Barack Obama has proven himself a friend of LGBT people. He’s a friend of the families of LGBT people, and he’s a friend of friends of LGBT people. He has done more for LGBT people than any other president. He steered the effort to overturn DADT, he directed the Department of Justice to refuse to defend DOMA. He released a fully argued and unprecedented case for giving any legal attempt to limit the rights of gay people “heightened scrutiny,” and he announced that he was over his process of “evolving” and that he was now in fact in favor of marriage equality. As scores of commentators have pointed out, by his actions the president has transformed the debate over the place of LGBT people in America. Now, the question is, “Why should any rights be denied any LGBT citizens?”
This is a huge transformation, and it has come about largely as a result of Barack Obama. Before him, we were still in the position of arguing for one right at a time. Is there anyone who really believes that DADT would have been repealed by any Republican and that its repeal would have been effected by any Republican so smoothly and without incident? And isn’t it necessary to see that this president, Harvard graduate and University of Chicago School of Law faculty member, is particularly powerful in his advocacy of LGBT issues because he is black?
Many on the left complain that the policies of the Obama administration seem to continue the Bush administration—the drones and the kill-lists and some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act—and it is necessary now for all of us to plot a strategy to publicize these wrongs in such a way as to stop any president from continuing them in the future. But the consensus on the left is that Obama is good at foreign policy. He’s cool, he’s knowledgeable, and he has good judgment. He’s handled Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Iran. We are less entangled now than we were in 2008, nothing new has started on his watch, and the War on Terror is over. He’s not a bully, and the world knows that.
Then there is the economy. All the numbers show that recovery is on track, and while the pace of recovery is slower than we wanted, it is going in the direction we want—toward support for the middle class and more income equality.
I am going to vote for Barack Obama. He’s the first president in my lifetime that I could call, with any seriousness, my president. It’s just very good that, in addition to being for me, for us, for LGBT people, he’s also smart, tough, knowledgeable, has an historical sense, and is not an ideologue. He’s the only one running for president who could have written Dreams from my Father, and he’s the one the rest of the world apparently wishes we would choose.