Monday, March 16, 2009

What Will Obama Do?

Through the Courage Campaign, Cleve Jones has written a letter on whether or not Obama will raise the ban on federal benefits for employees in same-sex relationships, asking everyone to sign a letter to the president to keep his campaign promise:

"I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law." -- Senator Barack Obama, in a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, March 2008

The Letter:

President Obama has a unique opportunity to give hope and equality to thousands of same-sex couples across America.

No matter what happens in the fight to overturn Proposition 8, same-sex couples will not enjoy full equality until the federal government recognizes all of their rights, starting with the repeal of the "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) and the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Right now, the President can take an important first step towards full equality by allowing the same-sex partners of federal government employees to receive health benefits, just like their straight colleagues. Currently, same-sex partners are banned from receiving these important benefits.

As the New York Times reported on Thursday, "two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers." But, citing DOMA, the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges.

President Obama now has a choice -- to uphold the benefit ban or to keep his campaign promise to provide same-sex couples all the benefits that their fellow federal employees receive.

Please show your support for federal same-sex equal rights by signing the Courage Campaign's letter to President Obama. Ask him to keep his promise and allow the federal government to provide health benefits to all same-sex partners and spouses of federal employees:

The right-wing is already preparing to launch a major attack on President Obama over this issue.

Gary Bauer, a long-time leader of the religious right, told the New York Times last week that Obama would "provoke a furious reaction" among conservatives if he does the right thing by reversing the benefit ban. As we saw last fall, the right-wing will stop at nothing to promote inequality.

That's why we need to show President Obama that he has our strong support.

Please sign the Courage Campaign's letter to President Obama asking him to keep his promise and allow the federal govenment to provide health benefits to same-sex partners and spouses of federal employees. And please invite your family and friends to sign the letter as well:

Together, we will ensure that all committed couples enjoy full equality at the state and federal level.

Cleve Jones
Founder, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and historical consultant for the film "MILK"

P.S. Asking President Obama to keep his promise to the LGBT community is the right thing to do. That's why I am working with the Courage Campaign. I believe they understand what it will take to restore marriage equality to California and bring full equality to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people across America. If you agree, please take a minute to sign this important letter to the President:

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