• Accomplishments by the Administration and Congress on LGBT Equality

    From Equalitygiving dot org

    No one should rest until we have full LGBT equality.  But after eight years of Republican disrespect, progress is being made.  In its first term, the Obama Administration has…

    FEDERAL LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW
    1. Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — the first positive federal LGBT legislation in the nation’s history

    2. Repealed Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

    3. Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act

    POLICIES CHANGED
    1. Reversed US refusal to sign the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

    2. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees in 2009 and, further, in 2010

    3. Lifted the HIV Entry Ban

    4. Issued diplomatic passports, and provided other benefits, to the partners of same-sex foreign service employees

    5. Committed to ensuring that federal housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity

    6. Conceived a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders — the nation’s first ever — funded by a three-year HHS grant to SAG

    7. Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the
    Federal government (the nation’s largest employer)

    8. Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept our
    relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way, even if their state of residence does not yet permit legal marriage

    9. Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights

    10. Required all grant applicants seeking HUD funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals

    11. Adopted transgender recommendations on the issuance of gender-appropriate passports that will ease barriers to safe travel and that will provide government-issued ID that avoids involuntary “outing” in situations requiring ID, like hiring, where a gender-appropriate driver’s license or birth certificate is not available

    12. Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims

    13. Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employees taking
    unpaid leave to care for the children of same-sex partners

    14. Issued guidance to assist tenants denied housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and banned LGBT discrimination in all HUD-assisting housing and HUD-assisted loans 

    15. Issued a National HIV/AIDS Strategy praised as “long-overdue” by the Task Force, Lambda and others

    16. Issued guidance to 15,000 local departments of education and 5,000 colleges to support educators in combating bullying

    17. Cut back authority to discharge under Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell from hundreds of generals to just 6 civilian appointees, effectively ending discharges while working toward a permanent end to the policy.

    18. Led the fight that reversed a 2010 UN vote removing sexual orientation from the list of things people should not be killed for 

    19. Launched the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing

    20. Determined that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional

    21. Determined that LGBT discrimination should be subject to a standard
    of “heightened scrutiny”

    22. Stopped defending DOMA, leading to “dramatic changes across the country and the federal government in the way that lawyers and judges see legal challenges brought by LGBT people – and, slowly but surely, in the way that LGBT people are able to live their lives” 

    23. Filed an unprecedented brief detailing the history of discrimination faced by gay, lesbian and bisexual people in America, including by the federal government itself — the single most persuasive legal argument ever advanced by the United States government in support of equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people

    24. Vacated a court order that would have deported a gay American’s Venezuelan partner 

    25. Begun recognizing joint bankruptcy petitions filed by same-sex married couples

    26. Endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act

    27. Reduced the deportation threat faced by binational LGBT couples

    28. Authorized military chaplains to perform same-sex weddings on or off military bases

    29. Upped the nation’s commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS at home and abroad

    30. Launched a muscular, game-changing campaign for global LGBT equality, highlighted by the Secretary of State in a half-hour address to the United Nations

    31. Extended the gender-based employment discrimination protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to transgender employees

    32. Added an LGBT representative to the diversity program at each of the nations 120 federal prisons

    RESPECT & INCLUSION
    1. Endorsed the Baldwin-Lieberman bill, The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, to provide FULL partnership benefits to federal employees

    2. Released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamations since 2000

    3. Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history

    4. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King, joining past recipients such as Rosa Parks

    5. Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member

    6. Testified in favor of ENDA, the first time any official of any
    administration has testified in the Senate on ENDA

    7. Hired more openly LGBT officials (like these) in its first two years — more than 150, including more than 20 “Senate-confirmables” — than any previous administration hired in four years or eight

    8. Sworn in Ambassador David Huebner

    9. Changed the culture of government everywhere from – among others – HUD and HHS to the Export-Import Bank, the State Department, and the Department of Education

    10. Appointed Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, instead of conservatives who would have tilted the Court even further to the right and virtually doomed our rights for a generation.  To wit (quoting McCain): “I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts.  I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts.  I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible].”

    11. Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so)

    12. Emphasized LGBT inclusion in everything from the President’s historic NAACP address (“The pain of discrimination is still felt in America.  By African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender.  By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country.  By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God.  By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.”) . . . to the first paragraph of his Family Day proclamation (“Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things”) and his Mothers Day proclamation (“Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by two parents, a single mother, two mothers, a step-mom, a grandmother, or a guardian.  Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate these extraordinary caretakers”) . . . to creating the chance for an adorable 10-year-old at the White House Easter Egg roll to tell ABC World News how cool it is to have two mommies . . . to including the chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce along with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of Goldman Sachs in the small audience for the President’s economic address at the New York Stock Exchange . . . to welcoming four gay couples to its first State Dinner

    13. Recommitted, in a televised address, to passing ENDA . . . repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell  . . . repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act

    14. Spoken out against discrimination at the National Prayer Breakfast (“We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.”)

    15. Dispatched the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call on the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell

    16. Launched a website to gather public comment on first-ever federal LGBT housing discrimination study

    17. Appointed long-time equality champion Chai Feldblum one of the four Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    18. Produced U.S. Census Bureau PSAs featuring gay, lesbian, and transgender spokespersons

    19. Appointed Retired Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, an early public champion of open service in the military, to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services

    20. Publicly invited the shunned MIssissippi high school prom student to the White House

    21. Successfully fought for UN accreditation of IGLHRC (the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission) — against Republican attempts to block it

    22. Convened the first-ever anti-bullying summit to craft a national strategy to reduce bullying in schools

    23. Launched stopbullying.gov

    24. Awarded $13.3 million to the LA Gay & Lesbian Center to create a model program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care system

    25. Tweeted to 5.7 million BarackObama followers and nearly 2 million WhiteHouse followers the President’s “It Gets Better” video

    26. Embraced that campaign with heartfelt messages from, as well, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Agriculture (aimed particularly at rural youth), the Secretaries of Education and Health & Human Services, the Secretary of Labor (in English and Spanish), the Director of OPM and LGBT members of the White House staff

    27. Issued a Department of Justice video urging kids to call a Justice Department toll-free number if their school is aware of bullying but taking no action

    28. Held the first ever White House conference on bullying prevention, led by the President and First Lady

    29. Hosted first-ever White House transgender policy meeting

    30. Emphasized the positive value of Gay-straight Student Alliances (GSAs) and advised the nation’s school districts of their legal responsibility to allow establishment of GSAs

    31. Appointed the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench

    32. Nominated the first open lesbian US attorney

    33. Nominated the first openly gay US attorney to serve Texas

    34. Forced the Tehachipi Unified School District to prevent and respond to gender-based harassment 

    35. Acknowledged in federal court the U.S. government’s “significant and regrettable role” in discrimination in America against gays and lesbians, arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional. (“This is your U.S. Justice Department, folks, forcefully, stunningly taking on the homophobes in Congress and a huge Obama WIN.” — Rex Wockner) 

    36. Appointed open lesbian activist to West Point advisory board

    37. Used the President’s annual United Nations address to say, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”

    38. Presented Janice Langbehn with the Presidential Citizens Award for her role in securing hospital visitation rights

    39. Convened the first-ever White House LGBT Elder Housing summit

    40. Endorsed the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools improvement Act targeting discrimination and bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity

    41. Endorsed marriage equality

    The Administration will continue to make steady progress on our issues whether we help strengthen its hand or not.  But the stronger it is, the faster that progress will come. 

  • I see nothing wrong with being frustrated at the pace of a president’s action for our civil rights and it is perfectly normal to vent that frustration on a blog or any place.

    There are valid arguments on both sides that his coming forward to endorse marriage equality has hurt his chances to a second term or increased his chances for a second term but I personally find that he took a risk in doing it and I feel that those of us who actually want him to win a second term will have to fight much harder now that he did come forward.

    I just think that no matter what we might want President Obama to do better for us, getting Romney elected will not make those things happen any faster, in fact it will happen in the reverse, degrading the progress that President Obama has moved forward for us.

    No president has done as much as President Obama for our rights as LGBT Americans and the list is very very long.

    Right now, especially because his coming forward and endorsing equal marriage will likely activate the Republican base to fight against him even stronger, especially since Romney plans to campaign on this and play upon the fears and bigotry of a potential voter base in the way that Bush did in hiring Ken Mehlman to be his ally in an anti-gay campaign.

    Right now we need to make sure he has a second term.

    I understand that people want a new political party and are fed up with the current system but reality depicts the fact that we will get two choices for president this November, no fringe parties, no alternatives that take several terms of dramatic change to make happen without first enduring a potential 8 years of Republican control.

    If Romney wins, we can toss out all of the progress that LGBT Americans have gained. Don’t forget the progress in women’s rights,reproductive rights, the social safety net, regulation of Wall Street, Health Reform and any remote chance of getting a ‘public option’. Say hello to Austerity.

    He is imperfect and has done things or not done things that we would like for him to do, yet I cannot see even one single fault of his that would some how motivate us to think that it would be better to sit this one out and let Romney become president or vote for a fringe candidate who cannot win.

    Unless you actually think that Romney would do it better, even arguing that he might do the same thing [like NDAA or missed executive orders] does not excuse the vote for the whole lot of other things that come with Romney being president, things that President Obama would certainly not do.

    People are furious about the the NDAA, do you honestly think that it would be better with a Republican president and majority in congress? Really?

    Do you think that under Romney and a Republican controlled congress that Guantanamo will be closed, Bradley Manning released? Internet freedoms increased? National security better? Wars Ended? No new wars started?

    How about Iran? Any doubt as to whether or not Romney would gleefully go into occupation of Iran?

    Do you think that he will flip flop on his word to reinstate DADT?

    Do you think that spineless Romney will not be a puppet leader controlled by the whims of Mitch McConnell, Boehner, ALEC, Christian Right, Koch and former Bush national security operatives?

    Most important, the Supreme Court. Do you think that there is any chance of eliminating Citizens United with a Supreme Court full of more activist GOP, corporate-controlled judges?

    I also cannot find a single reason to neglect the House and Senate, Mayoral, gubernatorial local races and not fight against what a Republican majority will undo to our accomplishments thus far.

    Let us insist on our equal rights, let us hold his feet to the fire but if we believe in this president at all, if we are grateful for anything that he has done and want more change, we cannot under any circumstances become discouraged and allow our votes to not be counted.

    Right now more than ever, we need to vote, encourage and help the disenfranchised to register in spite of voter suppression tactics. Right now we need to encourage the Obama administration to keep up the progress.

  • There are aptitude tests for plenty of jobs that require personal responsibility. If a person wants to run for a public office, they should be required to learn about things like what their constituents require financially to live on.

    If you are going to pass legislation for something you know nothing about [like internet, the uterus and birth control] you should be required to get a consultant who does or learn about it before being allowed to make decisions that effect people’s lives in ways you otherwise would not know about. Sometimes democracy is so damn backwards while being brilliant at the same time.

  • blackoblivion became a registered member

    2012-03-03 10:50:05View | Delete