When you read the New York Times headline, "SCOTUS Rules 5-4 against Marriage Equality," will you think back to September 2014 and wish you had done more?
As a gay man who has spent the last decade working to advance marriage equality, I cheer "yaaaas" with each new marriage victory. And yet, I know that our momentum will quickly be stunted if we sit out the November elections.
Two years ago, both the Windsor and Perry cases were decided on a 5-4 vote. While I hope that The Notorious R.B.G. stays on the court for years, three of those five justices are over 75 years old. If Republicans win six seats in November and take the US Senate majority, they will have a larger role in picking the next Supreme Court justice. And I'm not eager to hear who de facto Senate Majority Leader Cruz wants for a lifetime appointment.
With 64 days until the election, I offer these six numbers to inspire you to mobilize equality supporters, starting today:
6 (of 10) - If we register six of 10 unregistered African American, Hispanic, and Asian voters, we can turn Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas blue. Democrats have the numbers advantage - but only if we register voters and get them to the polls. (Why do you think Republicans are so eager to pass those voter restriction laws?)
5 - Five of the "toss up" senate races include strong female Democratic candidates who are doing extraordinary work. Alison Lundergan Grimes is rallying voters to "Ditch Mitch" (McConnell) in Kentucky. Michelle Nunn is climbing in the polls in Georgia. And Senators Hagan, Landrieu, and Shaheen are fending off challengers in North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Hampshire. 2014 might be the year of the women (and 2016 the year of the First Gentleman)!
4 million - According to the Movement Advancement Project, more than four million LGBT people live in states that don't protect them against employment discrimination. Ten GOP Senators voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year, but a federal bill to protect LGBT workers would be dead in a Republican-led Congress.
3 (of 10) - If voting drop-off rates continue their current trend, only three of 10 eligible voters will turnout in November. Well, that's depressing, sure; but it also means that those voters who do show up to the polls will have more influence on this election.
21 (hey, it starts with a 2) - Democrats need to protect 21 of the 53 seats they hold, compared to 15 GOP-held seats in November. Those include pro-marriage equality incumbents like Senators Mark Begich and Mark Udall. We need to stand with them after they stood with us. (PS -Their challengers oppose the freedom to marry. And reproductive rights. Let's not even start on their immigration positions.)
1 - One vote. I get one vote. You get one vote. All voters get one vote. GOP billionaire Koch brothers? One vote each. (Yes, they plan to spend $300 million during this election cycle, but those nasty attack ads are inferior to our collective efforts to mobilize friends and family.)
If every LGBT person commits to vote and bring two friends with them, we win. So, don't waste your one vote. Let's make sure the New York Times headline reads: "SCOTUS Rules for Marriage Equality."