Opinion: Fiscal Conservatism Over Civil Rights? — No thanks, re-elect Obama

January marked the twenty-third consecutive month of job growth in the private sector.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 this past month–it’s lowest point in three years.

Not since President Franklin D. Roosevelt has a U.S. President inherited such high rates of unemployment. Turn-around takes time. While many U.S. citizens cannot afford to have endless amounts of patience, there is evidence that President Obama’s plan to turn the economy around is slowly working.

However, the economy is not the only issue at stake in November. I am not privileged enough to hold the economy as my top priority. I am a gay American. I did not ask the Republican Presidential candidates to incorporate anti-LGBT equality into their political platforms, but here we are. My civil rights are used as a political ploy in a desperate and dangerous appeal to bigoted Americans.

Mitt Romney has publicly vowed to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, and he proudly touts his opposition of marriage equality legislation during his time as Massachusetts Governor. Rick Santorum opposes both marriage equality and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Newt Gingrich is a member of the anti-gay club as well.

Women in the U.S. should be worried too. The Republican candidates have made their opposition to women’s rights abundantly clear. Mitt Romney said he would support the repeal of Roe v. Wade if he were president. According to the Huffington Post, Newt Gingrich pledged to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, as well as get rid of Title X, a program that provides non-abortion family planning services for millions of low-income women across the country. Rick Santorum opposes abortion in all circumstances. He is against family planning programs of any kind, and he thinks teaching students about contraception in their schools should be forbidden, says the Huffington Post.

I understand the economy is an important issue. But it’s a lot easier to focus on the progress of capitalism from a safe perch when your civil rights aren’t used as a political tactic to divide Americans. When my community isn’t demonized by the Republican party, when my community has secured all of the rights and protections under the law that the white, male heterosexual population enjoys, maybe then can we sit down and have a chat about the economy.

Until then, I will be voting for the man who helped repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I will be voting for the man who appointed the first Latina and third woman ever in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. I will be voting for the re-election of President Barack Obama.

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