Get Out The Vote: Focus on Marriage Equality
This post is part our weekly Get Out the Vote 2012 series, focusing on ways to promote civic engagement in your Jewish community and highlighting portions from the RAC’s Get Out the Vote 2012 guide. Today’s post focuses on marriage equality, which is one of the many issues you can talk about as part of your voter education efforts. Check back every Monday for new updates. Almost two years ago, President Obama said he was “evolving” on the issue of marriage equality. Now, some top Obama campaign officials have been discussing with key Democrats the possibility of him finishing his “evolution” and announcing his support for marriage equality. This is particularly notable considering that four former DNC chairs and 20 current Democratic senators, among others, have endorsed the inclusion of marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic Party platform.
However, considering the Obama administration’s recent announcement that the president would not be fulfilling his 2008 campaign promise to sign an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity among federal contractors, it is less likely that the president will so publicly take the side of the LGBT community. For now, at least, the president officially opposes marriage equality, despite his state-level campaign’s tepid statements against anti-marriage equality initiatives in Minnesota and North Carolina. Minnesota and North Carolina aren’t the only states dealing with anti-marriage equality campaigns this election season. In both Maryland and Washington, anti-gay groups are organizing to repeal the passage of marriage equality in their respective state legislatures. In Maine, activists are working to pass marriage equality by ballot measure for the first time, adding another chapter to the state’s complicated history with marriage equality (if this year’s ballot measure passes, it would repeal the 2009 referendum which overturned the state legislature’s passage of marriage equality legislation). Like President Obama, all of the Republican candidates oppose marriage equality, but to a much greater degree. All of them but Ron Paul took the so-called “marriage pledge” created by the anti-gay hate group the “National Organization for Marriage.” This pledge commits each candidate to appointing anti-gay judges, defending the unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), instituting a federal ban on marriage equality, and repealing marriage equality in the District of Columbia. Despite not signing the pledge, Ron Paul’s anti-gay credentials are significant. In addition to the extremely homophobic remarks printed in his newsletter – which bore his name, picture, and signature – he has in the past co-sponsored legislation that would prevent federal courts from being able to strike down DOMA. Your community can organize around the issue of marriage equality by getting involved in a state-level ballot initiative campaign, hosting an issue night or planning other programs. To learn more about how your congregation or organization can promote civic engagement this election season, download your copy of the RAC’s Get Out the Vote 2012 guide now at www.rac.org/vote.