Obama’s Statement On LGBT Issues Calls Out Congress’ Inaction

Usually the White House dodges questions on gay rights, but yesterday Barack Obama issued a statement responding to a questionnaire The Advocate sends to every presidential campaign.

In the statement, Obama fails to address the momentum-building issue of marriage equality (still “evolving,” eh?), but he does point a finger at Congress for their inaction on LGBT issues.

After enumerating his gay-rights victories (DADT repeal, won’t defend DOMA, support of ENDA), he states: “But a lot of work remains, and we cannot wait for Congress to act.”

He goes on to list a number of noble causes his administration is working on (Hillary Clinton‘s championing of international LGBT rights, more gay appointees), but gay marriage is notably missing.

He concludes, “Together we can continue to build the more perfect union in which LGBT Americans have the same legal rights and responsibilities as every American.”

We’ll take that as a hint he’ll tackle marriage equality in his next term.

Click through to read the President’s entire statement on LGBT rights.

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  • christopher di spirito

    “Together we can continue to build the more perfect union …”

    Just as long as it doesn’t include same-sex marriage.

  • the crustybastard

    Yep, it’s everybody else’s fault. Barack Obama is powerless to help.

  • Raphael

    I don’t want to give him a pass on the marriage issue, but some of those are WAY more important. Specifically, protecting LGBT rights abroad, and supporting ENDA.

  • John

    He has no problem using EO for other issues. These are just more empty words.

  • LandStander

    @John: You can visit your partner in the hospital now you ungrateful sod, how are those empty words?

  • LandStander

    sod = sob *

  • iDavid

    I think he will support gay marriage as soon as his second term is (easily) secured.

  • the crustybastard


    If you think protecting your job is more important than protecting your family — then yes, ENDA is more important than marriage.

    However, job security don’t mean shit when you get a terminal illness or killed in a wreck or simply…old.

    And I’d almost bet my house one of those things is gonna happen to you sooner or later.

  • the crustybastard


    I think Obama will support gay marriage when he’s safely out of office in the grand tradition of craven assholes like Bill Clinton and Howard Dean.

    Ultimately, I really don’t give a shit if you think it’s okay for Obama to play politics with your rights. It really pisses me off when you think it’s okay for Obama to play politics with my rights.

    Equality under the law is not some radical position. It’s a Constitutional guarantee.

  • Spike

    @John: And Rick Santorum would send us to the ovens and Mitt will legislate away every right we currently have, so while you are condemning President Obama’s ’empty words’, the rest of us will continue to support the President, even if you don’t. BTW, I’m guessing that in your opinion, it took President Obama took long to repeal DADT, right?

  • Michael Bedwell

    I have no problem with him bragging about what’s been accomplished since he took office—BUT, while he must be reelected because the alternative is so bad—what’s been accomplished, what he can take credit for, is far less than what he claims. Here are the facts—NOT just my opinion—and anyone is free to try to PROVE differently [i.e., not just write, “you’re wrong blah blah blah”].

    1(a). Even if one accepts his claim that he played a reliable, ongoing, active role in the fight to end DADT [and the case can be made that he did], the FACT is that, thanks to him, it ended up being only half a loaf. The original version of the repeal bill included the creation of a NEW FEDERAL LAW that would have banned discrimination against gays IN the military—something its wise drafters realized was necessary as racially integrating the military in years past did not, by itself, create equal opportunity for African-Americans. Mr. Obama repeatedly promised that he would personally fight for its passage but he did the opposite: he backed the Pentagon’s demand that the original bill be gutted. Obambots claim deleting the nondiscrimination clause was necessary to get the basic bill passed but I’ve never seen them present the name of ONE member of Congress to back that up. And even if it had been, now that repeal is law and practice, WHY is Mr. Obama refusing to issue an Executive Order—as SLDN and others have begged him to—that would give gay and lesbian service members the same protections that blacks, women, et al. have, AND require the Pentagon to extend to gay military couples ALL benefits NOT banned by DOMA such as access to military family housing?

    1(b). Much has been made about how Repug Troglodytes would try to bring back the ban if they became president or controlled Congress. But the fact is that they COULD only do that because, inexplicably and unforgivably, Mr. Obama continued to fight to overturn the ruling in the Log Cabin case that such discrimination by the military is illegal AND succeeded. WHY?

    2. His claim about the hate crimes bill—“WE passed” and “first … to include sexual orientation” —is a partial lie. CONGRESS passed it with virtually no help from him. And on what planet would keeping his promise to, “place the weight of my administration behind [its] enactment” solely encompass posing for a photo with Judy Shepard and sending a THREE SENTENCE statement to Congress a few days before it was voted on? And President Clinton signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act as part of the 1994 Hate Crimes Act, providing for longer sentences where the offense was determined to be a hate crime based on sexual orientation.

    3. Yes, he finally reversed himself after defending DOMA in court using arguments more homophobic than those used to pass it in the first place. BUT there is plenty of precedent from other administrations, and even within his own, of refusing to ENFORCE a law the president believes is unconstitutional. Why is he continuing to?

    4. Simply saying he “supports” ENDA+T is MEANINGLESS without action, and he’s done NOTHING. Please stop insulting the intelligent among us actually paying attention. Of course, he could try to just blame Congress, but HE has the legal authority to issue an Executive Order banning discrimination by federal contractors but is CHOOSING not to.

    5. Here’s another one that close to an outright lie, emphasis mine: “My administration developed and is executing the FIRST comprehensive national strategy on HIV/AIDS….” I can’t speak to how well they’re “executing” it, but there was a “strategy” even under the heinous Reagan. His 1987 Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic issued a report with 600 recommendations. President Clinton created the first White House Office of National AIDS Policy in his first year in office and a “National AIDS Strategy” in 1997. As for Obama’s, upon its release, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said:

    “Access to care for HIV is declining in this country. You can’t say this is a new strategy, if you don’t intend to spend any money on it [and the Administration has] consistently underfunded AIDS [programs. The President] did not mention the word AIDS for the first five months of his administration. This national AIDS strategy has been worked on for 15 months, [and] I think it could have been done in 15 minutes. There’s nothing new in it.”

    6. His constant claims about the end of the HIV+ travel ban are, perhaps, the most shameless. Legislation ending he bill was actually passed under Bush fils. Waiting on Obama’s desk the day he was sworn in, it wasn’t until June of 2009 that his people got around to working to implement it—a YEAR AFTER Bush had signed it. And it took them six months more to finish their work, and during that year, several HIV+ visitors were turned away at our borders including 60 Canadians trying to attend an AIDS housing conference in DC.

    7. Immigration and same-sex partners? They have a lot of nerve still claiming this given that, again and again, we still see stories of couples having to fight to stay together, and at a January 30th meeting between some of the highest representatives of the Administration and LGBT groups, despite the group’s legal case to support it, Obama, Inc., refused to agree to put on hold green card adjudications involving married, binational gay couples. According to “The Advocate”:

    >>>Steve Ralls, [gay] spokesman for Immigration Equality, said of the administration’s response, “This is not about enforcement. It is about whether the president supports a legally sound, interim measure to keep these families together, or whether he believes they should be forced into legal limbo. Americans and their families, who want to follow the letter of the law should be supported, and not discouraged, in that endeavor.” Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights who also attended the January meeting, agreed with Immigration Equality’s assessment. “To hold green cards in abeyance simply maintains the status quo and is not inconsistent with the administration’s decision to enforce DOMA,” she said. … “Nobody has offered a legal basis as to the decision that’s been made” by the administration, said Crystal L. Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “All they’ve said is that they’re not going to [hold the green card petitions in abeyance]. So it has to be a political decision. How can they say that DOMA is legally indefensible, yet proceed to deny married couples the legal right to be together in the United States?”<<<

    So, his “Administration will continue to seek out avenues for progress”??? There are plenty obvious in the holes of what he claims he’s already done. Yes, he has to be reelected, but that doesn’t mean that we have to stop demanding that he walk his talk.

  • John

    @LandStander: I was referencing the items he mentions in his speech. Cut the personal attacks, it achieves nothing.

  • John

    @Spike: Your binary approach is not helpful.

  • iDavid


    I agree it is a pain in the ass butt I also think he is using strategy and timing to our favor. Gonna have to wait and see how it pans out. If he is waiting for second term to fully activate furthering his presidency and gay rights, I get it. We’ll see.

  • JayKKK

    When will you gay liberals learn that if you just do what the republican party says then everything will be ok?

    Obama is more anti-gay than any other republican, because that’s what my parents said when when I agree with them then they don’t hit me.

  • Jisaak

    fact: Obama is more anti-gay then all the republicans put together!
    fact: i tell myself this because if i don’t my republican parents will disown me again.

    stupid liberals, if you want gays to be accepted you have to join the GOP in hating blacks. it works for me! my dad doesn’t hit me anymore!

  • Michael Bedwell


    “strategy and timing”??? Just put down the Kool Aid and step away from the Obamabot Clown Car.

  • Drew

    *Yawn* Even more empty promises from Obama for LGBT rights. This is coming from Obama who did his whole “Gawd’s in the mix” speech BS and no other President or their administration has defended DOMA as much has Obama has.

  • JayKKKMike

    i agree with Drew, if you liberals just realized that hating black people will make things easier for us gays then we’d all be better off.

    when will you guys learn what drew and i learned? if you just keep saying that Obama does nothign then your parents, like mine and drew’s parents, will pretend that they accept you for being gay.

  • sunonthehorizon

    Congress isn’t plural. It is made up of individual members, but the term refers to the group as a whole. It should be Congress’s inaction , not congress’ inaction. It’s like the difference between family’s and families,’ or even more apt: group’s and groups’

  • Shannon1981

    He definitely doesn’t get a pass on the marriage issue, but I still firmly believe that he is waiting for term two.

    Also, remember who we could wind up with if it isn’t Obama…homophobes galore on the right..

  • iDavid


    Yup, agreed.

  • Halston

    I don’t really care about gay marriage(yes, I know “shame on me” I’ve heard it all before), but I feel that if Obama had come out at the beginning of his first term and used an EO as one of you said of above (which I don’t really think it is that easy)I think he would have ZERO chance of being re elected. And, the person who came behind him would’ve just overturned it. I think people forget that despite how much progress people have made on their view of Gay people there are still millions upon millions who still hate us on the left and right-but more so on the right. I may be wrong but I think that he is waiting for his re election to do more for the community and do it in a way that it can’t be changed by the new administration that comes after his term is over. And, to everyone who is complaining I think if he isn’t the President of the US for another term-you will be eating your words about him if Santorum or Romney take his place. God Bless America!

  • erasure25

    @the crustybastard: I guess you missed the part about the accomplishments of the Obama Administration. I guess you also have no fucking clue about how the US Government works. Congress is the only body that can pass laws. They must pass a law rescinding DOMA. The other avenue is the Courts can declare it unconstitutional. Third, Obama can refuse to defend DOMA, which he is already doing. But Obama cannot repeal DOMA himself. Our form of government simply does not allow that.

  • erasure25

    @Halston: Exactly. An EO can be simply brushed aside with the stroke of a pen from the next President. Surely our rights should be more enduring that that! Plus, can you imagine the hate rhetoric if he issued an EO? It would almost surely mean a Santorum or Romney presidency.

  • Halston

    @the crustybastard: Well, what is the point of being married or how is your marriage going to survive if you don’t have a job? And, you know there are people gay and straight who don’t ever plan on being married and the straight people have the same problems that we do when they’re partner gets sick or dies. I’m all for people doing what they want, but why not let people have rights to run their lives as individuals and extend their rights to whomever they share their life with – without having to be married.

  • Halston

    Just want to say that last post is the same Halston as before-switched to my iPhone from my laptop. So, I guess the site does not recognize me.

  • the crustybastard


    “The accomplishments of the Obama Administration” are weak and his advocacy has not been what he promised.

    “Congress is the only body that can pass laws. They must pass a law rescinding DOMA. But Obama cannot repeal DOMA himself.”

    Did I say, “Obama should repeal DOMA”? No, I didn’t. Not sure why you imagine I did.

    As to your point that only Congress can make laws, that’s not entirely true. In a common-law country judges can make law. Administrative agencies make rules and regulations with the force of law. Likewise, the executive can issue orders with the force of law.

    “Obama can refuse to defend DOMA, which he is already doing.”

    Yeah. After he defended that law, having lied about having some duty to do so. And when the gays won, Obama denied them their victory by appealing his loss, which he also didn’t have to do. Then he dropped that appeal once the Republicans had the majority in the House, allowing John Boehner to pick up the defense. Nice strategy there.

    Moreover, Obama now concedes that DOMA is indeed unconstitutional, which means he would violate his oath of office if he were to enforce it. But he also thinks it’s entirely proper to enforce this unconstitutional law, which is batshit insane and unprecedented, as far as I know.

    So evidently the person with “no fucking clue about how the US Government works” is you.


  • the crustybastard

    @Halston: Well, what is the point of being married or how is your marriage going to survive if you don’t have a job?

    Um, spousal and family benefits? (Do I really have to spell this shit out?)

    “And, you know there are people gay and straight who don’t ever plan on being married and the straight people have the same problems that we do when they’re partner gets sick or dies.”

    Yeah, I’m not advocating making marriage mandatory, nimrod.

    “I’m all for people doing what they want, but why not let people have rights to run their lives as individuals and extend their rights to whomever they share their life with – without having to be married.”

    Because spouse is a legal status, and the entire body of American law determines rights, responsibilities, benefits, privileges, immunities and obligations based on a person’s legal status (e.g. spouse, citizen, minor, widow, dependent, &c.)

    Also, marriage is a fundamental right, and it’s unconstitutional for the government to deny a minority their fundamental rights on the basis “y’all ain’t normal!” “but the Bible!” “we just think you’re icky” or “well, we’ve just always done it this way.”

    Even assuming it is possible (which is doubtful) to amend the entire legal system by inventing some new “romantic-partner” legal status that’s a distinction without a difference from “spouse” — that’s just fucking idiotic given that “spouse” already exists and functions satisfactorily within the existing legal system.

    Moreover, the new status will be subject to endless legislation and litigation on the basis that a romantic partner must be legally and functionally different from a spouse since it’s actually different. This would inevitably lead to a crazy quilt of laws and regulations that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

    Which means your solution wouldn’t actually solve any of the multitude of problems that exist today.

    So I hope that cleared it up for you.

  • Halston

    @the crustybastard: First off I expressed an opinion and I was not attacking you and I would not stoop as low as you to call you name which was uncalled for and if you read my response instead of just reacting I never said YOU wanted to make marriage mandatory (where you came up with that from what I wrote is really beyond me). Secondly, what I am saying is that yes “Spouse” is a legal term…but alot of people make up their lives with other people that is not based on a “Romantic Partner”-family members and friends end up living together for numerous reasons for the rest of their lives as well as “Romantic Partners” who do not plan on being married. And, I’m not sure what you mean by Spousal and Family Benefits, but when my father was let go from his job years ago and my mother was a stay at home mom-there wasn’t any Spousal or Family benefits putting food on the table. And, yet again-I do not know your political party affilation but I assume that you do not like what Obama has or has not done and all I am saying is come next November if someone Romney or worse Santorum get into the White House I think things for GLBT people will be far worse and progress that has been made will surely be rolled back to the way things were before.

  • Halston

    @the crustybastard: And one more thing…I don’t know you but I’m pretty sure that you are a good person, but that angry chip on your shoulder is not becoming and you may have some valid points and ideas-but I for one really can’t take you seriously or others like you if you are coming at me like you are going to show me how right you are and how a “NIMROD” like me has to have “the shit spelled out for him”. What is that all about? You have something to say then say it-but all the extra stuff I can do without.

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