Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Bad Call on Gay Rights

You can count me among the displeased. You can add my name to the list of those in the LGBT community who are upset, hurt, angry with President Obama's lack of movement on promises made to us in exchange for our votes. I am one of the ones wondering if we've been had, if, as Barney Frank recently implied, that Obama will move on gay rights in his next term, should there be one.

But that wasn't the promise he made to the gay community. He didn't ask for our vote in 2008 and then wait until he's reelected in 2012 to be our 'fierce advocate.' He asked us to stand with him now, and now we seem to be standing alone. Again.

From the New York Times:
The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits.
A gay couple married under California law is challenging the act in federal court. In its brief, the Justice Department argues that the couple lack legal standing to do so.
The brief insists it is reasonable for states to favor heterosexual marriages because they are the "traditional and universally recognized forms of marriage." In arguing that other states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages under the Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause, the Justice Department cites decades old cases ruling that states do not have to recognize marriages between cousins or an uncle and a niece.

So, the Obama administration said it, plainly and simply. States should favor straight marriage over gay marriage, because it's tradition. How are we, as a community, supposed to see this for any other than what it is: a smack in our faces. our 'fierce advocate' tells us, in the brief, that we are unworthy of marriage just like an incestuous marriage or the marriage between an adult and a child.

He's telling us that we're 'less than.'

From the NYT:
The brief also maintains that the Defense of Marriage Act represents a “cautious policy of federal neutrality” — an odd assertion since the law clearly discriminates against gay couples. Under the act, same-sex married couples who pay their taxes are ineligible for the sort of federal benefits — such as Social Security survivors’ payments and joint tax returns — that heterosexual married couples receive.

Does that sound neutral to anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Barack Obama ran on the pledge to end DOMA, and now he supports it as tradition and universally accepted; heterosexual marriage is the only marriage allowed. I understand that DOMA is the law of the land, and that it is up to our government to enforce those laws--no matter how discriminatory--but does the White House have to compare our relationships to incest and child-brides? How's that for a slap in the face?

And what about Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Back-burnered and nearly forgotten until, oh I don't know, it's time for reelection. And ENDA--the Employment Non Discrimination ACT--was also shelved until just this week when Barney Frank decided it was time to move on that one. What about Hate Crimes? Why are we still waiting on that one? How many more gays and lesbians have to be brutalized and murdered? How many more abortion doctors are to be gunned down? Do we really need another museum shooting?

Where is the action on these fronts, Mr. President?

From the NYT:
The administration has had its hands full with the financial crisis, health care, Guantánamo Bay and other pressing matters. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.

And wait we should not do. We should add our names to the list of the disillusioned. We should speak loudly about our anger and frustration. We should demand that promises made be promises kept. I still have hope for this president, but the light grows dimmer the longer he goes without acting. The longer he goes without speaking to our concerns.

I won't sit in the back of the bus any longer, Mr. Obama.

Full story HERE


Eric Arvin said...

It's absolutely infuriating!

Stephen said...

I still get a lump in my throat & a pounding in my heart when I see the President, the First Lady or the entire family. But, I agree with your smart post, Bob. He could end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" today if he wanted. The playing it safe is not getting anyone to move forward. The people who hate us & hate the President are not going to be more receptive in 4 years.
The NYT said it did you. We need to make our voices heard with a more receptive administartion, not less loud because he will eventually be working on our behalf.

Dan said...

March with us October 11th!

mrpeenee said...

The less he does, the more angry I get. Is that the reaction he's hoping for? It seems unlikely.

Wonder Man said...

Of course he can easily repeal DADT, however without guidelines or a plan to protect our troops after that could lead into worst situations.

I don't think it's playing it safe, it's playing it wisely. The best moves are the smart moves.

To be honest, I'm not seeing where promises are broken. He said he will tackle this issues while he's in office. And said that these issues will take one step at a time. Let's give him the time and support to do so. You know I'm an optimist, so until I hear him deny us, I'm still standing strongly with him.

Mark said...

More than 250 men and women have been dismissed from the military on Obama's watch. 250! He is the president. He can stop this. He chooses not to stop it. He does next to nothing except make excuses that he is waiting for Congress to act. It is obvious that not only is the GLBT community not a top priority, we aren't even on the list.

Mark in DE said...

You can add my name to the list of displeased, upset, angry, and disillusioned.