SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders.This week: What are your thoughts on the 2016 presidential election so far? Below are some of their answers:
We have reached a critical point on LGBT equality. Our next president can tip the scales to a point where their is absolutely "no turning back” or it can wipe out many of the advances that have been initiated during our current president’s terms. It’s our decision, we either stay home and remain second class citizens or we get out and vote. The choice is simple.
— Anthony Timiraos, CEO/President, OUR Fund
In the past, the GOP has effectively and consistently used anti-gay bias as a tool to raise money and to draw voters to the polls. Now public opinion is rapidly changing, young Republican voters are rejecting anti-LGBT bigotry, and even conservative judges have been steadily ruling in favor of marriage equality. Candidates will be forced to take a strong position. It will be interesting to watch the Republican candidates agonize over whether to alienate their right-wing "base" or alienate the young and moderate voters.
— Toni Armstrong, Founder/Director of BLAST Women of WPB
The Supreme Court is hanging on by a tenuous thread to fairness and LGBT equality. And with an overweight octogenarian (Scalia) and an 83-year old Ruth Bader Ginsberg likely to be replaced by the next president, we cannot afford to have someone in office who is not supportive of LGBT rights. I expect Hillary to emerge from the Democratic primaries as the victor and I look forward to casting my vote for her in November 2016. For those whose loyalty is directed elsewhere, please remember Ralph Nader and redirect your energies and support to Clinton’s candidacy so our steps toward LGBT equality are not erased.
— David Jobin, executive director of The Stonewall National Museum & Archives
I don’t support Hillary because she’s a woman. I support her because: 1) She’s qualified. 2) She’s championed some amazing causes, 3) She’s great on the issues I think are important, 4) She has experience in domestic and foreign policy, 5) It would be amazing to break the highest glass ceiling and have Bill Clinton as the First Gentleman. Hillary is intimately familiar with what it will take to be president and is fully capable.
— Meredith L Ockman, community activist and a director of NOW
The expected Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality will have a huge impact on the temperament of conservative voters, many of whom already feel that their religious liberty is being trampled upon. Plan to hear more about Christians being victims of gay bullying. It's going to be an emotionally draining time for us.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist