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Letters to President-elect Obama: Tammy Baldwin

Letters to President-elect Obama: Tammy Baldwin

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Open letters from 26 gay men and lesbians.

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on your election. You take office in a time of great uncertainty both nationally and internationally. Your words and actions now will have serious consequences for this and future generations. In your campaign you expressed your belief in the fortitude of the American people and the promise of the American Dream. As you address the urgent, interdependent challenges we face with the economy, energy, climate change, and health care, I believe you will rightly call on and rely on the American people to work together, and with you, to solve these pressing problems.

Indeed, the affirmation of "We the People" is the starting point of our Constitution and its effort to "form a more perfect Union." More than 200 years since those words were penned on parchment, we are still striving. Americans have always risen to meet challenges head-on and are more than ready to work with you to restore our nation's strength and image. But we will never achieve the full promise of America until all of our people are treated equally under the law.

In the eyes of the law, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are not yet equal to their fellow citizens, and simply put, this cannot stand. I ask that you use the power of your office and your confidence in our Constitution to lead us toward full equality.

The private sector and even many local governments are well ahead of the federal government in this regard. Scores of American businesses, large and small, understand the value of ending discrimination in hiring, offering equal benefits to all employees, and reaching out to all potential customers. In schools, places of worship, community groups, and private clubs, LGBT Americans are now more accepted and included. And in families in all parts of the country, openly LGBT Americans care for their aging parents, nurture their young children, and share their lives with spouses in sickness and in health but without the full rights and protections guaranteed to their straight counterparts. It is, indeed, time for a change.

In the next four years I ask you to support and work with Congress to pass and sign into law the Matthew Shepard Act on hate crimes, an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a federal Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and other legislation that moves us toward full equality for all Americans.

Mr. President, the American people and the Congress are moving toward full equality even without presidential support. Imagine the progress we can make, the example we can set, the change we can achieve, the more perfect union we can form, if you join us.

I look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Tammy BaldwinDemocratic member of Congress from Wisconsin

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 Outsports.com

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

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