Editors' Note: Guest blogger, author, political strategist, civil rights activist and public affairs advisor David Mixner writes about his passions: progressive politics, foreign policy, LGBT rights and wildlife advocacy. Once named by Newsweek as the most powerful gay man in America, David has been a highly regarded leader in American politics and international human rights for over 40 years.
Tonight once again we will be forced to sit on the edge of our seats as the voters of Maine get to chose whether we get to be a free people in their state. The concept that a majority of voters in any state can decide if I shall have the same rights of all Americans is repugnant to me. We won't know the results until late in the evening, but there is one result that is overwhelmingly clear to LGBT citizens and their allies: President Obama and his team were zero help in this critical battle and in the last week might actually have hurt us. That is a fact.
Despite repeated pleas for assistance from this community from the start of the campaign, he chose to ignore every opportunity to grant us such relief. At the recent Human Rights Campaign dinner he never said the word "Maine" once. The most we were able to get out of the White House office of communications was that he was opposed to such efforts. Try weaving that into a powerful ad or robo-calling!
However, practicing benign neglect was not the end of it.
This past week, Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States in the state of Maine said that this administration had no position on the ballot measure. Read that sentence again carefully. Our nation's chief law enforcement officer and the president's hand picked choice said that the issue was just not that important to this administration! Now don't be fooled by any rhetoric that presidents don't take stands on such issues. Going back as far as President Carter when he opposed Proposition Six, they have taken such stands.
So you fully understand the consequences of this administrations actions in the last week, just look at the statistics for Maine voters. In the latest Public Policy Poll yesterday which show us falling behind, they said that 54% of the voters say they supported Obama. Over 9% of the voters described themselves as 'non-white'. In that poll 28% of the Obama supporters say they were voting against marriage equality. More importantly, 56% of 'non-white' voters said they planned on voting against marriage equality.
You have to be totally operating on blind faith if you believe that President Obama and his team cannot make a difference. Tragically if we lose closely, that defeat almost can be laid at the steps of the White House for their refusal to stand by our side in the battle for freedom. The Holder remark basically gave those Obama supporters and non-white voters permission to vote against our freedom. The Attorney General let them know that Obama didn't care one way or another so why should those voters change their votes? He gave their votes respectability which was devastating for our side.
The failure of our national organizations to obtain a clear cut endorsement for the LGBT community is something that needs to be discussed. This one isn't rocket science. What happened?
We certainly know by the president's repeated visits to Virginia, New York and New Jersey that he at least had time to issue a tough statement against this form of ballot box bigotry. What they did and failed to do these past weeks, whether we win or lose tonight, is just tragic, sad and unconscionable.