Don't Delay, Act Today

Hey Obama? Here’s What You Can Do RIGHT NOW For Gays


Barack Obama is revelling in presidential power and influence unseen in Washington for decades,” reports Reuters. “Barely 100 days in office, the U.S. president and his Democratic Party have firm control over the White House and Congress and the ability to push through ambitious plans.” Indeed, Obama and the Dems seem to have free rein of Washington. Obama’s political capital is through the roof, which has enabled him to go after hot button issues like Cuba, and what to do about stem cells, and torture. What’s the one hot button issue that — despite all the advantages of a freshly minted president with enormous approval ratings and the political power to get shit done — Obama is avoiding? Why, gay rights.

We’ve made the case before: Just over 100 days into office, Obama has taken on many a “controversial” issue. He’s trying to save the economy, respond to swine flu, CIA-authorized torture techniques, those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, touchy relations with Iran and North Korea, and make sure he can tuck his daughter in to bed! It’s a lot.

Much of what’s on Obama’s agenda correlates to promises he made during his presidential campaign. End the war in Iraq. Close Gitmo. Save American jobs. But he also promised gays and lesbians — and a resounding 70 percent of us believed him, and cast our Obama vote — their time for equal rights would come.

But it hasn’t. And there’s no evidence it will.

For all the influence Obama was in Washington, he’s used zero of it for gay Americans. And it’s not like everyone else is just sitting on their hands. We’ve done our part! We’ve helped make same-sex marriage legislation a priority, winning victories in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and soon New Hampshire and Maine. We have created the most gay-tolerant and gay-friendly environment America has ever seen. All we need is Obama to pick up the reigns and take it federal.

“What makes this especially disappointing,” writes Richard Socarides in the Washington Post, “is that it comes during a crisis-driven ‘change moment’ in our country’s history that not only cries out for leadership but presents a particularly good climate for making substantial progress on gay equality.”

And yet: NOTHING. (Okay, he gets a point for supporting hate crimes legislation. Or rather, he gets a point for not bungling Congress’ effort to pass hate crimes legislation by, say, inviting an anti-gay pastor to speak at his inauguration.)

So what should be done? Socarides has some tips for Obama: Start talking about gay rights again, like he did during his campaign. (Since winning the White House, he only talks about gays when it comes to defending Rick Warren.) Sign that hate crimes legislation as quick as he can take the cap off a pen. Appoint a high-ranking openly gay policy advocate responsible for government efforts for GLBTs. And then there’s the biggie: “Obama should champion comprehensive, omnibus federal gay civil rights legislation, similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and granting a basic umbrella of protections in employment, education, housing and the like (rather than the existing piecemeal approach to legislation). Such a bill should also provide for federal recognition of both civil unions and marriages as they are authorized by specific states.”

And that — that — will be a start.

Then it’s on to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, saving our gay brothers and sisters in Iraq, and maybe even telling American moms and dads to grow up, take some responsibility, and start loving their gay children. Because Obama’s a family man.

It’s not as if there is some right way and wrong way to do this, as President Bill Clinton’s DOMA bungling might suggest. There is the political game, yes, we understand that. But then there are basic civil rights gay Americans still do not enjoy. And those don’t have a pause button. Those don’t have time for excuses.

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  • wowjustwow

    At least this post doesn’t sound like a diatribe from Progress is progress, I suppose.

  • Fem In the City

    50,000 troops remain in Iraq. We will continue to occupy Iraq.

    He announced that he sent 17,000 troops to Afghanistan the same day he announced the stimulus. That’s what you call Bush-leak.

    He will have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year.George W’s “War on Terra” continues.

    After pledging to end the Patriot Act he has instead expanded.

    You see that picture you posted for this article?

    That’s what GLBT’s will get from Barak Obama unless they detox from the Obama Crack they are addicted to, and hold him accountable to the community. He hasn’t so much as nodded in our direction since taking office.

  • Lee

    Socarides, who amazingly survived being the son of one of the most influential and rabid antigay shrinks in the country [who popularized the concept of “reparative therapy” and thephony controlling mother/weak father theory], is very wise.

    “President Obama will never have more political capital than he has now, and there will never be a better political environment to capitalize on. People are distracted by the economy and war, and they are unlikely to get stirred up by the right-wing rhetoric that has doomed efforts in the past.”

  • TANK

    This is a rightwing lie spread by knee jerk idiots like andrew breitbart…I fear he’s retarded, actually…I say it affectionately realizing that it’s offensive to those who are cognitively impaired or know people who are (booooooooohoooooooooo), because he’s about as incisive, informed and precise in his social policy analysis and cultural criticism as that elephant that paints with its trunk.

    No, “terrorists” will not be loosed onto the streets of middle america to the horror of corn fed fatass families and disappointment of rightwing pundits like limbaugh whose very livelihood depends on frightening and enraging aforementioned unthinking fatasses. They will either be tried here, or sent back to their own countries for trial or released and deported–and in those cases where we are unable to charge them with anything or mount any credible case against them, they should be compensated for their time and duress; or be allowed recourse to such a means by which they can pursue such compensation. This is from the lips of secretary gates who is a republican. So perhaps andrew breitbart has access to information on the status of prisoners held at gitmo after its closure that the secretary of defense doesn’t…

    And further, what’s your suggestion? That we continue the human rights violations and deny them due process? Our methods lack credibility when we don’t extend those we detain at our expense the same rights as anyone else we detain at our expense. The semantic game doesn’t ever address that torture is simply not an efficient means of data extraction, and holding people indefinitely without charging them or requiring anything more than empty suspicion creates a vacuum of accountability inconsistent with the expressed values of our legal system (to mete justice). And what is the effect? Radicalizing the wronged. They will walk out of guantanamo far more radical than when they entered. If there’s a case to be made, then charges should be filed, and they should tried. Even if a special court needs to be created for this to occur due to their citizenship status.


    To this. The decline of the republican is providing a power vacuum that can be used to hold Obama accountable for not only the right thing to do…but his campaign promises.

  • The Gay Numbers

    Two things that we can pass this year are probably the hate crimes bill and ENDA. Talk is cheap. The hate crimes bill will be passed. Passing ENDA is should be what you are talking about. Concreteness.

  • Nitesurf

    Yeah, he should be doing more, but “Hey Obama” is a little disrespectful. Queerty didn’t hesitate to call that late gay-hater Jack Kemp by his title “Rep. Jack Kemp”. At least give President Obama his due.

  • Viktor

    You have made glue from beating this rotted horse

  • strumpetwindsock

    Look at the unflattering photo they chose. I think “disrespectful” is the general intent.

  • Chuck

    I want to respond to the often cited stance by many African Americans that our struggle isn’t comparable to theirs. We need a Gay Civil Rights Act in order to prevent job discrimination, personal discrimination, and violent crimes against us intended to wipe us out and scare us into submission. How many Americans besides gays currently have to face daily situations where they have to ponder whether they are going to be attacked or killed simply for being who they are?

    Some have previously said that all this doesn’t matter because we can choose to hide. That point is debatable and if you look at one’s whole life, the point can be disproved. Yet here is one that no other minority has ever had to face: we face discrimination and harsh judgment from everyone, INCLUDING OUR OWN FAMILIES. Every other minority group throughout history has been able to take solace in the fact that their parents and families knew exactly what they had to go through.

    The supportive surrounding, where people spend most of their life, cannot be overestimated in importance. It is one thing that no other minority has had to question and the one thing that no gay person has had the luxury Not to question. How many other minorities have ever had to wonder if their own family, own mother and father (!) would turn their back on them because of who they are?

    Case closed. We need our Gay Civil Rights ASAP.

  • Qjersey

    Obama, sadly, is giving older LGBT folks flashbacks. A politician panders to our communities to get our vote and then…crickets.

    Clinton was the only politician who attempted to do something for us, sadly it all blew up and turned into Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Although we despise that law, Clinton continues to have the respect of many LGBT folks to actually attempting to do something.

  • andy_d

    @Qjersey: Obama is JUST like Clinton by reneging on his promises. Clinton had to know that ending the ban would cause problems. Instead of telling the Joint Chiefs that he was Commander in Chief and they can either deal with decision to lif the ban or hand in their resignations, he opted to wimp out.

    And don’t get me started on DOMA . . .

  • Chitown Kev


    But when you are in protest mode (as the tenor of the article is) it is appropriate (and customary) not to use the President’s title.

    The old war chant did not say, for example, “Hey, hey, President LBJ…” and other protests against other Presidents were carried out in a similar fashion. In some protests against Clinton, for example, “Bubba was used.

    This a blog and not a newspaper website or the MSM. In that context it would be inappropriate.

    Chuck needs to stop his racebaiting.

  • The Lesbian Mafia

    @TANK: The term is “knee-jerk liberal”. At least get the terms straight.

    If you would like to fool yourself into thinking that you have any idea what is going on with these politicians and what they do, then go on and delude yourself. Truth: You only get splices of the story. You only know what they let you, until there is a leak.

    Fact: he has escalated the war on terror. This from the “Bring the troops home/anti-war” guy.

    The Patriot Act has been expanded. This from the guy who pledged to end these crimes.

    You have no idea what they are going to do with those “sort of innocent or not” terrorists anymore than anyone else does. You know what they want you to know and you regurgiate what you hear and read from the MSM. There is a very good chance they could end up here just like everyone else does.

    Barack Obama is about as useful to the gays as Clinton was. Only he is more offensive because this is the “Change Hope Unity” guy who would have suffered from the same civil rights inequality just a few short decades ago.

    Many of us do not relate to life in terms of a football game ie: tune in tonight to watch “The Republicans against the Democrats” like it’s a game you watch on Sunday afternoon. Nobody is buying that tired partisan bull anymore. Most people do not relate to being Democrat or Republican anymore.

    Dems don’t care about anything they have to say when it comes to gay civil rights or women’s equality. Abortion is legal bc both Dems and Reps want it and gay rights are last on their list. Dems get to gain gay votes by pretending they are for gay marriage when they know that their own party will vote against it.

    Hence the term Republicrats.

    In short … Obama is a bigot and he lies like every other politician before him. Only God knows where those terrorists will wing up.

    90% of the people are against his escalation of the War on Terror in Afghanistan.

    90% of Americans are against the Bail outs. (some polls report higher)

    Obots complain about any reporter who dares to question thier idol. They will attack Dem, Reps … aaanyone who does not get on thier knees as worship his feet. Well get used to it, people are waking up from the drunken stoopor they’ve been in. These vocies will get louder and louder. When peoploe watch president continue George W’s Bail Outs of the richest men on the planet to line thier pockets with taxpayer money while Americans lose their jobs, then he tells them in his inauguration speech to give up half of their hours so their friend won’t loose thier $8. an hour job, and to put air in your tires … some people can smell the bullshit.

    As far as gay rights go. Don’t hold your breath and some are content to put thier idol above thier civil rights. Then LGBT whine about Prejean and call her a cunt. Please, LGBT are being called out on the hypocrsisy of giving liberals passes for their homophobia and open bigotry. If any Republican were to do half of what Obama has done they would be hung by the knee-jerk overly emotional far left wing liberal “I FEEL he loves me so much” Obots. This will unfortunately bring a longstanding backlash to LGBT.

    The Hollywood pigs continue the worship because they love recessions. People go and see their shitty movies and buy their shitty CD’s because they can’t afford to do anything else during recessions. Hence the Hollywood support and silence on Bail Outs.

  • alicia banks

    obama is being coddled by mostly all media
    msnbc = obama tv
    why should gays coddle him too???

    Obama’s best pals are gaybashers like the homosexual homohater Donnie McClurkin and the “holy” hatemonger Rick Warren.

    obama has done NOTHING for poor people or gays…
    it is literally suicidal that they are still his most ardent and masochistic fans

    see more at:

  • TANK


    Respectful? Are you kidding me? This is u.s., goddamnit…LOL! our lack of respect for our elected officials is one of our selling points. We are not only allowed to publically mock and disrespect our elected officials when they act in a manner deserving of such ridicule, we are expected to as a part of exercising our liberties, and reaffirming that the united states is not like any other country in that no politician is above criticism and no one should feel the least bit uncomfortable or constrained in voicing that criticism.

  • TANK

    @The Lesbian Mafia:

    This from someone who considers andrew “they’re teaching my kids religious and cultural tolerance in schools!” breitbart a reasonable source of information? Reasonable still you consider the far right canard that terrorists will be walking down main street if gitmo closes?

    IF this is just your attempt to derail and talk about things that don’t have to do with the closure of gitmo, which it seems…your excuse to rant. But I am going to focus on that lie and trust the secretary of defense over that talking right wing conservative pundit andrew breitbart and his “sources”.

  • The Lesbian Mafia

    Well yah, of course, it says “Gays” in the post.

    Relax, you’re going to have a seizure. It was just an article.

    Maybe we should be reading the plagiarist Ariana Huffington’s trash rag. Or the New York Times tabloid rag we see piling up next to the trash on Monday mornings bc they can’t police their own and the jig is up. Countdown till it’s curtains for the NYT. Or maybe we should we be watching Chris Slobbering Mathews, Keith fired from FOX / sportscaster Dolberman, and that other guy, Rachel Maddow, stammer for an hour every night and talk to us like we’re High school, because their demographic really is. Is this the drivel that is supposed to make us see the light that Barack Obama is not a bigot? And watch as they change their story on Gitmo every half hour?


  • TANK

    @The Lesbian Mafia:

    As opposed to your apparent slavish attentiveness to the ravings of andrew breitbart, rush limbaugh, sean hannity, steve doocy and the rest of the fraud and friends team (ALL of the same ilk and cut from the same cloth as breitbart)? But hey, you keep selling that “I’m an independent thinker” bill oreilly mantra. I’m sure somewhere someone will find your taste in newsworthy opinion credible…providing that person’s sub literate.

    Is this the new lesbian right? Are you the anti maddow (who I detest, btw)? LOL! Keep believing that the gitmo detainees will be released onto the streets of st louis and aliceville…because that racist simple minded andrew breitbart said so for attention. I still think secretary gates has more credibility…difference of “sanity”.

  • The Lesbian Mafia

    I know it’s hard not to think in black or white … red or blue.

    Hannity, Orielly, Mathews, Olberman, Maddow are all puppet talking heads for their parties, with their careers being their main agenda.

    However, we have a new found distaste for liars who pretend they speak for LGBTQ when they are about nothing but their own self interests.

    The drivel that is the cable news trifecta FUX CNNT MSNBS … is nothing more than sportscast style sensationalize biased entertainment … most people have gotten that by now …

  • TANK

    @The Lesbian Mafia:

    Hey, that sounds about right, but not from the same person who relies on ultra conservative pundit andrew breitbart’s blog for hard hitting policy analysis…about the closure of gitmo, regurgitating the reichwing lie that “terrorists” (yawns) will be released onto the streets of middle america. I mean, you were willing just a post away to defend his “sources” and his ideological viewpoints by suggesting that secretary gates is a liar…but that pudding for brains has the real story…

  • TANK

    @The Lesbian Mafia:

    And I’m the one being overly partisan…LOL!

  • Bill Perdue

    Our agenda is clear. We need the repeal of federal and state DOMAs and DADT adn to fight for the original, inclusive ENDA and hate crimes laws asap. We’ll have to fight for them because we have no allies or friends in the federal government.

    And we have an international responsibility, as the agressor nation, to help GLBT folks in trouble because of the oil wars. The planned murders of gays and lesbians in Iraq has a long history beginning with Bush’s invasion. They’re entirely and solely the result of the Clinton/Bush/Obama oil wars.

    They’re part and parcel of the greater genocide against muslims from Palestine to Pakistan in a war to gain hegemony over oil and gas products in the region. Clinton’s embargo killed half a million Iraqi children, Bush’s invasion and occupation raised the total to over one million Iraqis and now Obama’s become the butcher of Baghdad and Kabul. As of January 20th he’s responsible for the deaths of GIs, resistance fighters and civilians as fighting escalates throughout the region.

    Those deaths won’t stop until the US military is given the bums rush, as they were in Vietnam, and Iraqi unions are able to form a government.

    I. We should insist that Obama and SoS Clinton announce that asylum is available for all GLBT folks in the region threatened with violence and an emergency airlift to evacuate them. We should insist that the doors of US embassies, consulates, offices and military bases be thrown open to welcome them.

    II. We should demand the immediate and total withdrawal of all US military forces, mercenaries and secret police agencies to US home bases. The US is the major terrorist state in the region.

  • Bill Perdue

    Queerty, thanks for keeping this on the front burner.

    GLBT prowar types and racists want to forget all about or justify the murders.

  • atdleft

    @The Lesbian Mafia: PUMA? PUMA McTroll?

    @Chuck: Agreed. That’s why we need ENDA passed. The Matthew Shepard Act is a good start in curtailing anti-queer hate crimes, but ENDA will actually stop the firings and harrassment at work. And hopefully once that’s passed, it’ll be easier to round up votes for DOMA & DADT repeals.

    @Qjersey: I can’t read President Obama’s mind, but I guess there’s always the possibility he doesn’t want to introduce LGBT civil rights proposals, only to have them blow up in his face a la President Clinton trying to end the military service ban. Obama just needs to realize that it’s not 1993 any more, this nation is no longer a center-right/conservative nation, and the vast majority of Americans are ready for DOMA & DADT repeals.

  • Bud E.

    ~ The Not So Liberal Democrats Who Eat Their Own Step-Children ~ by Bud Evans

    Many in Bill Clinton’s own party (as personified in the poison-toad embodiment of former Sen. Sam Nunn — once nefarious head of the Armed Services Committee) joined with the Repugs and opposed Clinton on lifting the ban on gays in the military.

    Yes, Bill Clinton could have shown some guts and vetoed both DADT and DOMA — even when Congress had the votes to override his veto — because at least he would have gone on record as standing up for what was the right thing to do.

    And yet, no liberal Democrat who voted to lift the ban lost re-election. Oddly, most the Dems who lost re-election in the mid-term elections were those backstabbing Blue-dog Democrats (also known as conservative Dixie-crats…also known as Republicans in drag).

    And what did the sore-loser Dixie-crats blame for their defeat? Well, of course, the issue of DADT. Boo-hoo!

    The fact of the matter really was that they actually lost the very crucial support of their Liberal Base because they acted like Republicans and joined with the Republican Goon Squad. A fact that many conservative Democrats still refuse to acknowledge, and who still foolishly believe that true Conservatives put them into office in the first place. In a close election when you really need your base, that kind of delusional thinking can lead to political suicide. Now, Obama seems to be heading down that path.

    As Pres. Truman once said (paraphrasing here): If you are a Democrat running as a Republican don’t be surprised if you lose to a Republican. After all, why would any conservative vote for you when they can get the real thing.

    Obama is a coward (even more so than Clinton) because he wont even give the appearance that he is fighting for our equality. He is nothing but a fraud with good speech-writers. Other than that he is an empty suit with no soul.

    Obama is for Obama. He is more interested in his legacy as the first sort-of-Black president than by actually sticking his neck out to do the right thing. His lack of bravery will only guarantee him a place in history based on the irrelevant fact of his race — but certainly not for any great act of political courage on his part.

    Just remember, for all their faults (and even in spite of their other positive accomplishments) Truman will be forever remembered for desegregating the military when the vast, vast majority of people in the US were against it; Johnson will be forever honored for his steadfast advocacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — even though it cost him and his party their previous political dominance of the South.

    And Obama’s historical contribution for minority rights?

    ….well, after all he was the first mixed-race President. Other than that — not so much.

    That, of course, is contingent upon him either following his current trend of apathy regarding the institutionalized bigotry imposed upon the GLBT community or actually standing up for “Change You Can Believe In“. You remember that now hollow-sounding mantra of those increasingly false and hypocritical presidential campaign promises — don’t you?

    If nothing changes, then Obama’s civil rights legacy — concerning the only American citizens (the GLBT community) who are still fighting against legal, government sanctioned, discrimination — will be a big unforgivable failure on his part. That is what future generations will remember regarding Obama’s callousness, his inaction, and his lack of leadership in the social justice arena. That will be far more relevant to history that the insignificant issue of Obama’s mixed race heritage.

    Sadly, I’d be very surprised to see this political opportunist change his spots. His primary self-serving interests seem to be restricted to a “not rock the boat“ political philosophy, and also confined to just creating a high profile for African Americans who no longer suffer legal, government mandated, discrimination. He doesn’t represent all the people — he is just for those who are most useful to him or for those who are most like him.

    What a disappointment. What a shame. What a tragedy for all fair-minded Americans.

    © Bud Evans, 2009

  • The Lesbian Mafia

    @TANK: We don’t care who it came from. If it is true – it’s true. The end. Wake up and smell Bigot Obama’s bigotry.

  • The Lesbian Mafia

    @atdleft: Keep smoking that Barackrack. I know it’s hard. Everything is crumbling. Everyone is beating up on poor poor little Bambi. *cry* We don’t support anyone who is against marriage civil rights. Try to keep up.

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