all your rights vanish, your first priority is to reelect President Obama.