BY SID MARCH
With the 2012 election looming, we have been bombarded by campaign ads, donation solicitations, and phone calls asking us to pledge our support for some candidate or other. While our perspectives on economics, religious institutions, military action, and social welfare programs certainly vary, the LGBTQ+ community shares some unique struggles. Collectively, we are still working toward social equality and facing major civil rights issues. Legislation directly and specifically impacting our community is at play in this year’s presidential election.
Lesbian.com has created a list of some dominant issues affecting women and LGBTQ+ persons. We’ve narrowed it down to a critical few: abortion and contraception, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption rights, anti-discrimination legislation (including bullying and hate crime protection), pay equity for women, trans* rights, and women’s health care.
- Romney does not support abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life.
- Has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- Would eliminate federal funding for any groups that “advocate” abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
- Obama supports women’s abortion rights.
- Wants to uphold Roe v. Wade, but has limited federal funding of abortions.
- “We shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, the majority of whom are men, making heath care decisions on behalf of women.”
- Does not oppose contraception overall, but his anti-abortion stance is in a slippery position; IUDs and Emergency Contraception/Plan B can prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted.
- Vetoed a bill to improve access to emergency contraception while governor of Mass.
- Backed Senator Roy Blunt’s, R-Mo., proposal in congress that would allow contraception coverage to be denied if provider found it morally objectionable. This proposition failed.
- Does not support federal funding for family planning services or Planned Parenthood.
- Supports full access to contraceptives.
- Supports insurance companies providing access to contraception free of charge.
- Supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other family planning services.
- Vetoed a bill funding hate crime prevention in Massachusetts.
- Flip-flopped on ENDA, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, stating “I don’t see the need for new or special legislation.”
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act* to include sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity as protected statuses by the federal government.
- Launched StopBullying.Gov which expressly addresses the issues of bullied LGBT youth.
- Supports ENDA, an act that would protect LGBT persons from discrimination in the work place.
- Opposes same-sex marriage and supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
- Does not support civil unions as an alternative.
- Supports DOMA, the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits same-sex unions and allows the non-recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states (ex: a couple legally wed in Massachusetts will not necessarily receive any marital benefits if they relocate to, say, Alabama). Romney has vowed to appoint an Attorney General who will uphold DOMA.
- Promises to “champion” the Federal Marriage Amendment to disallow same-sex marriage and prohibit states from choosing to permit same-sex marriage. (This act is widely considered a violation of states’ rights).
- First sitting US president to voice support for same-sex marriage.
- Believes individual states should make decisions regarding marriage equality.
- Opposes DOMA, calling it unconstitutional. Has advised the Justice Department to cease defense of DOMA.
- Before launching his campaign for the presidency, Romney was vocal about adoption only by a man-woman couple. The campaign’s official stance now is that it should be left up to individual states.
- All “qualified caregivers” should be given the opportunity to adopt “regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status.”
PAY EQUITY FOR WOMEN
- Supports pay equity for women.
- Supports pay equity for women.
- Signed the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to give women a longer time to file wage discrimination suits.
- Supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which makes providing evidence of wage discrimination easier for women.
- Intends to immediately provide state waivers to temporarily invalidate “Obamacare.”
- Believes healthcare should be at the state level. This would eliminate guarantees of coverage for women and void Obama’s promise of contraceptive coverage.
- Obama’s healthcare plan, which will not be fully in effect until 2014, requires mammograms, prenatal care, and certain cancer screening to be available for no co-pay. Insurance must also cover domestic violence screening, breast feeding supplies, and birth control (religious organizations are exempt).
- Trans rights issues are not expressly in his campaign platform.
- As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s administration objected to the publication of an anti-bullying guide by the Department of Public Health because of the use of the words “bisexual” and “transgender.” (The guide was published under his democratic successor, Deval Patrick).
- Obama appointed Amanda Simpson as senior technical adviser in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Simpson is the first known transgender presidential appointment.
- Held the first presidential press conference on transgender issues.
- The Huffington Post blog published a list of positive actions for the trans* community made by president Obama that you can view here.
The federal election will take place November 6, 2012. To see if your state has specific voter identification requirements, please check the National Conference of State Legislature‘s web page.