Why gay Americans, and those who care about gay Americans, should vote for Mitt Romney

Jimmy LaSalvia Executive Director, GOProud
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On November 6, Americans will go to the polls to elect our next president. For gay Americans, and for those who care about gay Americans, the choice for president is clear: Governor Mitt Romney.

While we applaud President Obama for supporting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — a failed policy that Governor Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan have said they will not reinstate — and while we give President Obama credit for coming to the Dick Cheney position on marriage equality, the truth is that Obama’s administration has been devastating for average gay people and their families.

I travel the country talking to average gay people, and I can tell you that for millions of gay Americans this election is about survival. I have heard the stories of gay families and couples worried about how much longer they can hold on, living paycheck to paycheck, facing the loss of their homes and fearing the loss of their jobs. Many gay Americans simply do not have the luxury to make gay marriage their number one issue. Many gay Americans — like their straight counterparts — simply cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.

President Obama wants this election to be about divisive social issues, because his record on jobs and the economy is indefensible. But at this critical juncture, we need a president with the experience and expertise to turn the economy around. Someone who knows how free markets work. Mitt Romney is that candidate.

Recently, Harris Interactive released a poll of 1,190 LGBT voters conducted for Logo TV. The poll confirms exactly what we have been saying for years now — gay voters aren’t simply concerned with marriage. About 32% of respondents selected jobs or the economy as the most important issue in deciding their 2012 presidential election vote. Only 6% said that same-sex marriage was the most important issue.

For gay voters concerned about the economy, the facts speak for themselves. Real unemployment is at almost 15% and we have a president who not only doesn’t understand how free markets work, but is openly hostile to free market capitalism. President Obama’s repeated attacks on Governor Romney’s private sector record underscore this point. Instead of demonizing free markets, President Obama should be focusing on creating an economic environment that encourages free market investments and fosters job creation.

Governor Romney supports cutting taxes for middle-income Americans and simplifying our overly complex tax code. Unlike President Obama, Governor Romney understands that the last thing we need in this troubled economic environment is higher taxes.

Romney has a plan to make American companies more competitive by lowering corporate tax rates, opening new markets to U.S. goods through new free trade agreements and reducing bureaucratic red tape by eliminating unnecessary and unworkable federal regulations. He understands that there is no magic green bullet for creating energy independence, which is why he supports expanded utilization of American energy resources.

Romney is committed to repealing Obamacare and dramatically reducing federal spending, and he knows that we must reform entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid if we are to tackle the debt crisis.

Romney recognizes the continuing threat posed by rabidly anti-gay radical Islamic regimes. He will support Israel and do what it takes to prevent terrorist mad men like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Unlike Obama, Romney isn’t a career politician. He hasn’t been a part of the Washington crowd that got us into the mess we are in today. Indeed, it is his experience in the private sector that has most prepared him to be president. During his time at Bain Capital, Romney oversaw the restructuring, downsizing and refocusing of companies. Thanks to Romney’s efforts, previously bloated, inefficient and failed companies were turned around. He can turn around the bloated, inefficient and failed federal government too.

On issue after issue, Mitt Romney offers a vastly different — and unquestionably better — approach than the failed approach of Barack Obama. For gay Americans, and for those who care about gay Americans, the choice for president is an easy one. We simply cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.

Jimmy LaSalvia is the executive director of GOProud.