Monday, June 29, 2009

Marking Stonewall in the White House

Today, the Obama white house hosted a commemorative event for the GLBT community (or at least its leadership) in honor of Stonewall.

From the NY Times: and Andrew Sullivan who quotes the whole speech .
" And I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago."....

I know that many in this room don’t believe progress has come fast enough, and I understand that,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s not for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago.

“We’ve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration....

Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open. For if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who don't yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters -- not yet....

The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you -- or, for that matter, I -- (laughter) -- would be standing here today. (Applause.) So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress -- step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.

It's a great speech. But at this point, I'm of the viewpoint that Talk Is Cheap. From the Times:

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, an Air Force officer who is facing expulsion proceedings after someone informed his superiors that he is gay, attended the reception as a guest of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which is challenging the policy. Colonel Fehrenbach said he introduced himself to the president after Mr. Obama spoke.

“I explained that I’m being thrown out as we speak, and that there was a sense of urgency for me,” Colonel Fehrenbach said. “He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘We’re going to get this done.’


Марко Фризия said...

I am an Army veteran and a gay man. The loss of an experienced and well-trained officer Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach will hurt our national security and military readiness. It is also a waste of our tax dollars. Not only is DADT a bigoted policy, it is irrational when the USA ejects so many qualified and honorable servicemembers to satisfy the homophobia of religious fundamentalists who (generally) refuse to enlist. We have lost the equivalent of an entire division of servicemembers under this awful policy (equivalent to the loss of the 101st Airborne Division of roughly 13,000 troops). We can't sustain losses like this with two wars going on. I hope the president "gets this done" sooner and not later.

IT said...

I agree, Marko. To throw away the massive investment in a qualified officer like Lt Col Fehrenbach is amazing. Yet they are relaxing standards so that felons and gang members can join the military because recruiting is so difficult! Better a gangbanger than a gay man? It's ludicrous.