Bil Browning

Obama spells out LGBT support

Filed By Bil Browning | November 18, 2008 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, gay rights, LGBT community, President-Elect

Obama's website has been updated to include a full civil rights agenda for the LGBT community. It is the most comprehensive and specific presidential agenda in the history of our movement. Check it out after the jump.

Support for the LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

The Obama-Biden Plan

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

* Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

* Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

* Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

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The GLBT agenda is of course good news. I don't want to downplay it a bit.

I do want to talk a bit about the ex-offender agenda. The blurb on the website is short on details which I guess it has to be. I am glad that he sees this as a civil rights issue. Most people unless they have an incarcerated family member or work around ex-offender re-entry issues have no idea how hard it is to "reenter" society after incarceration. It is a veritable minefield for those trying to get back on track. Take something as seemingly simple as an insulin or asthma med prescription. Get released and the system gives you a 30 day supply and a kick in the pants (if that much). You get no counseling on how to apply for services, or even what services are available. While in prison there is not attempt to help inmates obtain even the most basic of documents, i.e. SS Card, Birth Certificate , or state issued photo ID. All of which are required to apply for Medicaid/Medicare funded services.

Please understand, this is not coddling criminals. This is a matter of helping people who have the deck stacked against them to get a fresh start on life.

Thanks for posting this-- I just hope he delivers. Glad to see adoption mentioned in there.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 18, 2008 5:48 PM

From the beginning of his presidential campaign to the end of the campaign and now into the transition, Obama has consistently included LGBT people in his vision for the country.

No other president has been as clear or as forthright about his strong support for LGBT civil rights.

We have an opportunity to make historic gains at the federal level on our issues and we have to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.

no other president except for bill clinton.

because of his failures - multiple failures - obama will have to produce real change for us, not watered down, compromised, half-measures, before he gets any credit.

No, no way, not gonna work. No one can tell us that what all of us saw was an illusion. We don’t believe your denial of Obama’s sorry record of patronizing, open bigotry and pandering to the christian right. And unfortunately for you we have a video history of Obama’s campaign.

Obama’s campaign began with a series of gospel revivals featuring the bigotry of ex-gay Donnie McClurkin. He asked the hymn singing crowd “Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings… God delivered me from homosexuality.”

Here’s CNN’s video of the event, if case you’ve forgotten just how slimy these christian bigots can be, and why Obama’s unceasing pandering to them is so dangerous for us.

For those who followed his campaign closely a pattern developed. He wanted our votes and He wanted bigot votes so every time He got caught pandering Obama issued a ‘reaffirmation’ of his opposition to discrimination. No attempt was made to soften the blows when He expressly forbade mention of our communities or at the convention where we barely got a nod and wink.

Obama’s worst ‘inclusion’ event was at California’s Saddleback church debate. It occurred during the opening rounds of the christian bigots efforts to take back same sex marriage rights. It was at Saddleback that Obama tossed the bomb that ended our chances of winning. AP reported it thus: “Both men said marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Obama added that he supports civil unions for gay partners, which would give them rights such as hospital visits with one another. He said he opposed a constitutional ban on gay marriage, calling the matter a state issue.”

Obama’s patronizing little crumb, an occasional hospital visit, His George Wallace like reliance on states rights and His generous offer of second class civil unions were all but forgotten when His bombshell “god’s in the mix” exploded in the headlines. It gave the bigots the green light to trample our rights and the rest is history. After a late Field Poll showed No on 8 making significant gains Yes on 8 launched a massive campaign of robocalls and TV ads quoting Obama’s bigoted opposition to same sex marriage equality. His campaign “included” us for the last time, making a conscious decision to remain silent. We were left us dangling on a rope.

Please, no more Obama style “inclusion”. We might not survive.

Well one thing that gives me hope is he grew up in one of the most gay friendly states in the country ,Hawaii.
Second he is both black and white.
He seems to have the most integrity of any politician I have ever seen in my I hope we can...

Angela Brightfeather | November 18, 2008 11:53 PM

It's amazing isn't it. Somehow, someway, soneone got to Barack Obama and educated him abut human rights enough so that he understand s the concept of an inclusive ENDA.
Is there any way that we can find out who that person or persons are so that we can rush them over to Barney Frank and Joe Smonese's offices and explain to those guys, ho keep on tellng us radical Tranny activists that we have to educate "everyone in the world" before we can have the same protections as others, that they need to catch up to the new President's ideas about Human Rights?

I'll pay for their plane fare out of my own purse.

There's no issue there that the Democrats haven't tossed under the bus, along with us. If it has to be repealed it's becasue of Clintons betrayal, supported by the vast majority of Democrats. He talked the same line Obama does.

Counting DoMA, DADT, ENDA and the hate crimes bill we’ve been run over by their bus so many times that stigmatic tread marks begin to appear on LGBT foreheads whenever they think about our agenda vs. Congress.

Obama will imitate Nixon and try to win unwinnable wars in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He’ll preside over the biggest economic collapse since Hoover. And he was elected by pandering to bigots. They own him and we’re expedient. His website is hype.

Still nothing in the Obama promise list about extending equal Social Security rights to gay couples. So if you die tomorrow, your domestic partner will not get any SS survivor's benefits. This is at least as important as hospital visitation rights, but I never heard Obama mention it in the campaign.