Dear Angelo,

I waited all my life to marry my husband of thirty four years only to have that taken away by CA Prop 8. How can this country demonstrate such progress by electing Barack Obama and endorse such hate towards us at the same time? What can I do?

Signed, Banned But Bold

Dear Banned But Bold,

The election of the first African-American President has given many people a powerful sense of unity and hope. For many GLBQT people it seems as if a heavy oppressive force has suddenly been lifted, giving way to a renewed respect for social equality and individual freedom.

In his amazing victory speech, President-Elect Barack Obama said, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

"It's the answer people who...believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.  It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

"We are, and always will be, the United States of America." Unfortunately, the core sentiment of this national triumph has been clouded by the sad fact that Obama himself believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. So the message he's sending about gays is -- it's okay to be gay, but not okay for gays to marry. With such "separate but equal" leadership, ironically coming from America's First Black President, the passing of a gay-marriage ban in California (52% voter approval), as well as similar anti-gay legislation in Arizona (56%), and Florida (62%) may not be surprising. Additionally, Arkansas (57%) passed an irresponsible ban on all unmarried couples (directed at gays) from adopting or providing foster care for children. That's not even in the best interest of children, proving how truly irrational some have become around this issue.

These things are just plain wrong and objectionable, defying common sense. Thank goodness there's been backlash. Since when is any group's civil rights up for a vote? When did it become okay in this country -- the symbol and beacon of light around the world for democracy where "all men are created equal" to pursue their life, liberty, and happiness -- to legislate against a particular group of people state by state, making them second class citizens? That's what's an abomination, not being gay!

We can't vote to strip American unborn babies, women, disabled people, non-white persons, Jewish people, immigrants, or anyone else of their "inalienable" rights. Being gay is no different. Being a gay American is not a choice, a political, or moral issue. It's our constitution -- what we're made up of. And what constitutes of our great nation is the US Constitution, and it should protect everyone equally. Even those that do make personal choices, such as their religion, are protected by it. The time is now for the Federal Government and United States Supreme Court to act to protect GLBQT people.

There is no "them" or "other." I have faith that one day a fully dignified America will come to truly honor and reflect Obama's underlying message that we are all indeed equal and united as one - to live and let live. But until that day comes, we must not join the aggressors, acquiesce, or give up. We have to come together and stand up for ourselves against this psychological violence. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Find your voice and join the fight for what's right. This is a call to action.

All The Best, Angelo.

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