President Barack Obama promised gay and lesbian voters he would repeal a law banning their open service in the military, would do away with a federal marriage law and would champion their causes from the White House. In his first five months, he's taken incremental steps that have little real effect and left some people feeling betrayed.Amusingly, in a grim way, this "go slow" approach is managing to alienate both sides at once. Remember, for the conservative right, they claim it's about marriage. But it's not. It's about ANY recognition of gay couples. From US News:
But he's still willing to take money from a reliably Democratic constituency — he was sending Vice President Joe Biden to a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Thursday evening with gay and lesbian donors.....
"I don't think it's an appropriate time to be raising money. No one is happy now," said Richard Socarides, who advised former President Bill Clinton on gay issues and did not plan to attend the event. "On gay rights, the country is already in the age of Obama, but he's governing from the Clinton era."
Conservative Christian groups criticizing the president's memorandum extending certain benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees are alleging that the president is approximating the benefits of marriage—that he's basically creating "marriage light." It's an interesting line of argument because polls show that most Americans support benefits for gay partners but oppose gay marriage.Meannwhile, from the NY Times, a note about transgender recognition:
Lawyers for President Obama are quietly drafting first-of-their kind guidelines barring workplace discrimination against transgender federal employees, officials said Tuesday.
From CNN,, on hate crimes legislation (which is currently going nowhere fast):
Attorney General Eric Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday, arguing that the federal government needs to take a stronger stand against criminal activity fueled by bias and bigotry.....
He also sought to assure opponents that such a bill would not allow Christian clergy to be prosecuted for outspoken opposition to homosexuality....
"Perpetrators of hate crimes seek to deny the humanity that we all share, regardless of the color of our skin, the God to whom we pray or the person who we choose to love. ...," he said. "The time is now to provide justice to victims of bias-motivated violence and to redouble our efforts to protect our communities from violence based on bigotry and prejudice."
FromRoll Call, evidence that Congress is noticing:
After five months of virtual inaction on the gay rights agenda, House Democratic leaders on Wednesday met privately to chart out a strategy for advancing the constituency group’s priorities in the 111th Congress.
From the National Review (yes, really!), how the Republicans have lost the marriage argument:
As someone who favors gay marriage, I think this Sanford scandal underscores a central truth. The anti-gay-marriage forces are stuck making a slippery-slope argument when, in fact, we’re already at the bottom of the slippery slope. Here’s a guy, Sanford, who has not just not a moral and religious incentive to keep his marriage vows, but also a political-survival incentive. Yet the public sense of the sacredness of marriage has declined to the point that even he couldn’t do it. How much more could this institution be eviscerated, by letting a tiny, tiny minority of same-sexers join it? (Gays are a small fraction of the population, and the percentage of them who want to get married is a small fraction of the small fraction. The issue is, as the lawyers say, de minimis.)