Watermark endorses Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary

By : Billy Manes
Comments: 7

The bluster was all there in Orlando on Feb. 17, as it typically is at Democratic political events held in union offices. There was a violinist, there were stilt-walkers and there were numerous names and faces often associated with the local liberal machine. There was also a cheering squad of three shouting things like, “When I say madam, you say president!” It was all in the name of advancing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Florida, of course. Clinton has been opening offices throughout the state in the past weeks, eliciting hyperbolic statements of support. When statements like, “She’s a hard-nosed candidate who can get things done,” are thrown around by union leaders, it’s hard not to notice.

The battle is on.

For much of the Democratic primary season, we’ve been torn on exactly which side to sit in the nomination process. In part, that’s because the tenor of the discussions between Clinton and her opponent Bernie Sanders have teetered on the ledge of civility like none we’ve witnessed before. The deciding and dividing lines have been drawn, in effect, in the sands separating pragmatism and optimism; reality and amorphous hope; domestic issues and the global economy. There’s the fear that Clinton is a settling proposition against Sanders’ wide-eyed idealism, and, to some extent, we respect that fear. Nobody likes nepotism; nobody is still watching Dynasty.

But digging a little deeper into what we consider the most important issues confronting our community and, indeed, our country, we are endorsing Clinton. Though there has been much ado about her speaking fees and other entanglements with the systems that make the U.S. government go round and round – in the world of investigative hit pieces, she is a legend – Clinton is a strong voice, a capable voice, for the people of America, just as she is for the people of the LGBT community.

In a rousing moment during the February 18 Nevada town hall meeting featuring Clinton and Sanders, Clinton was (once again) cornered on that infamous speech in which she seems to say she does not support same-sex marriage. Her response was strong and finite. She’s evolved. She is with us. The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed her. And even though the Sanders campaign would have you believe that the HRC is part of the establishment (along with Planned Parenthood), as Clinton pointed out, the HRC “fights against the establishment every day.”

Look no further than Clinton’s LGBT platform. Her website lists numerous goals for the community. Clinton pledges to fight for full federal equality, pointing out that 65 percent of LGBT citizens say they are on the foul end of discrimination in regular daily life and 50 percent see it in the workplace. She wants to extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add gender identity and sexual orientation to protected statuses. She wants to address the cruelty toward youth in schools and toward LGBT parents seeking to adopt.

She is adamantly against conversion therapy and a strong advocate for assisting the homeless gay kids tossed out by their families. She hopes to roll back the shaming of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and restore rights to those living beneath that abuse; she also wants to allow the trans community to serve.

Clinton is also on the warpath for extended Medicaid coverage for those suffering from HIV/AIDS and for the medical prevention efforts being made today like PrEP. She has made no bones about giving a damn for LGBT citizens, even after a perceived gaffe on marriage equality in 2004 made it seem so.

As U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton gave a rousing speech in 2011 in Geneva that showed her true colors on the global stage, one that equated LGBT struggles with human rights struggles throughout history.

“This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation,” she said. “Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn’t cultural; it’s criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights. In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.”

So, what we’re left with is the unknown – a recently converted Democratic senator who has numerous merits and a history of being a Democratic Socialist (which we love, to be honest) – and a woman, potentially our first female president, who knows how to get things done on the global scale. In a time fraught with global insecurity and with too many moving parts, we respect Bernie implicitly, but we choose Hillary as our pick for the next President of the United States of America. And we’re proud to do so.

Share this story: