During the two Presidential and one Vice-Presidential debates, there was nary a mention of issues directly affecting the LGBT community, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, benefits for gay families and marriage equality – unless you count Mitt’s bizarre comment equating gun violence to the lack of two family homes.
Thanks to growing acceptance and landmark progress including President Obama’s support for gay marriage and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” have gay issues become a non-issue? And is that a good thing?
The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart seems to think so, at least compared to the fiery rhetoric of elections past:
Sure, there are plenty of issues facing lesbians, gay men and bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans that ought to be discussed. But after years of gays being used in bigoted ways as wedges in American politics by Democrats and Republicans, the silence is a blessed relief.
Back in August, the Harris Interactive-Logo poll found that the economy, unemployment and healthcare were the top priorities for both LGBT and straight voters. The poll also showed that support for marriage equality rose substantially in the past five years from 31% of the general population in 2007 to 52% in 2012.
Capehart claims that the gay issue is “off the table”since the president declared his support for marriage equality in May and a number of prominent Republicans believe that gay couples should have the right to marry. Add to that the “consequences” following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and gay rights have become secondary to those other issues, not only in the debates but in the election as a whole.
Yet gay rights are also civil rights – rights for everyone – and should be given a fair amount of attention.
While Human Rights Campaign Vice President for Communications and Marketing Fred Sainz agrees that Americans have “moved on,” he is quick to point out that the battle is far from over. “People, for example, don’t know that Mitt Romney opposes federal workplace protections for LGBT people or that his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment would mean divorcing already legally married gay couples.”
What do you think, is acceptance an excuse for absence?