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The World
as It Should Be

The World
as It Should Be


Michelle Obama states her case for why an Obama presidency would make for an LGBT-friendlier America.

In about a month, Americans will head to the polls to cast their votes for the next president of the United States. It will be a momentous day. But this presidential election has already changed our country in profound ways. The candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have smashed old barriers and broadened opportunities for all Americans. And I'm grateful to them -- both as a citizen and as a parent of two young girls.

But our country's journey toward equality is not finished. It's been five years since Lawrence v. Texas. It's been 39 years since Stonewall. And we still have more work to do before we achieve equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

Election Day offers an opportunity to take another crucial step toward equality. Millions have joined this movement for change. People are hoping again -- believing again -- that we can come together to create a stronger, fairer nation. And on November 4 we'll have a chance to put that hope into action.

Translating hope into action is something Barack has done for his entire career.

Barack and I met in Chicago 20 years ago. He thought the best way for me to know him was to get a sense of the work he cared about most. After college he had worked in neighborhoods that were devastated when steel plants shut down and jobs dried up. He'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to create new opportunities for their families. He asked me to come with him.

I watched as Barack took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and instantly connected with every person in that room. He gave the most eloquent talk about "the world as it is" and "the world as it should be."

Too often, he said, we accept the distance between the two, and we settle for the world as it is -- even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves and find the strength to strive for the world as it should be.

Barack Obama, the 2008 presidential nominee, is the same man I fell in love with on that day 20 years ago. He has never stopped pursuing that better world.

As an Illinois state senator, Barack championed the law that amended the Illinois Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, in housing, and in public places. In the middle of a tight race for U.S. Senate, Barack went on the record supporting a complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. As a U.S. senator, he voted to protect our Constitution from the stain of discrimination by voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

He has supported full funding for the Ryan White CARE Act and has pledged to implement a national HIV/AIDS strategy to combat the continuing epidemic in the United States. He has also spoken out against the stigma surrounding HIV testing, a stigma tied all too often to homophobia. And he's led by example: On our trip to Kenya, we both took a public HIV test.

This is why Barack is running for president--because he believes that if we work together, we can build the world as it should be.

We all know what that world looks like.

It's a world where we repeal laws like DOMA and "don't ask, don't tell" and oppose amendments that would write discrimination into our Constitution--because discrimination has no place in a nation founded on the promise of equality.

It's a world where the federal government protects us all against hate crimes and we recognize that equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights isn't an abstract principle but goes directly to whether all Americans can lead lives of dignity and freedom.

It's a world where anyone willing to put in an honest day's work can make a good living and support their family--and employers are held accountable for discrimination against LGBT Americans.

And it's a world where every child can get a world-class public education...people can see a doctor when they're sick...and we end the war in Iraq responsibly and embrace the kind of diplomacy that will protect us at home and restore our reputation in the world.

That's the world Barack will fight for every single day as our president.

I know we can do this. But we can't do it alone. We have only a matter of days until voter registration deadlines pass in many states. We need our supporters to become active volunteers. Go door to door. Work the phones. Drive to battleground states. Help us get out the vote.

If we come together and work together, we will elect Barack Obama president on November 4--and we'll start building the world as it should be.

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

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