Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote.While President Obama was referring to gun safety reforms in his State of the Union, those aren't the only the proposals that deserve a vote. Democrats control both chambers of state legislatures in 17 states. We also have control of one chamber of the state legislatures in five additional states. In every state where Democrats have control of the legislative calendar, they should be scheduling and holding votes on popular progressive social values.
In my home state of Illinois, the State Senate passed a marriage equality bill back in January. Since then, the State House has failed to hold a floor vote, much less pass it. If a legislator wants to support marriage equality, they should be able to go on record and do so. If a legislator is opposed to it, they should be forced to go on record with their opposition. But so far, no votes in the full House has been held, so there is no record of where the legislators stand. Sure, many have told their local newspapers what their position is, but a statement is not the same thing of a vote.
They should have the vote now. They claim that they won't schedule a vote until they are 100% sure that they have the sixty votes needed to pass. But there is no way of knowing how a vote in the legislature will turn out until it is held. Maybe some opponents will switch to supporting it at the last minute or at least not show up or vote present, or maybe none of that will happen. No one knows for sure until the vote is held. If a vote is held and it passes, we can add Illinois to the growing list of marriage equality states. If a vote is held and it fails, we can use the "no" votes against the Republicans and Blue Dogs in 2014, and the House can reconsider the bill as soon as they get the rest of the votes lined up. There is no reason to not hold the vote now.
And this isn't just about Illinois. A majority of Americans support marriage equality, and that support is increasing at about the same rate that interracial marriage support increased last century. This is a winning issue. There is no reason we should be afraid of holding a vote on it in most of the states where we have control of the legislative calendar. Follow the President's advice from the State of the Union and hold a vote. If you want to vote no, that's your choice. But LGBT Americans deserve a vote on marriage equality.