talking heads

It’s Time For the Pundits to Weigh in On Obama + NEM. Including Queerty‘s

Now that Obama and the marchers have had their say, it’s time for the pundits to weigh in! Don’t run away now, this is the best part! Is Obama doing enough for LGBTs? Was the march worthwhile? Where did Lady Gaga buy that outfit? Queerty‘s own David Hauslaib joined up with the Huffington Post‘s Jose Antonio Vargas to discuss two of those three questions for CNN.COM today, but they certainly weren’t the only ones delving into the debate.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night after Obama disappointed gay Americans on Saturday night, Dan Choi, Hilary Rosen, Dan Savage, and Michelangelo Signorile gathered ’round for their own session. Can you really call this weekend’s Brady Bunch roundtable a “debate” when everyone agrees with each other? No. Which is why they had Rosen and Savage in there!

We’ve got all sorts of fun nuggets in here:

Rosen: Obama can’t be taken at his word! Also, incremental change is still change!

Savage: We didn’t ask Obama to do anything, it was Obama who promised us!

Signorile: Everything has to happen NOW!

Choi: …?

So, uh, who comes off the most grounded?

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  • J. Clarence

    It’s a healthy and worthy debate, and I can understand and appreciate both sides. Hilary Rosen is a bit too optimistic and complacenent, but on the other side you have folks like Savage (and Queerty) that do not seem to include the realities of politics in their equation. Of course our elected officials need to be pressured, or else nothing substanial would ever get done, but we shouldn’t outright label them a hypocrite.

    Savage’s point that it was Obama who promised these changes can come back to haunt him. In hindsight we should have pressured him for a timeline when he was just a candidate and hold him to that. But we were all swept up in Obama-mania like most of the country and pressumed it would just a flick of the wrist, and now we are learning that it is not that easy.

    That being said the issue of a timeline is misguided and ultimately not going to be very effective, beyond symbolically reassuring queer Americans. He’s given timelines on Guantamano Bay and health-care reform, either of which have come to pass, so why it would be any different is beyond me. Individual Congress will decide when they want to push this, and as we’ve seen even members within the Obama’s caucus have no problem putting their own political careers before Obama.

  • tonedef

    Forget complacent. Hilary Rosen came off as a douchebag. Did I miss it, or was there no mention that her ex-wife was the Director of HRC for several years, and that Rosen was the interim Director following that?

    Also, The HRC’s supporters are “politically sophisticated,” ostensibly compared to those raucous queers who, on an ill-informed whim, flew across the country to protest outside? The issue is not one of political sophistication, it’s one of having the courage of your convictions, as opposed to throwing money at someone and praying that he’ll come through by 2017.

    I probably wouldn’t be as nasty as this if it were anyone but Rosen, but we have some bad blood (

  • InExile

    David Hauslaib, thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning same sex bi-national couples and the Uniting American Families Act, you brought tears to my eyes! I was actually shocked to hear someone stand up for us bi-national couples on CNN, it just does not happen. We are a very desperate bunch that seldom get mentioned, so thank you again for remembering us.

    The worst part of being in this situation (living exiled in a foreign country) is you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. When the federal government gives you no other choice but to separate or move to a foreign country, in many ways they take away the control you have over your life and there is nothing you can do about it. My partner and I moved away from our home (Los Angeles)3 and a half years ago to France, we have been together for over 15 years.

  • schlukitz

    David Hauslaid, like in Exile, I too wish to thank you copiously for mentioning same sex bi-national couples and the Uniting American Families Act. InExile was not the only one in tears, I assure you.

    InExile is right on the money. Bi-national couples are not even on the radar screen and we seem, for the most part, to be the “forgotten gays” which is why it is so upsetting to us to hear some posters on Queerty say “I don’t care about gay marriage. I don’t need gay marriage and I don’t want to get married” when we, in fact, do not even have that option and which is the only way we will ever be able to unite with our families.

    While I am not exiled from my own country, my feet are on two continents…one on North America and the other in Asia. I am obliged to maintain two domiciles on opposite sides of the word so that I can spend a portion of my time with my partner of seven years.

    InExile is entirely correct when he states that control over our lives has been taken away in many respects and the resultant anger and frustration of that realization is maddening and disheartening, to say the least.

    Since 9/11, Immigration polices have become so difficult that four attempts thus far to bring my hubby to this country, either under a student visa or on a visitors visa have been denied and it appears that American Immigration policies are particularly discriminating in so far as Philippinos are concerned.

    I hear so many cries from gays, especially those in the HRC crowd calling for patience.

    At 73 years of age and recently diagnosed with emphysema, I am afraid patience is a virture I can no longer afford.

    I need instant gratification!

  • AlanReeser

    Hilary Rosen is in the bag for the HRC and Obama. She sounds just as happy as ever to leave things as they are. Dan Savage appeared to be auditioning for an HBO slot coming up… My money on who got it right is on both Michaelango Signorile and Dan Choi. Mike is right when he said a lot of people don’t have the money to go to those things – Anyone remember the , “It’s the economy, stupid” comment? The march was for everyone, the affluent, the middle class and those just scratching out a living. Dan Choi nailed it when he said we need to keep Obama’s feet to the fire. Signing a federal hate crime statute into law should only be the beginning. The democrats have the numbers, they need to grow a set and DO SOMETHING. Incrementalism my ass… The time to act is now.

  • Tim K

    Thank you, David Hauslaib, for mentioning the plight of same-sex, binational couples during your interview. Of course my focus is on passage of The Uniting American Families Act, as my partner is from Europe and there currently exists no legal pathway for his immigration. But, I think your point was well made — ALL of these issues are immediate. ALL of our equality demands must be met, and quickly. As you mentioned, a whole section of Americans are actively and knowingly being discriminated against/denied basic human rights by The Federal Government. Again, not to belabor the same-sex binational immigration issue, but estimates range from 36,000 to well over 100,000 gay and lesbian Americans currently in these relationships. These are America citizens being denied the right to be with their permanent partner by our government. That is just wrong, unfair and unjust — it is America’s immigration shame. Thank you again for mentioning our situation and please, please continue to support The Uniting American Families Act.

  • L.Single

    This whole “we want it now, so we should get it now and we don’t want to have to go court by court and legislator by legislator” sounds naive and childish. No other minority group was simply handed everything they deserved just because a few people turned up for a march one day.

    Meanwhile, I’d like to hear how much money they raised to help fight ballot initiatives in Maine and Washington to take away marriage and domestic partnership. Maybe none because that’s too incremental and having to go voter by voter is too slow so it’s not worth it.

  • AlwaysGay

    Wow! I am so impressed with David and Jose. You two spoke so effectively and succinctly to issues concerning gay people. Great job!

  • BobinLA

    you can’t trust anything coming out of hilary rosen’s mouth. she is on the board of HRC and her ex partner, elizabeth birch headed the HRC for many years. does CNN know a biased talking head when they see one? thank goodness for dan savage and michelangelo signorile.

  • Alexandra T

    I too would like to thank David Hauslaib for mentioning UAFA. My partner lives in Ukraine and every day spent waiting to be able to legally sponsor her to come live with me is excruciating. Please keep up the pressure to get UAFA passed.

  • Scott NYC

    Hillary Rosen Cunt.

  • TimNCGuy

    Rosen made a statement that I find very difficult to believe about DADT. She said that some military gay organization has asked Obama NOT to use an executive “stop order” loss to end the enforcement of DADT while we wait for congressional repeal of the law.

    This makes no sense at all. I have never uderstood those that take the position that Obama should suspend enforcement of DADT, which has has the legal authority to do, because the suspension could be overturned by the next president and would not be a permanent resolution.

    So what?? A suspension by Obama in no way stops the congress from continuing to work toward repeal of the law. Do those who oppose this think that if Obama were to suspend enforcement that congress would feel free to stop working toward repeal?

    I think the truth is that Obama doesn’t want to take the responsibility of ending DADT. He wants to be able to say he is just signing a repeal tha was sent to him by congress.

    This all makes no sense. Over 70% of the public approves of ending DADT. THere would be no political price to pay at all for ending DADT by suspending it with an executive stop loss order and following that up with full repeal by congress.

  • robert

    Thank you for mentioning us the bi-national couples. I am American and my bf of 4 years is Thai, we go back and forth between US and Thailand.
    He is here on visitor visa till March, and then I really do not know what to do. Our financial resources are depleted and we just want to bet together.
    I can not leave US to live with him in Thailand since I have sick mom that I take care off.
    Passage of UAFA is our only hope.
    Robert in Atlanta

  • Kathryn Lipp

    THANK YOU to David Hauslaib for specifically mentioning the Uniting American Families Act on CNN and for explaining why it, along with repeal of DADT, DOMA, and passage of an inclusive ENDA is a vital civil rights issue for LGBT Americans. And THANK YOU to Jose Antonio Vargas for nodding his head and agreeing with David Hauslaib! I hope that Queerty will continue to publicize and discuss immigration rights for LGBT families, because for those of us whose partners cannot legally join us in the United States, every day is a struggle.

  • Sandy

    Thanks David Hauslaib for mentioning UAFA. The plight of binational gay and lesbian couples is simply not known by the vast majority of Americans — straight or gay. People do not realize the hardships we face when we fall in love with a person from another country. I know how unintentionally ignorant the average American citizen is about immigration. When I became involved with my foreign born Partner, I did not believe what she told me about the immigration system — that there is no legal way for her to immigrate to the US. She told me her only possibility was marrying someone of the opposite sex. I said — no, that’s impossible, this is the United States of America, there must be a way! — I was so wrong… How could I not know this? I’m intelligent, well informed, how could I not know that this type of discrimination was allowed to go on in the United States of America in 2009?

    We need to put a stop to this blatant discrimination against gay and lesbian binational couples and we need everyones understanding and help to do it. We need to get the word out to the average American who has no idea that this situation exists. Thank you for helping publicize this issue. Thousands of couples are suffering and we need to fix the broken system… NOW, not in 5 years!

  • Kelly

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo to David Hauslaib for bringing up the Uniting American Families Act! It is hard enough for those in bi-national relationships to deal with the day-to-day reality of multiple obstacles and difficulties, but it is particularly disheartening when leaders within the LGBT community don’t even seem to be aware of the issue. So again, a HUGE thanks to Mr. Hauslaib for making a point of including it in his list of legislation we need NOW. He was wonderfully articulate throughout.

    As for the HRC and other organizations, of COURSE they are happy to see change, but also happy to see such change happen slowly and incrementally. After all, if and when the LGBT community gains full equality and there is no need for any additional legal action, they will have no reason to exist and they will be out of jobs. So to have the process take as long as possible means job security for all of them. Or am I just being cynical here?

  • UK supporter

    I too would like to Thank David Hauslaib for mentioning UAFA and the plight of binational gay and lesbian couples. Sadly my partner (American) and I (UK) are having to live apart due to our civil partnership not being recognised in America. Prior to falling in love with my partner, I too was not aware of the broken immigration system in America and the discrimination that it brings! People who love one another should never be discriminated against because of their sex. Families should not be forced to live apart, and Americans should not be forced to leave their country!

  • schlukitz

    @ No. 16 Kelly:

    So to have the process take as long as possible means job security for all of them. Or am I just being cynical here?

    Absolutely not. You are a person who has his eyes open to the reality of the way things are.

    And that is in no way being cynical. Like many of us who post on these threads, eating bullshit…and saying that we like it, is simply unacceptable.

  • Committee to Advance Equality For Binational Same-Sex Couples

    Thank you, David, for pointing out the need for an immediate immigration reform for binational same-sex couples and for mentioning the Uniting American Families Act by name. So few do.

    There is now an open discussion forum for binational same-sex couples where nothing is off topic and we can brainstorm, vent, and share. Hopefully we will find more avenues than just letter-writing. Something must be done asap – our plight is cruel, and we are in dire need of action. Join us at

  • Cam

    No. 7 · L.Single said…
    This whole “we want it now, so we should get it now and we don’t want to have to go court by court and legislator by legislator” sounds naive and childish. No other minority group was simply handed everything they deserved just because a few people turned up for a march one day.
    The Mattachine society marched in the late 60’s early 70’s, there have been massive marches on DC in 1987, 1993, 2000, etc…there have been court suits for decades, massive fundraising, just HRC alone I believe has raised something along the lines of 20 million a year to say nothing of the equality umbrella organizations so please don’t try to pretend that gays have just started pushing for our rights last Sunday with the march. The march happened because not only has the White House not moved on many issues, but they are also staying silent when even the Senate Majority leader is asking Obama for some guidence on gay issues. Politics is not as difficult a business as that. Clinton and Bush used the power of their office constantly, Obama could issue the stop loss order and then order the Pentagon to do a study on Don’t ask Don’t tell (To match the one done in the 90’s that found openly gay soldiers would not be detrimental to the armed forces) that gives Congress the time to work on the law. Trumen desegregated the military even though he was hearing many of the same arguments, he didn’t push it through congress etc…

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