Obama Must Act Immediately on LGBT Issues

Thursday, May 7, 2009

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The New York Times correctly points out that President Barack Obama was noticeably silent last month when the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Obama says he “opposes same-sex marriage as a Christian” despite the fact that nowhere in the Bible does it mention anything about same-sex marriage. To his credit, he describes himself as a “fierce advocate of equality” for gay men and lesbians, the all-too-familiar separate, but equal position gay and lesbian Americans have come to expect from elected Democratic leaders. His position is all the more curious coming from an American-American.

But the president is under mounting pressure on a variety of LGBT issues that are coming to the fore. Some of these include fulfilling his campaign promise to repeal the blatantly homophobic ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ military policy — a destructive holdover from the Clinton administration that Obama has so far managed to pushback without acceptable justification.

Same-sex marriage has advanced in five states. Most recently in Maine and the District of Columbia could ultimately drop the issue in the lap of the president. Passing same-sex marriage in Washington DC would require a vote of Congress and the president’s signature. If Obama refuses to sign the bill, expect gay advocates to withdraw their support and look elsewhere in 2012.

Many gay Americans are still furious with the president over the Rick Warren fracas on inaugural day. They want to see an olive branch from Obama in the form of nominating openly gay, Stanford University-educated attorney Kathleen Sullivan to replace retiring US Supreme Court Justice David Souter. So far, the president has been silent on the names on his High Court shortlist.

The Times points out the White House is aware of the discontent and has invited many of the same, useless gay leaders like Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, to meet Monday with top White House officials. Solomnese — dazzled by power, as was evidenced during the LOGO/HRC sit-down with then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, emerged from the White House meeting and uttered this stupifyingly inane comment, “They have a vision,” Mr. Solmonese said. “They have a plan.”

As usual, our so-called “leaders” are clearly part of the endemic problem in Washington DC and in the Obama administration. A swell lunch at the White House may be long on the thrill factor but what good is such a meeting if our “leaders” emerge short on details?

Obamaholics — the name given to supporters of the president who have drunk the proverbial koolaid, are quick to remind critics of the president that President Obama is the first president to set aside tickets for gay families to attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. I’m sure this heartens those gay and lesbian soldiers tossed out of the military and handed a dishonorable discharge after their sexual orientation became known.

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7 Responses to Obama Must Act Immediately on LGBT Issues

  1. Brigadoon says:

    If Obama is more worried about engendering the anger of the far right than showing leadership om LGBT issues, then he’s a coward and deserves to be voted out of office in 2012.

  2. retahyajyajav says:

    Obama’s gotten much correct.

    Eliminating the ban on Federal funding for stem cell research and his 2010 budget will end tax breaks to the oil industry to the tune of $26 billion over the next 10 years. These are laudable and distinguish him from Bush.

    But, social issues matter as well and for too long, the gay community has been marginalized by the very party who allegedly supports them. It has to stop this time around.

  3. Fran says:

    In my home State, I saw how the gay marriage legal issue tossed around like a football on Superbowl Sunday. Yes/No On/Off lengthy legal battles in the end, wound up with a watered down Civil Union piece of work– and even that was challenged in court, by some out-of-state homophobes.
    I am not as hopeful about the State by State gay marriage laws, because we will wind up with a patchwork of marriages that are legal in some states but not in others. All those basic rights that are denied by not allowing legal marriage can be
    lost by simply crossing a state border.
    The whole thing will probably wind up in the Supreme Court.

    For instance, a legally married same sex couple from Iowa, has a car accident in Alabama & the marriage is not recognized there, so the estranged biological family is given power of attorney, because they do not honor the spousal rights.

    Another example… relocating for employment- same company, same health insurance, can become an issue if the couple relocates to a different state. The health insurance company may be required to provide spousal coverage in Iowa, but not in Colorado.

    As long as we have patchwork laws, same sex marriage couples probably still need to take all the legal extra steps (power of attorney for health & financial) as if they were not married.

    My friends who were married in Portland, Oregon when gay marriage was legal, later received a check in the mail. After the courts rescinded the marriages, the county refunded the $60 marriage license fee they had charged. Not a day to celebrate.

    I really thought Obama was a champion for Civil Rights. I very much so see the gay marriage issue as a basic Civil Rights issue. I see Obama trying to be moderate & doing a lot of walking on eggshells.
    If he does not think it is prejudiced, then how about flipping it the other way–
    Equal rights means no hetero marriages!

  4. Walk on Socks says:

    There’s an entry on Facebook today from a woman who says she’s in the military and wrote the Obama administration regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    She scanned the reply she says she received from the president and it was very encouraging. Obama told her he still plans to repeal the military policy but cautions patience and says the Congress is to blame for the delay.

    I guess I don’t understand how all the pieces fit together? Isn’t the president the Commander in Chief? What he say, goes. With a 59 seat majority in the senate (60, if Franken is seated), how can there be a delay on repealing the policy?

  5. Estacada says:

    It comes down to priorities and leadership.

    Obama courted the gay community during the primary. He has a fairly good record in Chicago — that can’t be denied. His wife Michelle spoke to gay organizations and told them what they wanted to hear an struck a positive chord.

    But once these guys get to Washington, they weigh risks and they become terrified of angering the Bible Belt.

  6. It’s the same old. They–national democratic politicians–try to curry favor, votes and money from the queers while they are running, then hem and haw and tell us “the time isn’t right” when we ask them to act to help us secure equal rights. Because they think we have no other options. But we do…no money, no volunteering and no votes until they fucking do something.

  7. libhomo says:

    Bill Clinton’s version of the military ban cost Democrats most of the seats in Congress that they lost in 1994. Obama seems determined to repeat most of Bill Clinton’s mistakes.

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