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Letters to President-elect Obama: Mark Leno

Letters to President-elect Obama: Mark Leno


Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear Mr. President-elect,

Let me offer you my heartfelt congratulations on your stunning victory. It is always a time of celebration when a campaign based on creative ideas, thoughtful policy proposals, and a message of respect and inclusion defeats a campaign infused with derision and personal attacks. As we approach the enormous challenges ahead, your success reminds us of the power of hope, justice, and inspiration and to believe in our dreams.

Where does one begin to repair the damage done by the nightmare of the outgoing administration? How do we restore our international stature, our tattered economy, and our dilapidated infrastructure? How do we diminish the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots, heal a broken health care system, and provide our children with the quality public education system that is their birthright? It will take an individual of your intelligence, compassion, and vision to lead us through these dark days.

As we begin our process of recovery, my ardent hope is that you will be true to yourself and thus to the American people. If there is a mandate to be found in your election, it is to speak to us directly and honestly. For too many years the ruling party has used division as a weapon, disabling us and dispiriting us. I urge you to continue to play a leading role in healing the wounds of division that have weakened our country.

We need to be reminded that America was founded as a melting pot, where our differences make us stronger and laws are not used to impede minority groups from liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today, the LGBT community continues to face pervasive discrimination in housing, employment, marriage, military service, protection from hate crimes, and immigration. You personally know how important it is to denounce prejudice and stand up for justice. Please continue to do so with people across America who might fear or not understand their LGBT neighbors, and help us break down the legal and social barriers to full equality. Bringing our full talents to bear, I believe we can finally erase second-class citizenship in this country.

Continue to be bold in your pronouncements of inclusion. Our collective spirits soar when you remind us that irrespective of our race, creed, color, religion, nation of origin, the language that we speak, sexual orientation, or gender identity, we are all human beings trying to make our way and provide for our families and communities.

Our sense of interconnection and shared dreams and aspirations has been stolen by the previous administration. You, Mr. President, have the rare ability and opportunity to bring us back together so that we can once again be a strong and respected nation. Millions of Americans put their hope and faith in your hands on November 4. Change won--and we are ready to help you create it.


Mark LenoCalifornia assemblyman

More Letters to the President-elect:Tammy Baldwin, Democratic member of Congress from Wisconsin

Daniel Tammet, author of Born on a Blue Day

Evan Wolfson, Executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Melissa Etheridge, singer-songwriter

Michelangelo Signorile, radio host and author of Queer in America

Tammy Bruce, radio talk-show host and author of The New American Revolution

Kenji Yoshino, professor at New York University School of Law and the author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

Vestal McIntyre, author of You Are Not the One and the forthcoming Lake Overturn

Jarrett Lucas, codirector of the 2008 Soulface Q Equality Ride

Michael Lowenthal, author of Charity Girl and Avoidance

Suzanne Westenhoefer, comedian and star of the documentary A Bottom on Top

Jim Buzinski, CEO and cofounder of

Perez Hilton, blogger, radio host, and television personality

Carole Midgen, former California state senator

Pam Spaulding, Durham, N.C.-based blogger

Paris Barclay, Executive Producer/Director HBO's In Treatment

Lorri L. Jean, CEO, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center

Jeffrey Prang, Mayor of West Hollywood

Jorge Valencia, Executive director and CEO of Point Foundation

Mark Leno, California assemblyman

The Reverend Doctor Troy D. Perry, founder and moderator emeritus, Metropolitan Community Churches\

Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality

Donna Rose, transgender activist

Peter Tatchell, LGBT human rights campaigner and spokesman for OutRage!

Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director, Immigration Equality

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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