This past Saturday night, I was proud to hear President Obama speak at the Human Rights Campaign’s 15th Annual Dinner at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. The crowd of 3,200 heard the President passionately describe a bold vision for “a big America” in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are treated equally under the law. And thanks to the President’s leadership, we have passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, lifted the HIV entry ban, and repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” bringing us that much closer to a more perfect union.
We have made great strides, but as the President said on Saturday night, we have more work to do.
We must repeal the discriminatory, so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and until that day comes, this Administration will no longer defend DOMA in the courts.
We must pass a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination bill “so that being gay is never again a fireable offense in America.”
And it is critical that we pass the American Jobs Act because LGBT Americans face the same daily challenges and kitchen table concerns as everyone else. As the President said:
You’re also moms and dads who care about the schools your children go to. You’re also students figuring out how to pay for college. You’re also folks who are worried about the economy and whether or not your partner or husband or wife will be able to find a job. And you’re Americans who want this country to succeed and prosper, and who are tired of the gridlock and the vicious partisanship, and are sick of the Washington games.
We have a choice before us: a small America in which we're all on our own, or a big America in which we’re all in it together.
Raul Alvillar is an Associate Director for Public Engagement.