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Capehart: Okay, Obama. Now Let's Have a Speech on Gay Rights

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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-06-09 04:22 PM
Original message
Capehart: Okay, Obama. Now Let's Have a Speech on Gay Rights
This column is a couple days old but I didn't see it posted here yet. Please excuse if it's a dupe.

Okay, Obama. Now Let's Have a Speech on Gay Rights

There has been a growing roar within the gay community about seeming inaction by a man who promised change.

Some activists fume that President Obama hasnt followed through on his promise to repeal the offensive Defense of Marriage Act or muttered a substantive word about the legalization of same-sex marriage in six states. After last night's airing of NBC's Inside the Obama White House interview, in which Obama provided a tepid answer to a question about whether gay and lesbian couples who wish to marry in this country have a friend in the White House, the blogosphere is filling with cries of shameful and no passion, no heart, no real connection to our cause.

Others are enraged by Obamas failure to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military. In his Hypocrisy Watch segment yesterday, MSNBC's David Shuster derided Obama, saying "Here we are, more than four months into your administration and the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy remains in place."

The man who would deliver gays and lesbians to the promised land of full equality is now viewed with suspicion and anger. The sense of betrayal is palpable. But it is a sense I strongly believe is misplaced, especially so early in a four-year term.

What may appear to be inaction on the surface masks a whirl of activity geared toward change. Consider that the administration has been working to get the hate crimes bill passed. Extending domestic partner benefits to federal employees is under consideration. By the administrations count, there are 60 openly gay men and women working for the president, nine of whom have been confirmed by the senate. And a senior administration told me that an openly gay ambassador will be named shortly. And Dont Ask, Dont Tell? It will take a little longer to "bring the military along," the administration official said. But, he added, Obama "has been very clear with the Pentagon that he wants ended."

Still, Obama should be doing more to quell the rebellion. He has proclaimed June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. But to make that declaration more than a token gestures, what he needs to do is deliver an address on gay rights akin to his landmark speeches on the Middle East, national security, abortion and race. Stating clearly that gays and lesbians should and will be able to claim full title to the American Dream, and all its promise, could go a long way.

When I asked the senior administration official if Obama would commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which ushered in the modern gay civil rights movement, he said yes. Then added, "And more than once." Such a speech must be a part of it.

<SNIP>

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2009/06/o...
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Honeycombe8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-06-09 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Next on the agenda is the healthcare reform act. I'm sure they had to
prioritize. The economy and the wars and the terrorist issues just had to be first. Now health care, since they seem to think that the time is now, and if it's missed, the opportunity won't be there again. It's also much related to the economic problems.

They can do several things at once, but they've been juggling these weighty issues simultaneously now for several months. The healthcare bill is supposed to be taken care of by the end of summer, I read.

Everything's important, as is the DOMA and his campaign promises. But there has to be a priority to it all.
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nichomachus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-06-09 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. It's only a freaking speech they're asking for
Five freaking minutes. If he has time to go zooming around town buying hamburgers when he's got a chef in the White House, he's got time to make a freaking speech.

Nobody is asking him to stop working on the economy or health care. He had time to go to Beverly Hills to raise money and joke about gay people. He has time to make a speech in support of them.
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Since you've already written that
Edited on Sun Jun-07-09 10:31 AM by ruggerson
being against marriage equality is just a different view, and not bigotry, I'm really not going to take anything you say on this seriously.

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Honeycombe8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I have never said that "being against marriage equality is just a different view, and not bigotry,"
I have pointed out that a person being in favor of civil unions but not wanting to grant the word "marriage," is a view that a reasonable person can have. I pointed out - and my exact words were - reasonable people can disagree about gay marriage, and neither of the opposing views is bigotry.

But this OP is about a campaign promise and the DOMA.

I have stated that Obama would veto any constitutional ban on gay marriage. And he made a campaign promise about DOMA, apparently. I don't recall that, but I'll take the OP poster's word for it.

This post is about a campaign promise. Whatever that promise is. And it doesn't really matter whether I'M for it or not. I didn't make the promise. I wasn't the one elected. And the facts are the facts: issues must be prioritized. DOMA is not an issue that is critical to the state of the union at this time, as we hover on the edge of a depression.
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Presidents don't veto constitutional amendments
learn how the US government works and then get back to us.

(and no, "reasonable" people cannot disagree about marriage equality. If one is against marriage equality, one is a bgot.)
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Civil unions are not marriage at all.
So, no, reasonable people cannot disagree without being bigoted.

And as far as DOMA not being critical to the state of the union . . . Fuck You.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 07:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. It would certainly be a great thing if he went to a place like Alabama
or Georgia, or Mississippi and gave a speech on the integration of gays into American life, similar to say Hardings in the 1920's in regards to African Americans.
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. His handlers have decided
that this is not something they will allow him to do.
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. Rumor has it the Human Rights Campaign cut a deal with Dems to do the Hate Crimes bill first.
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-07-09 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. whether the HRC or the NGLTF represent gay Americans very well
(and I don't think they do, quite frankly), I think the larger concern is that he has yet to use the bully pulpit in a strong and forceful way, as he promised. I'm hoping it is coming. I'd like to see a major speech given in the deep South that is entirely devoted to equality for gay Americans. My suggestion is that the WH reach out to Lance Black and others to help write it. We know the President can pull it off rhetorically, and it will lay the groundwork for the legislation (repeal of DADT, ENDA) to start moving through Congress.
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