For the first time in this nation’s history, a seating US President has made one of the most profound civil right stand for Gay Rights supporting Same-Sex Marriage publicly.
Amen and thank you, President Obama!
One day after North Carolina voters went to the polls and passed a referendum, Amendment One, that made it impossible for same-sex couples to get married or have a right for civil unions, President Obama made a courageous announcement about his evolving views on the issue openly supporting same-sex marriage. In an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama expressed his long standing support of the LGBT community and his continues commitment to ensuring that all Americans have equal rights without exception whatsoever.
Transcript below the fold…
I have to tell you as I said I have been going through an evolution on this issue. I have always been adamant that Gay and Lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally…and that is why in addition to what we have done in this administration — rolling back Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so that outstanding Americans can server our country whether its no longer defending the defense against marriage act which is trying to federalize what historically has been a State law. I’ve stood on the side of broader equality for the LGBT community.I hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought civil unions would be sufficient that was something that would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements that we take for granted and I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word marriage was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.
I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together; when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.
President Obama indeed has been a champion for LGBTQ community and this announcement is another A’s to the many list of accomplishment that is often overlooked but worth a reminder to make sure that Americans don’t forget the progress that has been made in the last three and half years because of the Obama Administration. I think it is important to highlight how much this Administration has been a champion on LBGTQ issues and ensure that the many important achievements are not buried so below I have compiled a list of what I think are important LBGT accomplishment that shows the evolution of President Obama’s decision to today’s historical position in openly supporting same sex marriage.
The Obama Administration accomplishment on LGBTQ Issues:
- Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
- Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
- Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights.
- Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation’s largest employer)
- Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act and while more funding is needed per the 2012 proposed budget, an increase of $80 million to domestic and global HIV/AIDS programs committed
- Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover Gay employees taking unpaid leave to care for their children of same-sex partners
- Lifted the HIV Entry Ban.
- Implemented HUD Policies that Would Ban Discrimination Based On Gender Identity
- Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member
- Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so)
- Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept LGBT relationships from being counted
- Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims
- Repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) Discriminatory law.
- Declared DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional and stopped Defending In Court
- Endorsed a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of gays and lesbians around the world in an efforts to make it a worldwide policy.
Not only our President has evolved on the issues that affect many LBGT Americans but America has evolved too. The pace of social change is moving in the direction of embracing equality for all faster than most think and according to a NY Times article:
…about 47 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, compared with 43 percent who oppose it, according to the Pew Research Center. The 26-point swing in just a decade is a far more rapid change in public attitudes than on past social issues like interracial marriage. And more so perhaps than with race or gender, attitudes on gay rights seem likely to continue changing, given the broad acceptance found in polls among younger Americans, who will make up an increasing segment of the populace.
…and then we have Mitt Romney who on a Fox affiliate KDVR-TV said the following about Gay marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples:
“Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” Romney told KDVR. “My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.“
Personally, I smell a backlash on Romney’s campaign for promoting discriminatory law that disenfranchise the LGBTQ community. On the contrary, I see President Obama in the books as a man of history for years to come for making one of the most fundamental equal right stand setting a precedent that will remember him as a man of courage.
Bravo, Mr. President!