A Day of Mixed Emotions for LGBT Families

Dear Families and Friends,

Today is a bittersweet moment for the LGBT community, our families
and friends. The first presidential candidate to directly address LGBT family issues, Senator Barack
Obama, has now become President-Elect Obama. What this means for
our families’ health and happiness and the future of our movement
for family equality is enormously positive. No longer will we labor
under a Congress and a President that regularly attack our families
for political gain. A candidate who wrote in a letter to me almost
four months ago that we must “do more to support and strengthen
LGBT families” will now serve us as president. This level of
public support for our families is unprecedented in presidential

Last night we also elected a President who will forever change the
history of this country, who stood for possibility and won, and who
helped to remind us all that this country is oftentimes better than
we expect it to be. And for that we can be forever grateful. With
Senator Obama’s election, we see for the first time a glimmer of
hope of what the country and our government can do and look like on
behalf of millions of LGBT people in our nation.

With this new hope we are also challenged to define our vision and
work tirelessly to see that vision become reality. I think this
movement and this organization are up to that challenge.

But we also bore witness to disappointing losses with
the passage of Prop 102 in Arizona, Amendment 2 in Florida and Act
1 in Arkansas in this election–the first two banning marriage for
same-sex couples, the latter banning adoption and foster care by
unmarried, cohabitating couples. (We are not yet ready to comment
on Prop 8 in California. They are counting provisional and absentee
ballots as we speak.). We as a community were again relegated to
second class citizenry.

Late last night I issued my congratulatory statement on
President-Elect Obama’s victory. I will release an official
statement on the ballot measures we fought around the country as
soon as we’ve heard from the No on 8 campaign about Proposition
8. As we wait for the outcome, our hearts are with you, especially
our families, colleagues and allies in California, Arizona, Florida
and Arkansas.

With all that has happened in the last few weeks, especially in the
last day, LGBT parents, their family members and friends are likely
feeling a mixture of emotions. We are feeling them with you, but we
also want you to know that our mission has not changed, while our
determination to ensure equality for LGBT families is only
strengthened by these setbacks.

We here at Family Equality Council are lucky to serve LGBT
families, one of the most determined communities in history. As
LGBT people, we create, support and raise our families against the
odds. We contribute to our communities even when our neighbors do
not treat us well. We do everything we can to provide for our
children the happiest, safest, most nurturing environments and
experiences possible. We are positive and optimistic and full of
heart precisely because we are motivated by love, justice, family
and equality. These four ingredients create a force that will
always prevail.

We have so much at stake, so much hope and opportunity in front of
us and the crushing reality that we still have so much more work to
do. I hope you will join me in recommitting yourself to our work.
For the two things I am certain of is that our families need us
more today than ever before and that our work together will indeed
change the world.

–Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director, Family Equality

To download our new resource, “Talking to Your Children About
Election ‘08,” click here. My full statement on
President-Elect Obama’s victory is copied below.

“The election of President-Elect Barack Obama is a defining
moment in American history. In a time of great crisis and
uncertainty here at home and abroad, the American people have
overwhelmingly elected a candidate for change. President-Elect
Obama’s victory is particularly meaningful for the millions of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parents raising
children in this country and their extended family and friends. In
July, I wrote to Sens. Obama and McCain asking them to explain how
their policies would recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all
of the families they seek to represent, including LGBT-headed
families. Within a week, the candidate Obama wrote to me, saying
that we have ‘to do more to support and strengthen LGBT
families,” including “equality in relationship, family and
adoption rights….” He has consistently included LGBT Americans
in his campaign. As the LGBT community awaits the results of
numerous propositions to strip us of equal rights and protections
tonight, we can rest assured that we have a friend in
President-Elect Obama, who, if his presidency is anything like this
candidacy, will usher in a new era of unity in our communities and
our politics.”