Barry Sends Berry to Washington DC’s Pride to Quell LGBT Concerns

Monday, June 15, 2009

President Obama dispatched John Berry, the director of the Federal Office of Personnel Management and the highest-ranking out appointee in the Obama administration, to Washington DC’s Capital Pride festival on Sunday, as a sort of emissary to quell concerns in the LGBT community that the president has yet to act on major LGBT-related campaign promises.

The extremely likable Berry made Obama’s case:

Our first hope is that we will get our federal house in order and ensure that no discrimination exists in the federal work place against any of the LGBT community. [Note: This presumably pertains to the fact that transgender workers are still not protected by the federal government’s nondiscrimination policy, though gay employees are covered.]

Second, we want to make sure that we get the benefits for the LGBT community that are equal to all other benefits provided to other federal employees, and where we have the authority to move forward, the president is going to be announcing something in the very near future that is going to be a very significant announcement in that regard. Where it requires legislation, we will seek and support it.

We have four broad legislative goals that we want to accomplish and legislation is one of these things where you’ve got to move when the opportunity strikes, so I’m going to list them in an order but it’s not necessarily going to go one, two, three, four. Obviously, I think the first opportunity is hate crimes and we’re hopeful that we can get that passed this week. We’re going to try, but if not, we’re going to keep at it until we get it passed. The second one ENDA, we want to secure that passage of ENDA, and third is we want to repeal legislatively “don’t ask don’t tell,” and fourth, we want to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, I’m not going to pledge — and nor is the president — that this is going to be done by some certain date. The pledge and the promise is that, this will be done before the sun sets on this administration – our goal is to have this entire agenda accomplished and enacted into law so that it is secure.

This entry was posted in DADT, DOMA, LGBT, News, Politics, President Barack Obama and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Barry Sends Berry to Washington DC’s Pride to Quell LGBT Concerns

  1. proudprogressive says:

    you know i find that statement both contradictory , empty and indeed pre emptive lip service to as you say Christopher quell us. well we will not be quelled. How about they get the whole house in order NOW. as promised eh ? i mean really reading that statement on the face of it – its a big nothing. that being said :

    – now its seems that as part of a Tourism bill S. 1043 the Inclusive Hate crimes legislation will come to the senate floor as an amendment to it – please call your senators about passing S 1043 –

    i can no longer take this administration at its word regarding our concerns. And i personally thank you for your awareness and concern for the T in the lgbT.

  2. Walk on Socks says:

    Christopher always included the “T” in LGBT.

    I remember that stupid debate last year about whether the “T” belonged in LGBT. So-called mainstream bloggers like that bitchy queen who runs AmericaBlog said there was no compelling argument to include the trans community with the LGB community. People are so damned divisive.

    I find this blog thread interesting. It suggests to me that Obama is very much aware of the boil and the rage in the gay community over his inaction.

    Still though, I believe Obama needs to address the schism forming between him and former LGBT supporters before it’s too late.

  3. Brigadoon says:

    No one expects miracles. No expects cures for major diseases. No one expects safe, free and renewable energy for everyone. All we expect is for Obama to deliver on his campaign pledges to repeal DADT and DOMA. This should be a no-brainer for him. Yet, all we hear is crickets.

  4. rckweho1981 says:

    If Obama didn’t think repealing DOMA and DADT was a reality during his first term, then he has an obligation to explain this to his LGBT supporters.

    However, I would argue, if not now then when?

    Any president has the most political capital to spend shortly after he’s elected. The only other time you see this level of political capital is shortly after the start of a war.

    Obama needs to get busy and deliver on his promises or the public will grow cold on him.

  5. bradfrmphnx says:

    He hasn’t done much lately to make me believe that this isn’t just lip service. This isn’t a victory in any sense. This is getting shushed with a smile. I know it will take him time to get things done, he is busy. But sending someone else to say something for him shows that he isn’t willing to put himself out there to fix a much needed wrong.

  6. No doubt he will make some noise in 2012 and promise to address DOMA, etc. first thing in his second term. And maybe he will….in its last days. Maybe. I’m tired of promises. Only action will do now.

  7. Tengrain says:

    The most difficult question to ask in business is “when.” And learning how to not accept a vague answer is a real skill.

    When? Oh, you cannot say? by 2010? 2011?…

    Sorry, no pass from me.



  8. Randy Arroyo says:

    Did you guys see Howard Dean on Rachel’s program tonight? Rachel asked Dean about Obama’s DOJ defending DOMA. Basically, Dean said the language of the government’s brief was disgusting and totally uncalled for. Dean said, “Obama’s running out of time to get this right.” Ouch.

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