The President's LGBT Successes

The president's remarks yesterday on same-sex marriage are absolutely welcome, but not entirely surprising, given his record so far. Even Greenwald gave ample credit where credit is due:

President Obama today became the first American president to endorse same-sex marriage, telling ABC News‘s Robin Roberts: “it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” His record on LGBT equality has not been perfect, but it is one area where he has been quite impressive. He engineered the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. His Justice Department is refusing to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court, a very unusual step. He has ushered in a series of important federal spousal benefits for gay employees of the federal government. And now, for the first time, the office of the American President is officially supporting a policy that a mere decade ago was deemed truly radical: same-sex marriage. Those are real achievements. And, as virtually all polls reflect – underscored by last night’s landslide defeat for marriage equality in North Carolina — they carry genuine political risk. He deserves credit for his actions in this civil rights realm.


-President Obama signs the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law — the first federal civil rights legislation to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”

-President Obama releases the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy

-President Obama signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act

-HHS issues recommendations to improve the health and well-being of LGBT communities

-Despite challenging budgetary times, the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget not only maintains, butincreases domestic HIV/AIDS funding

-The Department of Commerce signs a Memorandum of Understanding with National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to support federal contracting and exporting

-The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces that gender identity is a prohibited basis of discrimination in federal employment

-President Obama expands federal benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees

-OPM allows same-sex domestic partners to apply for long-term care insurance

-President Obama sends the first U.S. Executive branch official to testify in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) before Congress

-President Obama continues to appoint LGBT Americans to positions at every level throughout his Administration

-President Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which will allow gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans to serve openly and with integrity

-The U.S. lifts the discriminatory entry ban for individuals with HIV

-President Obama and his administration play active roles in protecting LGBT populations in Uganda,Honduras, Malawi and other countries

-The U.S. leads an effort at the United Nations resulting in 85 countries supporting a resolution to end violence and human rights violations related to sexual orientation and gender identity

-President Obama honors the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall riots

-President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King Supporting LGBT Progress

-President Obama has called for the Congressional repeal of the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act” and has announced that in his view, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional

That last one? That was from February.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I have to say, I am absolutely frustrated with the reaction in the liberal blogosphere. It’s gone beyond just saying, “too little, too late”, to actually pissing on his entire record on LGBT issues.

    Today in another blog, I ran into a guy who insisted that Obama has been “consistently” working behind the scenes to stop the repeal of DOMA, stop the passage of the Mathew Shepherd Hate Crimes Law, and has supported federal, state, and local laws that persecute homosexuals.


    • wb2nd

      I’m curious…did you engage this guy, and if so, did you ask him if he’d feel the same if Obama had been Bill Clinton instead?

      • D_C_Wilson

        I tried. His reply to every example of Obama’s support for LGBT issues was an assertion that Obama has working behind the scenes against everything he was publicly for.

        • wb2nd

          Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. See, that sounds like someone who is determined to not like President Obama. I honestly think that a lot of this to do with race. Not necessarily “race” in the sense that the people making thesa claims are doing so becasue they’re racist and it doesn’t matter what good Obama does (though, let’s face it, there is no less of that in the white gay community than their is in the white heterosexual community), but “race” in the sense that people are thinking, “Well, he’s black, and he knows the pain of bigotry, so he should do this, that, and the other thing.” While the victims-of-bigotry-shouldn’t-victimize-other-victims-of-bigotry argument is emotionally tempting (and I kind of get that), it of course is not, intellectually speaking, a sophisticated view of racism, homophobia and other bigotries, and the way that they operate, especially, I think, in America.

          I guarantee you that, if Obama had been Clinton, and everything were the same, people like the guy you mention would dang near be dancing in the streets, singing his praises.

          And as I write this, I’m overhearing some talk radio program that my motehr is listening to. It’s a black-oriented program, and some of these people are having their (expected) tantrum about gay marriage and “my book of myths and my imaginary big daddy in the sky say,” blah-blah-blah. And it’s cracking me up, because I know that nation-wide gay marriage is coming to America, and in our lifetimes, and those fools will just have to suck (no pun intended) it up and deal with it, just as bigots before them have had to suck it up and deal with the reality that their bigotry will NOT be inshrined in law.

  • eljefejeff

    Impressive list. Finally a president with balls(which is odd, considering they’ve all been men)

  • mrbrink

    By stark, unambiguous contrast, Mitt Romney is a right wing religious nut who gets by on his ability to smile while burning babies are jumping out of buildings. He’s a zealot activist working against the expansion of these rights, vowing to suppress equal protection under the law anywhere it rears its blasphemous head based on his own prejudices, while lying to himself and the whole country about what actually constitutes prejudice. And by hailing the use of democracy as a rights-suppressing hammer to deny and disparage the rights of others, he’s not only dumb, he’s stupid and dangerous, and is deftly ignorant of the American Bill Of Rights. A modern day witch burner. His White House would be a virtual command center for the social and economic bullying of minorities.

    Just a few months ago when condemning the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court, Mitt Romney blasted away:

    “Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage,” Romney said. “This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”

    Your right wing terrorists have learned to come with smiles.

  • stacib23

    I would like to see a list of his accomplishments for the black community. We’ve been amazingly quiet, diehard supporters and got jackshit for it. Maybe we should have thrown tantrums, too.

    • mrbrink

      This is an accomplishment for the American community.

      The black community is not immune to the president’s record of protection and expansion of these civil rights.

      • stacib23

        Yeah, that’s what got me through the last four years – the belief that Obama was working for everybody. This feels like a “turn the other cheek” moment to me. ‘Hold on, black people – when I do for all, you guys are included, but there are some civil rights that I will pass out right now for another group of sometimey supporters. Find your goodness in that.’ Yeah, got it, Mr. President.

        You know, mrbrink, I’m angry right now, madder than I can say and today, I am so done with Obama I really don’t care if he gets another term. I’ve talked to many people between last night and today, and almost to a person they feel like I do.

        • mrbrink

          That sounds like you’re saying the first black president has failed to promote the black community, or worse– its bigotries.

          When more passengers get on the bus, you make some room, or get off. The walk might do you some good.

          • stacib23

            As I stated before, my emotions are too wired on several levels in my own head to effectively communicate the source of my anger, but it’s there and it’s real. I will say, emphatically, that you’re wrong in your inference. I’m neither promoting bigotry against anyone nor expecting the president to do so. As far as the walk, you are entirely correct there. I am unhooking myself from the political process for the forseeable future; my entire attitude is bad right now concerning Obama. I think there was a calculation on his team’s part that the black vote will come around regardless of what he does. I’m not real crazy about my vote being assumed either – but that’s an issue I have with the entire Democratic party as well.

            Again, you guys could be 100% right and I’m equally wrong but the 2012 election will surely tell and the conversations that I’ve had over the last 24 hours say that I’m not the only one that is experiencing this emotion.

            One last question – IF Obama loses the election on this issue and we get a President Romney, will the cost have been worth whatever gains people feel were made yesterday?

          • D_C_Wilson

            Okay, you’re angry. We get that. But it’s hard to discuss the source of your anger when you haven’t given us any specifics. What needs in the black community do you feel Obama has not addressed? What, specifically, do you think he should be doing right now? What do you wish he hadn’t done?

          • mistinguette grandison

            As a black person, I’m feeling the same way.

          • wb2nd

            Here’s a question for you: IF Obama loses the election because blacks who are upsset because Obama dares to support full civil rights for gays don’t get out and vote for him, and we get a President Romney, who most assuredly doesn’t have black people’s interests (whatever those are, and I’m black) at heart, will it have been worth it to thumb your nose at Obama and stay home on election day?

        • mistinguette grandison

          He extended unemployment benefits, extended Pell Grants to low income students, signed the Fair sentencing Act, the Affordable Care Act, advocated for money to stop the public sector job losses, student loan reform, and many things that when you think about them do help many n the black community. He was not going to erase all racism (in fact anyone who knows what happens when the first black anything comes around, old white hicks go crazy), so idk what was needed that he wasn’t already blocked from doing.

          • Kerry Reid

            He also signed the Fair Sentencing Act that helps erase the disparities between sentences for crack and powder cocaine, which gave black offenders disproportionately harsher sentences.

          • Kerry Reid

            Dur, you had Fair Sentencing Act in there already. My apologies. Shouldn’t try to read and comment before caffeine!

    • eljefejeff

      what are you mad about? That he learned from the painful lessons of history that everyone deserves equal rights and is looking to end discrimination in all its forms?