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Troy Roness Headshot

Against the Grain

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Would the LGBT community be more willing to embrace the GOP or conservatives if the one issue, the one defining obstacle, gay marriage/equality or however you'd like to frame that term as it is defined for you, were simply agreed upon?

Despite a contentious war of words and despite your personal opinions on past events (Chick-fil-A, church discrimination, social issues and the LGBT community), separate all of that from your thought process during the course of this entry and try, as difficult as it may be, to find concord during this discussion. After all, if we cannot discuss our differences, if we cannot separate party-lines or trading barbs from what is in the best interest for our country, or peers and our society, we are far worse off than any political issue may pose.

I am a very open-minded and central-thinking man; and I am open to every opinion, and offering by anyone on any side of the aisle. I would like no more than for there to be equality across the board; equality that stretches far past race, gender, sexual orientation, age, faith, and socioeconomic status. But if we do not take the options before us, weigh them heavily when considering our nation's future; we will have NO foundation, social case, or our great nation that allows us to fight and die for. Personally, having rights as a gay man, and if I may speak for someone who happens to be an immigrant or underprivileged, is pretty insignificant if you don't have a nation left to relish in those civil liberties. Am I wrong?

I have issues with Republicans and Democrats. For instance, while millions of people who've been out of work for years are sitting at home wondering how they will feed their families, Congress is sitting at their retreat homes, or being taken care of by the medical benefits none of us will ever see, for the entire month of August -- on vacation. I've thought long and meticulously on what is "right" and "wrong" concerning my political positions and analyses. But, as a member of the LGBT community, I am convinced that our nation is not headed in a positive direction. I have chosen, as an individual, an American, and a gay man, to throw my full support behind Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan.

Now, critics are going to hit back and look at the defining issue for the LGBT community -- gay marriage. I'm told, "Romney/Ryan is the worst choice. How can you vote or support a ticket against your own rights?" Well, I am not about to make a sweeping generalization in believing that a Romney presidency will equate a marriage ban for gays. I know the 10th Amendment leaves that issue to the states, and we already see that happening all over the country. Look back to what happened when President Obama introduced the Affordable Care Act. If health care brought about this much intense debate, you know a federal ban on gay marriage would never be passed.

I have to believe that there are Democrats and Republicans that would look at their president or their leader, evaluate how they have served and say, "For the bettering of our country, it's time for something different; this simply isn't working." Even if the man or woman you so strongly believed in, your buddy, your prized jewel hasn't performed to the best of his promises, I would hope all our citizens would put the country's interests first and not base support on supposed political appeal.

I must emphasize, too, that candidates, during primary or general elections, almost always speak "political language" that is predominantly blown smoke. Promises are broken, left-leaning turns to center or right, and vice-versa.

Romney, contrary to popular belief, has a strong record on LGBT issues. For example, he appointed openly gay officials and judges when he was governor of Massachusetts, and he's unfailingly spoken out against discrimination against the LGBT community in the workforce.

There is so much more to this election than President Obama being anointed as the "gay president". Albeit, he has actually supported gay marriage for years. Like any other politician, he hid his true feelings concerning gay marriage during the different phases of his political career, and utilized the support as president. Why wouldn't he have done so sooner? Therein lies the difference between politicians and citizens; true leadership. True, he has ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and he has held gatherings and receptions at the White House for gays and lesbians, but although those gestures make people feel great, it hasn't done much for the LGBT community overall. 'Symbolism over privileged circumstances is what we need to expect from the Presidency, why not this one?'

Do I believe that Romney needs to release more of his tax returns? It probably wouldn't be a bad idea. Does that mean he doesn't know business? Does that mean he is anti-woman? Or does that mean he cannot lead? Not even close.

Look, I firmly believe in the phrase, "Open your ears before you open your mouth". I planned to run on the Non-Partisan League (NPL) platform here in North Dakota. I dropped out of the race and endorsed a very educated, fitting, and Democratic individual for the position, instead. Why? I happen to be gay. Did I receive condemnation? Of course. From Republicans? Yes. Although, criticism came from Democrats, too. Threats to "out" me in reprehensible fashion. And you know, I don't believe for one second my sexuality would have, or will (in the future), affect any ability I possess to lead. Did I withhold my sexuality out of shame? Absolutely not. It was a matter of "how" to disclose the issue, not a matter of "being gay would prevent me from winning".

I am asking readers, whether gay or straight, to look closely at the real-time issues facing our nation. Yes, marriage equality is extremely important, but if we do not tackle our country's dire economic outlooks now, we have zero chance of obtaining quality at all. Rather than allowing one issue to define America's future, consider the present ways to salvage the fight for equality now. After all, as in 2008, everyone wanted different from the status quo. In my opinion, 2012 calls for the same.