Ok, I will admit that I am not the smartest person in the world. I am not the most politically aware individual. The thing I do is try. I watch the news as often as I can. I want to make sure I am aware of what is going on in the world today. One thing I get so tired of hearing from both the gay community and the rest of the country is how they don't care about politics. Now, this is a rant that anyone who knows me knows I make on a regular basis. As a matter of fact I think I have done so in the early part of this very blog...not sure. I want to address (or maybe readdress) the topic of political awareness ESPECIALLY in the gay community.
The importance of gays getting involved in politics is at an all time necessity. Here in Iowa, where I live, there has been recent attempts to get rid of marriage equality in our state. Earlier this summer there was a bill that wanted to be passed that would not only make marriage strictly between One man and One woman, but it would bar same sex couples from being able to get ANY union ( civil union, domestic partnership, etc). This kind of legislation is unacceptable. It doesn't stop there. As most of the country and the community is aware, there is a lawsuit going on from California. Most of us are aware of something called Proposition 8 or Prop 8. This is significant not just because it involves our gay friends in California, but because it could have a major impact on the country as a whole. Right now it has great potential to making itself to the Supreme Court. If it does the decision the justices make will either set a precedent or make history. If Prop 8 is upheld by the high court that will tell the rest of the country ( and states) that such regulation is ok. That even though it impedes the rights of a specific group or class the people know best no matter who it hurts. Now, if the high court strikes down Prop 8 then that means so much for the gay community. It would open the doors for getting the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) taken off the books.
California and Iowa are not the only states that have been affected. The following link shows what the states status' are in terms of Same Sex Marriage (click me). As you can see, in the grand scheme, we have a long way to go. That is what makes the 2012 elections so important. We have made some great strides. The gay community celebrated when New York became the next state to grant Same Sex Marriage to it's citizens. The problem lies in the number of states that are still not talking about it or have already passed legislation banning Same Sex unions.
Looking at the GOP hopefuls for the next Presidential election...the prospects look grim. President Obama's approval rating it tanking and people are looking to some of these lunatics as possible saviors. This is a scary scary thing. They not only would have marriage defined as just between one man and one woman, but they would even ban any union of any sorts. This goes beyond the argument over a time and religious sacred word. This is straight up bigotry. What is worse is they have organizations lie the American Family Association who have leader who want to criminalize homosexuality backing them . There are also organizations like The Family Leader with their so called, "Marriage Vow" who are shifting money into candidates and ads with the sole purpose to demonize same sex unions. This very group was successful is getting 3 judges here in my state ousted because they ruled that to deny same sex marriages in our state without a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. They already have plans to get the other judges removed too. Now keep in mind this was a unanimous decision. It was not a majority ruling by liberal judges. It was decided by every member of the Iowa Supreme Court some of which were appointed by Republican governors. This is the kind of opposition the gay community is up against.
So how do we combat this? It's very simple. We become aware. We get ourselves educated and we speak up. The simplest way to do this is vote...vote...vote. Get out there and support out GLBTQ allies in congress both at the state level and at the national level. Do you have to eat, sleep, and breathe politics. I just want you to make yourself aware enough to make a productive vote. Look at the candidates and see where they stand on gay rights. Another great way to work for the gay community is volunteer for your local GLBTQ rights activism groups. Here in Iowa I have had the pleasure of working with OneIowa a few times. The feeling I got while working with them made me feel great. There are many other organizations that help to improve not only gay rights but the image presented by the media. Such organizations are but not limited to Freedom To Marry,Give A Damn, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and GLAAD. There are more resources listed on the right of this blog under the "Cool Links" area. I suggest tho interested in ways to contribute to the community start there.
Helping out and becoming aware does not have to be as cramping as you think. Donating time and money are simple ways, but if you are like me you are limited on both. That is why I cannot stress the importance of political awareness. If you cannot fight the good fight then you need..no...HAVE to elect those who are going to fight it for us. We need to focus less as a community on getting drunk and laid and more of fighting for what we deserve, and what we deserve is to be treated like the regular human beings that we are. I hope I can count on you to stand up and do just that and encourage those you know to do the same.