LGBT Lawmakers Make a Difference
USA TODAY’s Susan Page reports on the growing number of openly LGBT candidates running for public office, and how they’re able to effect real change on equality issues once they’re elected. Read more at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2011-07-19-gay-candidates-politics_n.htm
After reading Susan Page’s article, I’m stricken with the feeling that every quote Page includes within it is a quote that creates a more “duh-like” feeling. For example, she cites Paul Maslin of Wisconsin: “‘At some point, you reach the what’s-the-big-deal stage of all this,’ says Paul Maslin, a Democratic strategist based in Madison, Wis., part of Baldwin’s congressional district. That day isn’t here, but he sees it approaching.
‘These candidates, if they’ve been in office a long time and grown in terms of stature and credibility, are now being judged for lots of other reasons than sexual preference,” Maslin says. “It becomes not meaningless, but a relatively unimportant consideration.'”
This is something gays, activists or not, have been trying to get the rest of the world to notice: That homosexuality is not something that will hinder the progress of American values. A person’s sexual preference is unimportant considering the intensity of other, more exigent, issues such as the national debt, homeland security, etc. etc.
Page also cites Donald Haider-Markel of the University of Kansas, who answers, “clearly yes” to her posed question, “Does having openly gay elected officials affect governmental policies?” This, again, should have been obvious from the beginning, and if more openly gay politicians gain credibility and force in office, it should not be too long before we see public policies that include equal rights for homosexuals.
Page continues with Haider-Markel: “‘It helps push these issues forward,’ [he] says. ‘There’s also the role-model aspect of having legislators see openly gay and lesbian legislators in their mix, and basically seeing that they’re just like them. It makes it hard to frame or portray gays and lesbians as really bizarre human forms that don’t look anything like us when legislators are introducing their partners of 20 years and talking about their relationships and their adopted children.'”
The stereotypes with which homosexuals are faced every day seem to be fading into nothingness as more and more become active and credible politicians. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, everyone. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see true equality in all forms in the near future.
What are your thoughts about the article?