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With the US elections fast approaching, Barack Obama has spoken out about his support for same sex marriage. He has openly rejected the current system of civil partnerships, citing these as singling out homosexuals from their heterosexual counterparts. But Mitt Romney’s views say otherwise.
In an interview with MTV, Obama publicly declared he was “opposed to the so-called Defence of Marriage Act,” claiming it contradicted itself as certain states which had initially agreed gay and heterosexual couples deserved the same rights, then refused to view their marriages equally. This inequality meant social security benefits became difficult to allocate and same-sex couples were still not being treated as they had been assured they would be.
Obama, who is currently campaigning to be re-elected for his second term as president, offers a democratic approach – significantly different to the views put forward by serious contender, Republican Mitt Romney.
Romney’s signing of the National Organisation for Marriage’s (NOM) pledge against gay rights in August 2011 is a clear indication of his views. He has even voiced his intentions to change the executive order, signed by Obama, which orders any hospital receiving government funding to recognise homosexual relationships. Romney’s view that being allowed to visit a seriously ill spouse is a “privilege” will, if accepted, lead to tragic cases such as that of Janice Langbehn. Whilst her terminally ill wife lay in Florida hospital, the shocking reason for her refused access was that their relationship was not seen as having equal status to that of a heterosexual couple.
It is clear that the US election brings intense debate, with such different perspectives on policies for LGBT rights flying around. A number of celebrities have expressed their support for Obama’s policies on gay rights, although bisexual Lindsay Lohan recently spoke publicly of her surprising intention to vote Romney.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, let’s hope that we don’t see a serious regression for gay rights; especially considering the significantly long fight for progress in America to date.