Yesterday was another beautiful day in South Florida while campaigning for Florida State Senator Maria Sachs at the Wilton Manors early voting site. Despite the relatively cool weather, I was fired up to get pro-equality Democrats elected to serve as a voice of leadership on our issues. And given Maria's opponent, Ellyn Bogdanoff, is spineless and cowers to fight for right-wing conservatives waging war on the LGBT-community, Ellyn needs to be voted out of the Florida Senate.
Last night I walked to the local market to pick up a few grocery items. While walking home, I stumbled upon Monte, a fine specimen of an "undecided voter." We chatted a bit and he shared that he recently moved back to South Florida and hopes his voter registration application was recorded in time for him to vote this election. There was no need to make any arguments or voter persuasion as Monte was only sporting his Halloween costume. So I gave him with the web address for him to check his voter registration status with the Florida Division of Elections.
The walk home helped me reflect on efforts the last several weeks to register voters, debating the issues, and engaging in honest conversations about candidates for office. Time and time again, everyone agreed that we needed real leadership from our elected officials on LGBT issues. Each needed to find the courage within them to become more vocal and take ownership in the fight for LGBT equality.
In early October, my friend Michael Papandrea hosted a pool party for his birthday that benefited The SMART Ride, an AIDS Ride that goes from Miami to Key West. Michael also wanted to make certain all his friends were registered to vote, regardless of their party affiliation. He realized how important this election is for him and the people he loves that I was there with a great team to get the job done. The energy was amazing and everyone was fired up to re-elect President Barack Obama for another four years to finish the work he and Vice President Joe Biden started. I was amazed with the number of people who needed to update their voter registration or for some reason, their voter registration wasn't recorded.
My team registered voters and helped voters request an absentee ballot while people took turns holding up an LGBT for Obama sign. It was a clear choice for everyone in attendance; Barack and Joe were the people they wanted to see in the White House to fight for equality and social justice. For Darran, he proudly held up a sign that said "Republican LGBT for Obama." He knew that LGBT people were not a priority for Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan and that the Republicans now in control are not the moderate and sensible Republicans he once knew.
This election is a defining moment for LGBT people. We have a champion in President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Each have come out for full equality for our community, but it requires giving them a House of Representatives and Senate that are willing to work with him to advance legislation that would never see the light of day under Republican control.
Mitt Romney's agenda includes a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, problems for gay couples to adopt a child, McCarthy era investigations into pro-equality advocacy organizations, and the appointment of justices to the US Supreme Court who will continue the cultural war against LGBT Americans.
As LGBT people, there should be no reason to be undecided this November 6th.
We must continue to fight on and move this country forward.