Monday, July 6, 2009
Obama and the Gay Community
President Obama called GLBT leaders to the White House on June 29 to give them some more lip service and somehow show to them that he has their interests at heart despite actions of his office seemingly to the contrary. This blogger finds himself extremely disappointed with the pace of change in this regard.
Yes, I know that Obama has been dealing with about 100,000 problems and issues since he sat his butt down in the Oval Office chair for the first time on January 20. That said, he has relatively easily dispatched with a few other campaign promises like withdrawing troops from Iraq, bolstering military support in Afghanistan, attempting to shut down Guantanamo Bay's prison camp, and other items on his list.
The President has shied away from things like the Defense of Marriage Act and the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In fact, he rankled the ire of the GLBT community when his Justice Department actually defended both DOMA and "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in a couple of different court cases.
So, I guess the GLBT community is wondering, when is its change going to come? When will be a better time to deal with these two morally wrong policies other than now?
What President Obama seems to know is that his show is the only show in town when it comes to pushing GLBT issues. Certainly, no national Republican candidate will ever be allowed to survive a primary season with pro-GLBT stances. No third party candidate at this point has shown any traction in this area and, in fact, tend to go the other way on many of these same issues.
Hearing criticism, Obama called this meeting at the White House and threw out a wimpy bone to the community by extending some...not all...benefits to same-sex federal employees. That policy expires the day he leaves the Oval Office.
I realize the pace of change is slow and this does not compare favorably with the fight for Civil Rights that came to a denouement with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Race is not a concern here, but discrimination and prejudice both are. Many GLBT activists have been out there and advocating for these rights since well before the Stonewall Riots in 1969.
So, President Obama, with a "filibuster proof" majority in the Senate and a huge majority in the House, isn't it time to stand up for what is right in America. It's time to push for the repeal of DOMA, and it's time to rip up that Executive Order that punishes our fighting men and women in the military for wanting to be able to be who they are inside. Mr. President, the time to act is now, and the ball is in your court.
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