October 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Obama, Mendelson, Orange and Brown

For the LGBT community there is really only one choice for president and that choice is Barack Obama. If there is any hope of moving forward our goal of achieving full civil and human rights he must be given a second term. I am not a one-issue voter and clearly there are many reasons to vote for the Obama/Biden team; but as a gay man, I find it more impossible than ever to vote for candidates who proudly proclaim they want me to remain a second-class citizen.

Obama came into office inheriting the worst economic mess since the Great Depression. America was fighting two wars, which the last administration was paying for on a credit card. We were hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month. The mistake the president may have made was thinking the mess could be cleaned up quickly and being too optimistic about his ability to turn the economy around. What he did was keep us from falling off an economic cliff.

He urged passage of a stimulus package that Republicans thought too big and many Democrats thought too small but it was what was possible given congressional intransigence. He saved the auto industry and with it about one million jobs. He passed healthcare legislation that both Democratic and Republican presidents in the past had tried to do and failed. He ended the war in Iraq and set an end date for the war in Afghanistan supported by 49 of our allies. He repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He evolved and supports marriage equality; supports passage of ENDA; and had the Justice Department stop supporting DOMA. We have had three years of steady if slow job growth and the unemployment rate is down to less than it was when he took office. The stock market has gone from 7,000 when he took office to 13,000 today and people are seeing these gains in their 401k retirement accounts. He supports a woman’s right to choose and nominated two women to the Supreme Court. These are just some of the reasons to vote for a second term for Obama.

When it comes to District politics, there are several incumbents worthy of support. While some are less than perfect, their challengers haven’t been convincing on how they would do a better job. The incumbents I support have all been either very supportive or leaders in the fight for LGBT rights, some more vocal for longer than others. Today they all support and vote for continued progress. In nearly all measureable ways, the District of Columbia is doing better today than ever. Economic development is booming; our finances are the envy of most other states and cities; education reform is moving forward; unemployment is down and city services are being delivered better and faster. Each of these incumbent Council members has had a role in these positive developments.

For chairman, I enthusiastically support Phil Mendelson. He is the right person for today. He is a good government candidate in the style of former Council Chair David A. Clarke. While I haven’t always supported Phil, he is an acknowledged leader in securing marriage equality in the District and has stood with the LGBT community on all issues. He is a hard-working, low-key member of the Council who they elected to the position of chair after the resignation of Kwame Brown. He is intelligent, fair and diligent and works full-time to make the lives of the people of the District better.

For Council-at-Large, I support both Vincent Orange and Michael A. Brown, progressive members of the Council who should be reelected. Orange now fully supports marriage equality and this year received the endorsement of the Stein Democratic Club. He strongly supports the small business community and school reform and works full-time for the people of the District.

While I would rather that Michael A. Brown got his personal and campaign house in order so that there isn’t a question of poor ethics hanging over him, I still support him. He has always taken progressive positions on issues and voted for school reform; spoken out and voted for the LGBT community on all issues including marriage equality; supports continued economic development in the city while also speaking up for and fighting for the homeless and our residents who still need jobs and job training. What he has been able to accomplish in his first term has made a real difference for the people of the District.

  • “While I would rather that Michael A. Brown got his personal and campaign house in order so that there isn’t a question of poor ethics hanging over him, I still support him.”

    What’s up with all the qualified endorsements? Michael Brown had no business running for Council at-large with ethics questions “hanging over him.” Character matters, Peter. The fact that you are asking LGBT voters to overlook alleged but credible challenges to his character, calls your entire endorsement logic into question.

  • Peter, thanks for this op-ed! I haven’t been able to read enough about the DC local elections and this piece helped inform my vote! Thanks!

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