Polis: I Will Attend the DNC Fund-raiser

Rep. Jared Polis skipped the president's Oval Office signing ceremony last week of an order extending some benefits to gay federal employees' same-sex partners, but he will attend the DNC fund-raiser Thursday. Polis discusses his rationale and the prospects for overturning "don't ask, don't tell" and DOMA.

BY Kerry Eleveld

June 24 2009 12:00 AM ET

Do you have anything to add before we end? Here in Congress I share the sentiment that many activists have that we're going too slow on these issues. But I think people also need to understand that Congress goes slow on a lot of issues. There's a lot of frustration from others in the progressive community. Immigration reform is an issue that I care deeply about -- there's an LGBT aspect to that, so that same-sex couples can get fair treatment under immigration law -- but immigration reform as a whole is a difficult issue; it's one that may or may not be put off yet again.

But we're hopeful that we will make progress on equality, it's just a question of how much and how fast. We're certainly moving in the right direction. The pressure from the community helps and we need to make sure that all members of Congress hear it. Gays and lesbians live across the country and it's critical that whether their representative is a Democrat or Republican that they hold their leaders accountable and demand that we move forward on an equality agenda.

Do you worry that if legislation like repeal of DADT or DOMA doesn't happen in the first two years that it might not get done at all as the White House looks ahead to trying to win reelection in 2012? I think this year is a great year to pass equality bills, and in terms of what the LGBT community should do to move us forward, I do think that we should acknowledge that there's a major difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. It's a very different Congress than it was when Republicans controlled it -- instead of talking about antigay amendments preventing gay marriage, we're talking about when and how we're going to repeal DOMA.

So the way our government is set up can make it difficult to get things done, but it's important that the LGBT community advocates on our issues. Everyone who cares about an equality agenda should reach out in a friendly way to their Congress members, ask them what they are doing, maybe share a personal story and what these laws mean for their lives and how critical it is that we act on these issues.

Tags: Politics

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