January 08, 2009
It's our relationships, stupid!
Posted by: Andoni
Chris has been monitoring the voting at change.org (a non-profit organization that will present to President Obama the issues obtaining the most votes after all the voting rounds are completed) and I have been monitoring the voting at Open for Questions on Obama's official web site. On Obama's site you can propose a question or vote on other people's questions. They have finished round two and soon they will post answers to the top questions from round two.
The questions on Obama's site are grouped into pre-assigned cateories: The Economy, Health Care, National Security, Foreign Policy, Education, Energy and Environment, Science and Technology, and finally the catch all group for everything else -- Additional Issues. Any topic not in the assigned groups fell in this last group and that's where the gay and lesbian questions ended up.
You can find all the gay related questions by searching for the words gay or lesbian or LGBT using their search tool.
Not surprisingly, questions on the Economy and Health Care are leaders at the moment.
But outside of the top questions in those categories, here's the big surprise. This question
"You've stated during your campaign that you don't support marriage rights for LGBT citizens. How will you ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans have rights equal to those married couples?"
is one of the overall top vote getters. This LGBT question about obtaining rights for our relationships beat out the top question in every other category, except for the Economy and Health Care. In particular it got more votes than the top vote getters in: National Security, Foreign Policy, Education, Energy and Environment, and Science and Technology.
Also among all the Additional Questions, it ranks #7 under with 6488 votes. The #1 question under Additional Issues wants Patrick Fitzgerald to be appointed Special Prosecutor to investigate crimes committed by the Bush Administration over the past 8 years. The next six questions in this category deal with legalizing marijuana and lessening drug law penalties.
Further down the list of Additional Issues are questions dealing with repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and then granting equal immigration rights to gay and lesbian couples.
A specific question about ENDA doesn't appear until you get near the bottom. The first ENDA question garners only 268 votes, about 4% of the votes garnered for rights for same sex couples.
I would bet that the people asking questions about gay issues are gay. However, the people voting on these questions are both gay and straight. So why does the question about obtaining rights for our relationships come in so high, and a specific law for employment protection comes in so low?
It could be that equal marriage rights is the new hot issue because it's in the news after the Prop 8 battle in CA. Or it could be that people think we already have employment rights (but if they read the question they would know we don't). Or it could be that most people think that rights and benefits for gay couples are more important at this juncture in time.
Whatever the reason, this is certainly an interesting finding.
Realizing that these votes come from both gay and straight people, it is a very good sign for the future in obtaining rights for our relationships.
This survey demonstrates that we have support for a lot more than just ENDA and Hate Crimes and that we should be taking advantage of this by broadening our legislative goals.Of course ENDA and Hate Crimes are important, but we should not be focusing solely on them. And if we learn that there is more support for some of our other issues, we should move the ones with the most support first.
Bottom line: I think we can accomplish a lot more in the next two years than our national leaders seem to think we can.
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