Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Milk" Dustin Lance Black and attorney and former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides talk to Anderson Cooper. Both believe the Obama Administration is behind the curve. Iowa has marriage, and Obama can barely give any benefits to his own employees.
But the drama continues. The highest ranking gay U.S. representative, Barney Frank, has now down a 180 and actually comes out and supports the insulting DOMA brief issued by Obama and the DOJ. He claims his initial statement was made before he had actually read the brief. Oye.
“Now that I have read the brief, I believe that the administration made a conscientious and largely successful effort to avoid inappropriate rhetoric. There are some cases where I wish they had been more explicit in disavowing their view that certain arguments were correct, and to make it clear that they were talking not about their own views of these issues, but rather what was appropriate in a constitutional case with a rational basis standard – which is the one that now prevails in the federal courts, although I think it should be upgraded.”Read the full statement. With the Washington Blade promising to show up to Frank's LGBT DNC fundraiser, taping all who attend the boycotted event with their cameras, donors are dropping like flies. Tsk tsk, Frank. This statement isn't going to help.
“It was my position in that conversation with the reporter that the administration had no choice but to defend the constitutionality of the law. I think it is unwise for liberals like myself, who were consistently critical of President Bush’s refusal to abide by the law in cases where he disagreed with it to now object when President Obama refuses to follow the Bush example. It is the President’s job to try to change the law, but it is also his obligation to uphold and defend it when it has been enacted by appropriate processes. It would not be wise, in my judgment, for those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or who sympathize with the fight for our rights, to argue for a precedent that says that executives who disagreed politically with the purpose of the law should have the option of refusing to defend it in a constitutional case.”
John Avarois, an attorney who writes at America Blog, had a few choice words of reaction, saying, "Our senior most gay member of Congress actually said that had Obama argued in court that DOMA is unconstitutional, that would be akin to George Bush not going to court to, for example, get a warrant to spy on Americans. Get it? Defending gay people is like spying illegally. But comparing us to incest and pedophilia, using what I'm told was pretty much the original brief the Bush administration used against us years ago, is somehow a sign that we're better than the Republicans - by repeating their arguments in court."
John also wrote an amazing summary at Salon.com about what lead up to the LGBT population feeling betrayed by the Obama Administration, titled "President Obama betrays the gay community: We supported you. Time to live up to your promises."
In it, he writes:
The president would like us to believe that he's awfully busy being president, and if we only wait a little while longer, we'll get our rights. Of course, the president isn't too busy to stab the community in the back by continuing the military discharges, defending DOMA, and comparing us to pedophiles. (On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs was given a chance to repudiate the DOMA brief's language about incest and pedophilia and would not.)Many others have chimed in, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
When, Mr. President, will be a good time to set my people free? When will the leader of the free world get a breather, a presidential timeout as it were? (And I thought this was the administration that could walk and chew gum at the same time.) Are we really to believe that 2010, a congressional election year, will be any more timely than today? Or 2011, the beginning of the presidential primaries? Or 2012, with a congressional and presidential election? There is quite literally no time like the present.
ACTION: So what can we do to keep the pressure up on Congress and the Administration to give us our federal rights (other than sitting around and griping, which I admit, I'm good at)?
- Tell the President and Congress to DUMP DOMA! Our allies at the People for the American Way have had this form up for awhile, but let's flood it now with messages to our leaders to take action against this discriminatory law. And a big thanks to our allies!
- Hate Crimes against LGBT has skyrocketed. URGE Congress to pass the Hate Crimes Bill by signing Change.org's petition.
- Contact Congress and demand ENDA be passed so the whole LGBT population can work without the fear of being fired from their jobs just because they're LGBT. Also, check out SharedAgenda.org to learn more.
- Sign the Courage Campaign's Don't Ask Don't Tell petition to the president urging him to end this law that is far from supporting our national interest.
- If you are interested in organizing federally, a big opportunity is coming in October with the National March for Equality, where grassroots representatives from all 436 congressional districts (who are chosen locally) will come together to network and strategize on how to organize not only to gain federal rights, but to pool resources for major local battles ahead, such as in Maine and California who have referendums on marriage equality coming up. Find out more at NationalEqualityMarch.com.
Let's not stop now. We have a lot more to accomplish.