Full citizenship rights should not be dependent and contingent upon one’s sexual orientation. American history has chronicled the painful and unjust suffering of women (gender discrimination), Native Americans and African-Americans (race discrimination). The plight of gay Americans centers around sexual orientation. Gay Americans have been a part of a minority group disenfranchised from full citizenship ever since the founding of this nation. Legal, religious, and social roadblocks and detours have always stood in their way when, like women and African-Americans, gay Americans challenge the white male/heterosexual status-quo. Indeed, America needs to erase the last remnants of apartheid that plague the our nation.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently stated, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” All Americans regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation should be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Just as America defaulted on its “ promissory note ” with African-Americans, it continues to default on its “ promissory note ” to gay Americans. And instead of honoring this “ promissory note,” the US government simply writes “ bad checks ” to gay Americans, and these checks always come back with “insufficient funds” stamped on them. Still, gay Americans endure this inequality even as they pay taxes which are then used to subsidize the full citizenship of their straight neighbors who live on Main Street USA.
Mr. Obama, I urge you to make gay rights an important issue in your first term in office. I understand that often it takes another minority person to recognize the needs and injustices faced by others who live across town, not on Main Street, USA. Until that time arrives, gay Americans will continue to be creative and productive tax-paying citizens of this nation, serve in the United States armed forces, and even die for their country if need be. There should not be any distinction between gay or straight Americans. There should only be Americans, Mr. Obama. And just as women and African-Americans finally secured their full citizenship rights through amendments to the US Constitution, gay Americans should too. I trust that you will do everything in your power to facilitate and expedite this process.