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Jon: “A country that's inclusive and equal”

Jon, a 23-year-old student teacher in California, was in his classroom when the news about President Obama's support for same-sex marriage hit home.

"I'm going to Claremont graduate school right now, studying to be a math teacher. I was working on this huge thesis paper the day everything actually happened, but I had kind of brushed everything off because I was so focused. The next day, I was alone in my classroom during lunch, and I remembered—so I went to and there it was, right on the front page. I watched the video and burst into tears. The fact that the President of the United States had just affirmed that I, as a gay American, should be treated equally was overwhelming, and I was incredibly proud and grateful.

"It was so touching that he was willing to put himself out there like that for the LGBT community, and putting his personal beliefs ahead of political strategy. I never thought I would see a president support same-sex marriage, so it was shocking—in a good way, of course."

As soon as he realized what had happened, Jon didn't hesitate to spread the good news:

"I got to text my whole family, and they were really excited about it. Then I told all my friends and posted it on Facebook. I was in a gay fraternity when I was in school at Berkeley, so it's been fun to see how excited that whole community has been.

"Even for those of us who aren't looking to get married any time soon, this is a big deal—especially because the other side is saying we shouldn't ever have the option to get married. I can't accept that—I believe the opportunity should always be there. That's what America is all about. So this affects everybody, gay or straight, in the sense that everyone should be free to pursue their own happiness and equal rights."

A self-described "huge supporter" since 2008, Jon helped out on the last campaign. This time, he says, getting involved is even more important.

"There's a ton at stake. When Barack Obama was first elected, I was thrilled, but it was also a very sad night because of Prop 8, which I had spent months fighting. In a way, all those issues are back on the ballot this November. This election is going to determine our outlook on the future—getting rid of marriage amendments in state constitutions, moving our country forward. Hopefully it will reaffirm the kind of America I want to live in—a country that's inclusive and equal.

"This is going to be one of the most important elections in my lifetime, and we can't make the wrong decision."

Stand with Jon and supporters all over the country who know what's at stake for the LGBT community this November—join Obama Pride today.

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