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.
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.
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.
into action is something Barack has done for his entire
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
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
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
We all know what
that world looks like.
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.
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.
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.
world Barack will fight for every single day as our
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.