This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

With those words, President Obama indicated that he had no opposition to the development and construction of a Muslim mosque and community center at a site close to the home of the World Trade Center. The community center proposal has led to a national uproar over Islam, 9/11 and freedom of religion during a hotly contested midterm election season. There are some who argue the site is “holy ground,” and should not be compromised. Unfortunately, the 17 pizza places, 11 bars, 10 shoe salons and 2 porn and sex shops nearby say otherwise.

The reality is that President Obama has stood up to ‘Islamophobia,’ just as a candidate and chief executive he has stood up for gay rights and protected us from to ‘Homophobia’. The President and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City should be applauded for their defense of freedom of religion; of the separation of church and state.  So too should we salute Judge Vaughn Walker for his courageous ruling last week on gay marriage, now on a short hold while a higher court revisits it with an expedited fast track process. Our day is around the corner.

What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right. When political leaders have the courage to buck the tide, they send forth a new wave of integrity that washes away corruption. Those candidates, straight or gay, that have embraced gay marriage and the rights of gay citizens to partners as they wish and with whom they will, deserve our support these coming days. Those elected leaders, who stand by their word, and move the needle towards equality, rather than away from it, deserve our praise. Salute the persons who celebrate diversity and openness; who are willing to embrace equality under the law, not for some, but for everyone.

How do you find those persons on the ballot in an election where everyone is accusing everyone else of being corrupt career politicians? Well, start by looking at the candidates and their careers, what they have achieved, and where they have done it. Have they challenged expedience and barely gotten their souls wet? Look for character and grit, not money or power. Look for integrity and independence, not party affiliation or past office. Do not seek candidates who played to the gay community. Find the ones who are players within it.

Find the voices that have articulated your vision, shared your pain, and dreamed your dreams. Just because someone wakes up with someone gay in bed next to him in the morning does not make him the person you want speaking up for you in the evening. Make sure the person you vote for today is the kind of person you won’t be called in for jury duty about tomorrow.  Commit your vote to excellence and honor, and the good you do will one day come back to you.


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