Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Congressional staffers Alex Cruz, Joshua Salpeter, and Christine Delportillo and is being republished with the author’s permission.
Alex, Joshua and Christine,
For the last several years I have publicly applauded Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's leadership and political courage to help advance efforts around LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. In Democratic circles, party leaders in the past have even chastised me for doing so. But I personally believe when elected leaders demonstrate tremendous political courage, especially when its a Republican speaking loudly in support of LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues, advocates have a duty to publicly applaud that courage.
Several years ago I personally witnessed Ileana demonstrate incredibly courage when she re-examined the issue and benefit of syringe exchange programs. After several meetings with Ileana in Washington DC and
Miami, she completely reversed her position and signed on as an introducing sponsor of legislation with Congressman Jose Serrano to support the repeal of the ban to federally fund syringe exchange programs. It was an exciting year as for a very brief period of time, the ban was lifted and for the first time in many years, advocates had another resource in the toolbox to help reduce the number of new HIV and Hepatitis-infections. Advocates quickly lost that resource when Republicans reinstated the ban on use of federal funds.
Over the years I have become more politically involved and have closely aligned myself with the Democratic Party. While admittedly not perfect, Democrats at least attempt to muster the political will to address issues that the GOP typically tries to relegate into the dungeons of Congress where light is rarely seen.
I have come to know Ileana and respect her. But over the last several months as immigration reform is debated in Congress, I remain horrified with the blatantly homophobia and deep seeded hatred the GOP
has towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Human lives that are for more fragile than others because there are actual laws that encourage us to be discriminated against and ostracized from the rest of society. The GOP is sworn to destroy LGBT families.
On the issue of immigration reform, United States Senator Marco Rubio has been leading the war of hate against LGBT people. He is a spineless morally corrupt GOP figurehead who is using the lives of LGBT people to derail the hopes of 11 million immigrants should provisions be included for LGBT families. This is appalling especially when research indicates that 67% of Floridians support the inclusion of immigration equality as part of immigration reform.
I would only hope that Ileana, a Cuban immigrant herself, could muster the courage to publicly call out Rubio and others in her party that openly wish harm to LGBT people and the family of your very own LGBT child.
The GOP's war against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must come to end and I look to you for that unparalleled leadership.
Its a shame that even the Log Cabin Republicans are absent of that very same courage. What devil do they serve?