It is evident to many that it is difficult for a sole individual to make changes in the political system of a country, especially in the United States of America. However, many can attest to the fact that there is power in numbers. Political institutions are due to respond to voices of groups rather than to the voice of an individual. In that case, it has been common for individuals to form groups and raise their grievances, proposals, and demands as one.
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An interest group refers to an association of individuals with common interests, concerns, and goals who come together to address government policies affecting them. They constitute of public, religious, economic, government, and civil rights interest groups. These groups are increasingly becoming a trend because of their influence on the political platform.
This article focuses attention on a civil rights interest group that is vibrant in Ohio. The interest group under consideration is the Equality Ohio group. Equality Ohio is an unprejudiced and nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Ohio. The Members formed this civil rights interest group in 2005 following passage of the Ohio issue, which barred the government from acknowledging same sex relationships and marriages. Equity Ohio headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio. The group has offices in main towns nationwide. This organization constitutes of about 30,000 members. In general, this group seeks to ensure that the state government puts member on a level ground with other straight citizens. Further, it seeks to see that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community has equal rights in terms of sex orientation, gender identity, equal chances of housing, equal employment opportunities and safe educational institutions (Equality Ohio, 2013).
Equality Ohio just like most organizations takes sides in the political arena. The group has been active in politics as government policies affect the existence and the rights of the group. In the subsequent elections, Equality Ohio has channeled their support towards the Democratic Party rather than towards the Republican Party.
In the 2012 election, this organization offered full support to the Democratic Party. In fact, they endorsed president Barrack Obama. The group’s rationale for endorsing Democrats party is the benefits they have continuously gotten from party. For, instance in the first term of his presidency, Barrack Obama accomplished a lot for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Obama’s administration ensured the signing of the hate crime prevention act, the affordable care act, among other acts. These acts consider the needs of the LGBT community. Further, the democrat’s government banned laws that were discriminating against this community. These among many other accomplishments by the democrat’s government compelled Equity Ohio organization take democrats side as they felt represented.
On the hand, Republican Party is conservative in nature and supports the traditional marriages system. For Example, in 2004 the party had firm stand and was against gay marriages. The views of the republican have been consistent from the beginning. For this reason, the LGBT community does not support them. However, in the republican’s bid to gain ground that is more concrete the party is changing views. In the recent years, republican leaders are coming out to support gay communities. However, the party has not yet convinced the Equality Ohio group to support them.
The influence that the Equality Ohio community group holds in Ohio’s politics is significant. Statistics show that four percent of the American population associate themselves with the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community. Though this is a small percentage, it can be the victory margin of a political party. For instance, in the last election the gay community vote was significant especially in Ohio as the state’s votes acted as a swing vote. Both Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama battled for the gay community vote for in order to gain extra ground. Each of the two candidates needed as many votes as they could get from any small group. This shows why the two concentrated on the gay community groups such as Equality Ohio. In the election, the gay community came out in large numbers to support the democrats because the party considered rights of the gay community in their previous term (Cohen 2012).
The fact that the gay community supports the democrats and not the republicans has consequences on the state government. The ruling government has to consider the gay community and listen to their grievances. In the last election, democrats used the gay community in their campaigns as fundraisers and campaigners and benefited from their votes. This means that the democrat’s government has an obligation towards this community.
Just like other interest groups, the Equality Ohio group is important in politics. The political parties should accommodate ideas of interest groups and rationalize the constituent views of the different interest groups. Evidently, the gay community vote proved significant in the last election held in the United States. In general, the political arena cannot sideline the importance of interest groups such as Equity Ohio.
Cohen, M. (2012). Gay Vote Seen as Crucial in Obama’s Victory. Web.
Equality Ohio. (2013). Equality Ohio, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Form Coalition. Web.