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Letters to President-elect Obama: Michelangelo Signorile

Letters to President-elect Obama: Michelangelo Signorile


Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear Barack Obama, Thank you for making history and proving America is indeed the land of possibility. It gives those of us fighting for our rights that much more confidence.

As you won with the help of the vast majority of LGBT voters -- many loyal and enthusiastic to the end -- I hope you'll take a look at an issue that will continue to dog us until someone with your courage, integrity, and clarity of vision changes it. LGBT people were concerned and disappointed during the flap over Donnie McClurkin, the antigay, "ex-gay" preacher featured on your gospel tour in South Carolina. But over time most moved on, realizing there were bigger issues impacting us all in this election. They gave you the benefit of the doubt. Now they need you to focus on an issue of importance to them.

As president you have the opportunity to change the dialogue in this country. The LGBT movement has lately been stymied by a contradiction regarding marriage equality. On the one hand we hear you say that amendments to state constitutions (and to the federal Constitution) are wrong, mean-spirited, and unnecessary. On the other hand we hear you say you are opposed to marriage for gays and lesbians and see marriage as a union "between a man and a woman." If you're truly opposed to marriage for gays, why not in fact outlaw it? If you think laws banning it are wrong, why not support it? Time and again--as we saw in California -- our enemies use your words against us, even as you help deaden the pain by telling us you're opposed to the amendments. It debilitates us and keeps us back, even as we eke out a victory here and there.

You are a brilliant scholar, a constitutional attorney, and a man committed to civil rights. Many believe that you know in your heart and in your legal reasoning that the California supreme court decision was right, that civil marriage for gays and lesbians is a basic issue of equality, and that it should be provided in every state. If you were to take the lead as president early on and finally state this -- saying that your thinking on the issue has evolved -- you would instantly bring along many other Democrats and end this contradictory stance coming from the party. That would go a long way toward helping us beat back the people who are inhibiting our rights and demonizing us in this culture.

All it would take is being honest and being a leader. I think you've shown that you're pretty good at both. Congratulations again on moving this country dramatically forward.


Michelangelo SignorileRadio host and author of Queer in America

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

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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