With all due respect to Michelangelo Signorile, he is wrong when he criticizes the members of the LGBT community who support Hillary Clinton as "blindly" following her. Does he believe because we support Hillary that we don't care as much about our issues, or haven't fought as hard for progress as he has? It is insulting and wrong.
Yes I am 100 percent behind Hillary Clinton's campaign, and have worked hard with Ready for Hillary to ensure she has the support she needs when she announces. I was a delegate for Hillary in 2008 and then joined the LGBT Obama '08 team. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the same positions on our rights in 2008. They were both far from perfect.
Turns out Barack Obama, with the continued push from the LGBT community, has been a great President for our community. Hillary will be a great President for our community when she is sworn in on January 20, 2017.
So, the answer to, "Do we need to be more critical during the campaign?" is no. Should we ask her the right questions and elicit responses during the campaign, yes. But let us not be so antagonistic towards her, and so critical of her candidacy; we chance electing a Republican President. Because what's evident today is that every candidate running for the Republican nomination would take us backwards.
I have fought for the rights of the LGBT community and pushed our President on many issues; I was a leader in the successful effort to gain marriage equality in the District of Columbia, among other fights for our civil and human rights. This is an election for President, and we need to recognize that the President deals with more issues than just ours.
Electing Hillary Clinton will send a message to the world that we are moving forward. It will send a message that the United States is ready to join the other 22 nations, from Germany to Malta, who currently have an elected woman President or Prime Minister.
We know Hillary because she has been in the public spotlight for over 40 years. We know from her work history that Hillary Clinton is a strong advocate for women's rights, civil rights, LGBT rights and the rights of those immigrants here today, so that they may have a path to citizenship. She is a leader in the field of early childhood education, and she supports the Affordable Care Act -- her early work helped lead to its passage.
Signorile says he believes we need a strong, full civil rights bill at the federal level. I agree, and believe Hillary should and will support it. It's a little early to criticize her on this when there isn't even a bill introduced. But Signorile, like all those who follow Congress, know the reality is that when Bella Abzug (D-NY), who I had the honor of working for, introduced her bill in 1974, it had zero chance of passing; when it is introduced in today's Congress it has the same zero chance of passing.
The best thing Hillary can do for our community to support a full civil rights bill is to be on top of the Democratic ticket in 2016, which gives us a chance to turn the Senate Democratic again. So, like many who support Hillary, we don't do it "blindly." We do it knowing that she is the most prepared candidate to be President that we may have ever seen.
We do it knowing her 40 years of preparation for the job, and her commitment to full civil and human rights for all Americans. We do it knowing that she has the ability to deal with the complex issues facing the world today, and is committed to rebuilding the middle-class in America and to once again let people believe with hard work their children can aspire to even better lives than their parents have.
There will be much pressure on Hillary as she announces her candidacy from every interest group. From women, Latinos, environmentalists, those who want a better balance between Wall Street and Main Street and every other group you can think of. So, before we urge our own LGBT group to be more critical of her, why don't we at least wait until she announces her candidacy, and see what her platform is. Then, instead of being critical, let's ask the right questions and have her responses on the record, which we can do at the same time we work hard to make sure she is elected the 45th President of the United States.
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