Quite a number of Queerty readers were quick to come to Barack Obama‘s defense on this post, where we pointed out the president made his first (and only) public statement to urge Congress to make hate crimes legislation a priority and make it law … yesterday. Less than 24 hours later, our reps are debating the bill. So, uh, big thanks Obama for helping influence our legislators.
Richard in DC writes “this website has a bad habit of criticizing our allies (New and Old alike)” and “We have a president who actually likes us, let’s support him in every way that we can, regardless of his timing.” Luc says “You will never never never never never be satisfied and always ready to bash him. Shame on you!” Blake writes “You are using the stick needlessly against an ally.” Matt says “He’s also the most vocally pro-LGBT pres we’ve had, and the fact that he made a statement about this is pretty awesome, in my book.” Rogue Dandelion says “this is nitpicking bitching.”
Now, just for those keeping score at home, and holding Obama’s back, understand this: So far, Barack Obama has done exactly squat for the LGBT community.
“If Barack Obama were a student in a high school civics class, he’d be getting a pretty good grade for class participation,” writes Emma Ruby-Sachs. “Compared to the rows of sullen, silent Presidents behind him, he would look like a gay rights brown-noser. But 70% of LGBT voters came out in support of Barack Obama because they expected that the support for equal rights expressed on the campaign trail would result in action for LGBT people once Obama was in office.”
So what has Obama done for you lately? Well, let’s assess:
He’s said he’s too busy with the economy to get around to marriage equality. He’s let his secretary of defense tell the world that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell might get repealed, which is the same as saying it might not. For all his talk about health care, he’s done nothing to let gay people share benefits with their same-sex partners. There are no protections in place to keep us from getting fired from our jobs for being gay, even though we’re losing paychecks like every other American. Immigrants are being deported because they cannot legally marry their same-sex partners.
So while you argue “Obama is busy, he’ll get around to us,” you might be right. But apparently NOT HAVING EQUAL RIGHTS and being considered SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS is not a big enough priority for Barack Obama to act.
The economy is unquestionably a priority. But so should making sure every American is given the rights they’re due. Apparently plenty of Queerty readers find Obama’s lip service without action excusable. We have gay rights organizations, blogs, and activists arguing gays deserve civil rights just like blacks did when they were slaves, and women when they couldn’t vote. Should we have let Abraham Lincoln and other politicians wait to get around to emancipation while they secured the economy?
Still don’t think Obama has done nothing for gays yet? Well you tell us: How many more days, weeks, or years are you willing to wait — and continue defending the president — before you demand action? In what timeframe do GLBTs finally get to be treated as human beings?