Wall Street Journal: Obama Is Missing in Action on Gay Rights

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    Jun 25, 2010 2:27 PM GMT
    From the "conservative" WSJ:


    Obama Is Missing in Action on Gay Rights
    Ted Olson is on the right side of history. When will the president step up?.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704629804575325231395396708.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

    By RICHARD SOCARIDES

    President Obama celebrated Gay Pride Month earlier this week by telling guests at a White House reception that he still favors full equality for gays and lesbians. But despite a steady trickle of small steps Mr. Obama has taken to promote gay rights, on the big issues he is a disappointment.

    First and most obviously, Mr. Obama has not made good on his campaign promise to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, allowing the military to continue stalling. Despite his earlier assertion that leadership was the only thing required to abolish this long-discredited policy, the administration's efforts have been lackluster.

    Earlier this year, the president's staff indicated privately that they would prefer to wait until after the midterm elections to move forward. Only after it became clear that Congress was going to act without him -- and after he was heckled twice at fund raisers by the activist group GetEQUAL -- did Mr. Obama step in, and then with a Pentagon-inspired "compromise."

    That plan requires the completion of a study about how best to implement repeal, future certifications relating to military effectiveness, and the passage of additional time before the law is repealed sometime in 2011 -- or perhaps even later.

    What's more, the compromise bill, which has yet to pass the Senate, merely repeals the existing Don't Ask, Don't Tell rule. It fails to include simple nondiscrimination language stating that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly.

    Another of Mr. Obama's core campaign promises was that he would put an end to workplace discrimination, a key issue for gay Americans. To date, White House efforts to pass federal employment nondiscrimination legislation (known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) have been virtually nonexistent. The administration sent the acting chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to testify in support of the bill at a House hearing and called it a major accomplishment.

    The Obama administration's stance on gay marriage is especially troubling.

    In California, even Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has refused to defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8, that state's antigay marriage law. Not so for the Obama administration on the federal version, the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice not only have chosen to aggressively defend the constitutionality of that law, which bars recognition of same-sex marriages, but Justice Department lawyers actually cite it affirmatively to deny federal employee benefits like health insurance to same-sex couples. Where is the Civil Rights Division, which Mr. Holder has called the "crown jewel" of his department?

    The absence of a position from the Justice Department in favor of expanding civil rights is as shocking as the absence of a coherent White House policy on gay issues. There is no senior policy person at the White House whose primary responsibility is gay rights. And there is no gay person in Mr. Obama's inner circle of advisers. That matters when trying to get attention for issues in an already overcrowded agenda, and the result is obvious.

    It's true that this president is no George W. Bush, or John McCain, for that matter. He signed into law a long-sought amendment to the federal hate-crimes statute, which added sexual orientation as a protected class. Many cabinet agencies have taken steps to make their rules and regulations more gay-friendly, most significantly with respect to issues like hospital visitation and, earlier this week, some aspects of family medical leave. That's all good news.

    Mr. Obama entered office with greater immediate challenges confronting him than most. But after eight years of benign neglect (at best) from Washington, and a campaign in which Mr. Obama promised to be our champion, gay Americans had good reason to expect more from this president, and now are understandably frustrated.

    In a telling development, the most significant and aggressive legal effort to promote gay equality today is being led by a conservative, former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson. In federal court in San Francisco, together with co-counsel David Boies, he is prosecuting the most comprehensive and sophisticated legal attack on antigay marriage laws in history.

    As that case unfolded -- the decision will come later this summer-- we learned last month that former First Lady Laura Bush supports gay marriage. Add her to the growing list that includes Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Cindy and Meghan McCain.

    When Mr. Olson's case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court in a year or more from now, will Mr. Obama be one of the few left on the wrong side of history? What a bitter irony that would be.

    Mr. Socarides, a New York lawyer, served as White House special assistant and senior advisor on gay rights issues to President Clinton.

  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jun 25, 2010 2:52 PM GMT
    his inaction and twising in the wind on this issue, the war in the sand dunes and now the oil spill debacle has proven to me that my first less-than-favorable impression of President obama was, unfortunately, a correct one. icon_sad.gif
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    Jun 25, 2010 7:44 PM GMT
    Let's not forget he did not start the war or the anti gay laws or the oil spill dude he just fell into everyone elses mess
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Jun 25, 2010 7:47 PM GMT
    arabesque21 saidLet's not forget he did not start the war or the anti gay laws or the oil spill dude he just fell into everyone elses mess
    yes, but he hasn't stopped any of the above as he promised to do.
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    Jun 25, 2010 9:43 PM GMT
    He's sure better than either Bush, Reagan or any other national Republican I can think of.
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    Jun 25, 2010 10:11 PM GMT
    antelope saidHe's sure better than either Bush, Reagan or any other national Republican I can think of.

    And that's the point. Because Obama isn't perfect, should gays throw themselves into the jaws of the Republican sharks, as southbeach would urge us? They are passionately anti-gay, it's written right into their national & state party platforms (read the latest Texas version posted elsewhere here -- they want us in jail).

    Am I disappointed with Obama on some of these issues? Yes, absolutely. And I was a Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2008 Presidential primaries, whom I think would have been a better friend to us, and said so here.

    But scrap Obama for the Republicans? Are some of you nuts? Undermine him and let the Republicans take over? With the exception of a very few members of their Party, most of whom aren't even in office and have no actual say in party policy, the Republicans would crucify us gays if they could. It's in their fucking platforms, if you bother to read them, it's what they campaign on.

    Does anyone dispute this? (Other than southbeach, and nobody listens to his idiocy anyway) Our problem is that we don't have any strong gay support in US politics. How to attain that is the challenge. But just because the Democrats aren't delivering as they should, is our only option to embrace our sworn enemies, the Republicans? Or abandon the Democrats? What madness that would be!

    Rather, we need to create incentives & inducements for politicians to support us, and advance our interests. This is where we are failing, I think in large part due to our lack of speaking with a single & determined voice regarding our political goals.
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    Jun 25, 2010 10:16 PM GMT
    He is too slow to act on issues. ... He will soon lose his majorities in Congress and we will have missed our chance. ... Personally, I am in favor of firing the Dems. Let them be without their jobs and power so that they can ponder the association between those who elect them to office and the positions they take,
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    Jun 25, 2010 10:43 PM GMT
    Obama is not GOING to "step up." He hates gayness as much as any other Muslim hates it.

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    Jun 25, 2010 11:02 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Wilton saidOur problem is that we don't have any strong gay support in US politics.

    How about Barney Frank? icon_lol.gif

    One member of Congress is not strong gay support. Whereas we have plenty of vehement Republican enemies, from Boehner to Bachmann.
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    Jun 25, 2010 11:03 PM GMT
    JackBlair saidObama is not GOING to "step up." He hates gayness as much as any other Muslim hates it.

    Please present your proof that President Obama is a Muslim, and not a Christian. Are you also one of these nutjob "birthers"?
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    Jun 25, 2010 11:05 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 saidHe is too slow to act on issues. ... He will soon loose his majorities in Congress and we will have missed our chance. ... Personally, I am in favor of firing the Dems. Let them be without their jobs and power so that they can ponder the association between those who elect them to office and the positions they take,

    My late mother used to use an expression that covers this: "Cutting off your nose to spite your face."

    Yeah, put us in the hands of the Republicans. That'll teach those Dems a lesson, while it destroys us gays. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jun 25, 2010 11:15 PM GMT
    JackBlair saidObama is not GOING to "step up." He hates gayness as much as any other Muslim hates it.



    This message brought to you by The Tea Party- "McCarthy style hysterics for a new generation."
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    Jun 25, 2010 11:18 PM GMT
    rnch saidhis inaction and twising in the wind on this issue, the war in the sand dunes and now the oil spill debacle has proven to me that my first less-than-favorable impression of President obama was, unfortunately, a correct one. icon_sad.gif


    Yeah. I remember getting a lot of flack right here on RJ for being an Obama skeptic before the election. I even wrote about how I didn't think he really supported our rights because some of the things he wrote.
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    Jun 25, 2010 11:26 PM GMT
    Caslon14000 saidHe is too slow to act on issues. ...



    And so are we! Gay men despise each other so much that we can't even have visible, identifiable leadership because anytime anyone says a word about gay civil rights everyone in the gay and lesbian community barks 'well, you don't speak for MY experience' - this community, since most of us are single adults with no children and no sense of responsibility or what community is, are incredibly selfish and narcissistic. It's all about our individual needs, wants and desires - not community-based and definitely not what's best for the gay community on a large scale. With marriage, people only got on board for that because it makes us look good, stable, normal - many, many more gay men are riddled with addictions, severe depression, isolation, etc but because that gives us the stereotypical 'gay is bad and sick and not pretty' edge, nobody cares about that. We are still a group of anonymous men who show up when the money's plenty, the good wine is being served, we are in the company of only the most successful, young and talented, and to hell with any gay person who doesn't have a white-collar job, a doctorate degree and a million dollar condo.

    If we don't give a shit about other gay and lesbian people than why would anyone else? That's how it's been since time began and until we learn that other gay people are just as worthy of 'pride' as our selfish asses are, it will never change.

  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jun 25, 2010 11:36 PM GMT
    heartrobb said
    JackBlair saidObama is not GOING to "step up." He hates gayness as much as any other Muslim hates it.



    This message brought to you by The Tea Party- "McCarthy style hysterics for a new generation."








    "Hysterics for a New Generation"? That works both ways. Case in point...




    Wilton said

    Yeah, put us in the hands of the Republicans. That'll teach those Dems a lesson, while it destroys us gays.



    The paranoid hysteria from some never ceases to amaze.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:10 AM GMT
    first off lets get one thing str8 anyone who takes on such a sensitive issue during an election year has no grasp of American politics.

    secondly any gay "Republican" is a bastard. oh yeah your a fiscal conservative? yeah yeah stfu your feeding the hand that beats you! the people who want you to stop being gay are the people you support. i know your support doesn't mean shi* and if you think it does haha sheep, but if you a man and into men and a republican than that shows how unbelievably retarded you are...no seriously you should not operate heavy machinery or automobiles how are you even using this computer?
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jun 26, 2010 12:14 AM GMT
    More hysteria...seems to be contagious icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:18 AM GMT
    sayz the guy from AZ haha delicious
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:31 AM GMT
    i dunno dude haha im only 22 the only politics ive ever really seen are bush/cheney regime politic (which were eerily soviet for how pro business they were) so yeah our rights will be met but people should realize at least, if nothing else dems don't say to gay people "hey stop being gay yeah?" really? how fuc*ing ridiculous.
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:38 AM GMT
    no dude i get the economics of it lol i meant the government secrecy, double speak, trumping up charges (wmd) and perpetual war all things the sovs were notorious for icon_biggrin.gif haha not trying to be a smart ass
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jun 26, 2010 12:41 AM GMT
    arabesque21 saidi dunno dude haha im only 22 the only politics ive ever really seen are bush/cheney regime politic (which were eerily soviet for how pro business they were) so yeah our rights will be met but people should realize at least, if nothing else dems don't say to gay people "hey stop being gay yeah?" really? how fuc*ing ridiculous.


    Please, by all means, post some specific examples of current Republicans in office stating to any gay person "Hey, stop being gay". It's so ridiculous I can barely type it LOL
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Jun 26, 2010 12:43 AM GMT
    arabesque21 saidno dude i get the economics of it lol i meant the government secrecy, double speak, trumping up charges (wmd) and perpetual war all things the sovs were notorious for icon_biggrin.gif haha not trying to be a smart ass


    I guess you were too young to remember President Clinton warning of the WMDs in Iraq. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • dantoujours

    Posts: 378

    Jun 26, 2010 12:44 AM GMT
    He may be slow, but at least the desire is there. Hopefully we can find enough Democrats and a couple Republicans in Congress to overcome the inevitable filibuster and other GOP obstructionism and repeal DOMA and DADT.

    Obama can't force Congress to pass laws. Congress has to do them and they will only vote on these repeals if there is a reasonable chance it can pass.

    Of course, if Grampy Depends and the Grifter had gotten into the White House, they'd probably have done what the Fratboy did in 2004 and actually whip up anti-gay sentiment by promising to ban gay marriage to get the right-wing Christian and self hating gay vote. So thanks be to God America made the right decision and put Obama in the White House. Now we just need to elect more Democrats to overcome GOP obstructionism.

    Get out and vote in Nov!
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:45 AM GMT
    your from az and therefore are mute to my political discussion icon_biggrin.gif repeal nazism in your state than well talk ok babe?

    thank you dant see someone gets it!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 26, 2010 12:45 AM GMT
    I thought Obama was a douche in 2004, and I still think he's a douche in 2010. And not because of GAY.