The following Op-Ed was written by Joe Mirabella. Joe Mirabella is a volunteer for Join the Impact as the Washington State Community Organizer. Mirabella is a full time writer and content developer for an online retailer. He is engaged to marry his partner of 5 1/2 years in their home state of Iowa.
The Obama Flip-Flop campaign was a creative attempt to convince Obama to instruct the Justice Department to refuse to defend the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) lawsuit started by GLAD. Presidents have the option to let lawsuits go through undefended when they believe they are unconstitutional. Both Clinton and Bush exercised this option. Unfortunately, the Justice Department released a 50 page brief today outlining the Obama administration’s defense of DOMA. Check out the AMERICAblog for their translation of the motion. (A copy of the brief is at the end of this post.) In the mean time let me summarize; it is not good. The Obama administration is attempting to diminish the two Supreme Court cases that most of our rights are based on, Loving vs Virginia and Lawrence vs Texas.
The LGBT community supported President Obama and his campaign with our money, our valuable time, and our votes. We believed the President when he promised us he was going to repeal DOMA, end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Pass the Employment Non Discrimination Act, support Hate Crimes Legislation, and more. We believed the President because he offered the country hope and our community needed hope more than any other community in America. We needed a friend in the White House who was willing to lead us through the civil rights movement of the century. We needed someone who was not going to stab us in the back.
Mr. President you flip-flopped. We should have known. You started your Presidency with one of the most anti-gay Pastors in the country giving your inaugural prayer, Rick Warren. You further hurt us by remaining silent on proposition 8. The one moment you mentioned our advances in Iowa and other states was in jest at the correspondence dinner. You asked the Supreme Court to ignore an appeal on Don’t Ask Don’t tell for “unit cohesion”. You did all these things and yet your promises remained on Whitehouse.gov (FYI his promise to repeal DOMA is no longer there.) Some of us still hoped, myself included, that you would do the right thing and not defend DOMA.
I no longer have hope for you President Obama. I no longer believe you are on my side. Your adminstration is using the arguments of our worst enemies to uphold laws that destroy our families. I should have known. I should not have been so enchanted by your beautiful speeches and colorful campaign posters. Mr. President you are no different than the rest. You used our community to get to the White House and now you have pushed us aside. This time is different though, because we won’t take it anymore!
I was once on the fence about the October march on Washington. It is clearer to me now more than ever we can not wait. We need to show up and stand up. We need to destroy our worst enemy — apathy. We need to mobilize our communities to fight locally and nationally. We need to demand that our leaders not only say they are going to protect our families, but they must prove it through action. Flowery speeches will no longeer woo us. Colorful posters are a red flag now. If you want the support of the LGBT community, you will have to earn it.
A group of leaders met this spring in Dallas to discuss the future of the LGBT civil rights movement. They developed a set of ideals that I think are a good start. They are called the Dallas Principles:
In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:
1.Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.
2.We will not leave any part of our community behind.
3.Separate is never equal.
4.Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.
5.The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.
6.Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.
7.Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.
8.Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.
We are in a fight for our lives. Maine needs our help to protect marriage from a voter initiative to overturn the recent gain there. Washington needs our help to protect Domestic Partnerships from a group of fundamentalists. Gays and lesbians are still being fired from their jobs because of who they were born to be. Children are being hurt as they are ripped from loving same-sex parent’s arms and returned to foster care systems. Our community continues to be violently attacked in hate motivated crimes. Obama reminded us today that we are the only ones we can depend on to fight for our rights. Apathy is no longer an option. Either stand up for yourself now or don’t be surprised when we are left with nothing.
Join the Impact will be launching several tools in the near future to help you fight for your rights. In the mean time volunteer your time locally, get ready to go to Washington DC, donate your money to LGBT causes, demand your representatives vote for your rights, talk to people about our issues, and most importantly do not give up.
When Obama became President, he asked us to hold his feet to the fire when he was letting us down. Mr. President, you let me down. Join me by telling the president he let you down by twittering the president @barackobama with the tag #promise
It is no longer okay for our elected leaders to take advantage of us. If you want our support, you will have to earn it through action. You better start now, because we are watching.