Editors' Note: Guest blogger Marc Paige is a writer and HIV/AIDS prevention educator.
In just days, this seemingly endless election will be over. In swing state Florida, we can't turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or drive our roads without being inundated with campaign propaganda. Nevertheless, barring any hanging chad disasters, we will know the name of our next president Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
On LGBT rights, the difference between the presidential candidates has never been more stark. In President Obama, we have an incumbent who is the most pro-gay president ever; in Governor Romney, the most ideologically anti-gay nominee of a major party in U.S. history (even George W. Bush supported civil unions for same-sex couples).
Everyone concerned about gay rights are closely watching this election, including those who want to turn back the clock on LGBT equality. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the author of the exceptionally vicious anti-gay language in this year's Republican Party platform, tells Christians who supported Obama in 2008 they should be "repenting" by voting for Romney in 2012.
An October 26 email from Focus On the Family warns that the conservative edge on the Supreme Court could be lost if Obama wins: "That means future cases concerning the protection of innocent human life, the definition of marriage, and our religious freedom all hang in the balance right now."
On the website of the anti-gay hate group the National Organization For Marriage (NOM), Brian Brown, NOM's president, blogs that the election is a referendum on marriage equality: "Americans will choose between Mitt Romney, a pro-marriage candidate for President who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act...or the openly pro-gay marriage incumbent Barack Obama...who will have the power to position a fifth vote on the Supreme court to invent a right to gay marriage and insert it in our founding document."
Candidate Romney signed on early to NOM's presidential pledge. As a signatory, a President Romney promises to:
1) Support amending the Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman;
2) Nominate judges and appoint an attorney general committed to rejecting gay marriage;
3) Defend DOMA;
4) Establish a religious liberty commission to investigate reports of marriage equality advocates allegedly harassing and threatening Christian conservatives;
5) Push legislation allowing the voters of the District of Columbia to end marriage equality.
The LGBT community has come too far for Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins and all those voices of hate and division to win on November 6. Under an Obama administration, our nation is moving forward on LGBT equality, and on so many other issues vital to the health of our nation.
The economy is improving, though as Bill Clinton put it, "no president could have repaired the damage [after Bush] in just four years. Colin Powell cites President Obama's responsible stewardship of domestic and foreign affairs in earning his endorsement, while calling Romney's foreign policy "a moving target" - an assessment that could be applied to many of the Governor's positions.
But on the issue of LGBT equality, Romney's positions remain consistent, and awful, and this has energized far right theocrats. These right wing extremists have been unrelenting in their efforts to get Romney elected. We must work harder to spoil their retrograde plans, and re-elect the President.
(Vote 2012 graphic via Donkeyhotey on Flickr)