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COMMENTARY: You’re here, you’re queer – now get out and vote!

With the presidential election two weeks from today, it’s time to review what is important for the LGBT community. You need to read, you need to understand what really is at stake, and then you need to go vote.

Mitt Romney has signed the National Organization for Marriage Pledge that states the following:

• He supports sending a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification.

• He will nominate to the U.S. Supreme court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning of the constitution, appoint an attorney general similarly committed, and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.

• He will defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court.

• He will establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

• He will advance legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage.

Regardless of what you may have heard or read about Romney’s position on same-sex marriage, Bay Buchanan, a top Romney adviser, issued the following statement to BuzzFeed on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012:

• "Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children …”

On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that states that hospitals should:

"Initiate appropriate rulemaking, pursuant to your authority under 42 U.S.C. 1395x and other relevant provisions of law, to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors. It should be made clear that designated visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy. You should also provide that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability ...”

The choice is really quite simple, and with only two weeks to go, there should be not one gay or lesbian on the fence wondering for whom they want to vote. If you are undecided, you aren’t paying attention, and quite honestly – you need to wake up; and if you’ve decided to vote for Romney – well, you need to look in the mirror and see the person whose life it is you’re voting against.

If you do not understand anything else about this election, understand this: A President Romney will not care about you, your equality or your right to be with the person you love when they are sick or dying. It doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care, and the sooner you understand this – the sooner you will understand the importance of your vote for President Obama on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Don’t be a lazy homosexual. Don’t think your vote won’t make a difference one way or the other. It matters more this presidential election than any other I can think of when it comes to individual rights and equality.

Your vote matters because you matter.

Barb Hamp Weicksel was born in 1952 in Pennsylvania and moved to California in the early 1980s, where she met her partner Susan. They've been together some 30 years and share the love of Susan's four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her blog, Barb's Gift of Gab," can be found HERE.)

Reader supplies video showing importance of hospital visitation and full equality

Tip of the hat to reader Matt Parker for finding this video titled "No Freedom Until We Are Equal" by Shane Bitney Crone: