Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama Remains Missing in Action of LGBT Issues

Crossposted with Michael-in-Norfolk:

I have taken Obama to task a number of times for his failure to do anything truly meaningful on the gay rights front since his inauguration. Indeed, he has seemed more concerned about coddling and kissing up to vile Christianist liars like Rick Warren rather than take steps to keep his promises to those who helped get him elected.

Now, the New York Times has an article that looks at Obama's failures to support those who supported him other than by occasional lip service. At times I am baffled as to whether the root cause is a lack of courage or whether Obama never truly intended to follow through for LGBT Americans in the first place. Here are some story highlights from the Times:

WASHINGTON — President Obama was noticeably silent last month when the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. But now Mr. Obama — who has said he opposes same-sex marriage as a Christian but describes himself as a “fierce advocate of equality” for gay men and lesbians — is under pressure to engage on a variety of gay issues that are coming to the fore amid a dizzying pace of social, political, legal and legislative change.
Two of Mr. Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominees are openly gay; some advocates, irked that there are no gay men or lesbians in his cabinet, are mounting a campaign to influence his choice to replace Justice David H. Souter, who is retiring. Same-sex marriage is advancing in states — the latest to allow it is Maine. . . . many gay activists, aware that Mr. Obama is also dealing with enormous challenges at home and overseas, have counseled patience. But some are unsettled by what they see as the president’s cautious approach. Many are . . . suspicious of Mr. Obama’s commitment to their cause.
In the words of David Mixner, a writer, gay activists are beginning to wonder, “How much longer do we give him the benefit of the doubt?” Last weekend, Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay issues, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post headlined, “Where’s our fierce advocate?” The White House, aware of the discontent, invited leaders of some prominent gay rights organizations to meet Monday with top officials. . .
Some say change is inevitable, not only for Mr. Obama but also for other Democratic politicians who have embraced civil unions but rejected same-sex marriage. Now that the Iowa ruling has pushed the battle into the nation’s heartland, the issue will inevitably come up during the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential campaign.
For the record, I no longer give Obama the benefit of the doubt. Unless and until he gets some backbone and does something substantive, my operating assumption is that he cynically used LGBT Americans and I have no intention of forgiving him for it either.

Read Unite the Fight's "Obama's Silence on LGBT Rights Will Leave Him Out of History".


  1. i still have faith that Obama will get his act together and will fulfill all the promises he made to the gay community.
    After all, he's only been the president for about four months now, and he's had a lot in his plate, dealing not only with the recession, but trying to get the country together after the state the Bush administration left it in.

    I say give him the benefit of the doubt until at least 6 months have passed, then it is really time for him to either get his act together or face loosing the respect of the people who put him in power.

  2. I shared your patience, but it's quickly dissipating. And 6 months is just around the corner. I hope he does do something by then, if not, I'll be interested to read your comments then. ;)