America: on the Road to Equality – or Not

For Gay Americans like me, the last couple of years have been good ones for us. We have seen the end of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) so that our gay brothers and sisters cannot only serve, but serve honestly and openly about their sexuality.

We have also seen the very first American president make a statement saying that he supports gay marriage. Along with that, we have several states, which have legalized same-sex marriage across America. Gay people are now accepted by a majority of Americans as friends and good neighbors, along with our right to marry. Many of us can still remember a time when being gay could cause you the loss of a job or housing, or even arrest. For someone like me, I am amazed at the speed that approval for gay rights has grown in the last few years in this country

I am also certain that President Obama’s second term will reward Hispanic voters this term with comprehensive immigration reform, as he failed to do in his first term, but then, he had a mountain of opposition standing in his way; the GOP.

Women can also celebrate a victory in the Lilly Ledbetter Act  signed into law by Barack Obama, which moves women forward in their goal to be treated equally in the workplace. The number of women on the U.S. Supreme Court has finally gone up, thanks to Obama’s nominations. Barack Obama has shown himself to be a strong supporter of women’s issues, not just claim to be.

Still, I think we have a long way to go for this nation’s struggle for equality. Many struggle financially, even though they work hard for a living. Our biggest obstacle to equality is obtaining fair pay and benefits for all workers. Our unions have been under attack in a few states and Right-to-Work laws are being implemented, thereby limiting unionization in those states.

I understand the need for unions to change but unions are what have kept wages higher for all of us, even non-union workers. Right-to-Work states that limit union power enjoy lower wages than other states.

So yes, thanks in no small part, to a moderately progressive and practical president as Barack Obama and all of his administration that this country has moved forward. This last congress did nothing but stand in the way and we can only hope that will not be the case for the new 113th Congress. We need lawmakers — not Democrats or Republicans — to work together for the good of this nation and get things done. We need an end to the gridlock partisan politics we have seen enough of in the last few years.

On a personal level, I hope for an end to the Defense of Marriage Act because it is unconstitutional, limiting equal rights for a minority of Americans, gay people. That would be another big step for equality and even a bigger step when the federal government begins to recognize same-sex marriages.

Yes, I believe that America is on the road to equality, but there remain many more miles to go.

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