As most of you know yesterday afternoon myself and fellow members of HRC (The Human Rights Campaign) met with Congressman Rangel’s chief of staff. HRC is having a “No Excuses” campaign this month, attempting to set up a face to face meeting with every member of Congress during the summer recess. We were a nice mix of a group, all of us bringing something different things to the discussion. Unfortunately the congressman wasn’t available, his chief of staff, a charming man who’s name escapes me was eager to hear what we had to say and genuinely seemed sympathetic to our concerns.
Of course Charlie Rangel is very sympathetic to our cause so part of the purpose of our visit was to express our gratitude. The couple to the right of the picture discussed issues to being gay parents, health care benefits and such. The couple in the middle of the picture discussed immigration issues. One of the members of the couple is a German national but since their marriage isn’t recognized here in the US, she is unable to get permanent residence status as a spouse would in a heterosexual marriage. The gentleman to my left told of how was thrown out of ROTC when he came out. I discussed the immorality of DOMA and Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell, stating just how offensive it that we have such laws here in the United States. Expressing my hope that the congressman would take a higher profile on these civil rights issues and despite the fact we are living in very difficult times there really isn’t an excuse to expect us to patiently wait for our civil rights and be acknowledge as full fledged Americans. I tried not to sound too soap boxish but some how suspect I failed in that, big surprise!