first step for full federal LGBTQ equal rights

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that he supported the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and called for the repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Since becoming president, Obama and his administration has, for the most part, been curiously silent on the subject, saying little more than, “These things take time.A recent legal brief from this administration’s Department of Justice has merely fueled the fire of those criticizing Obama’s inaction on LGBT issues, especially since the Senior Legal Counsel on the brief received a Distinguished Service Award from Alberto Gonzalez for his work on the constitutional challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

Today Obama signed a presidential memo granting same-sex partners of federal employees some federal benefits. Unfortunately, this memo does not go so far as to grant health or retirement benefits.

Critics of Obama’s LGBTQ inaction are likening it to a token thrown at the LGBTQ community, saying,“Tokens are not enough.”

These critics are correct. Tokens are not enough. While there is no way of knowing for certain, it is very likely that Obama would not have signed the memo had it not been for the recent outcry against his DOJ or the constant pressure from LGBTQ groups and individuals.

However, we also have to recognize that this is a positive first step towards full Federal rights for LGBTQ people. There is still a long way to go and a hell of lot of work to do. It’s unfortunate that Obama needs to be pushed to keep his campaign promises. Yes, he has a lot on his plate trying to fix the extraordinary mess left behind by Bush and Friends. But a simple executive order placing a moratorium on DADT until a full repeal can be implemented would go a long way towards showing that he really is a staunch advocate of full equality.

Still, we must keep the pressure up. Equality is a matter of time – there is no turning back. Obama will see that as well.

Crossposted from SoCal Grassroots: Keeping the Left Coast Blue


  1. In my opinion, Obama is choosing his battles.

    I had an interesting discussion on gay marriage w/ my son’s (who is also libertarian & pro gay-marriage) GF’s mom who is far right conservative – and she actually listened. I could see her biting her tongue. I don’t think I changed any minds but she didn’t jump down my throat either.


  2. I think you’re right, Jeri, he is choosing his battles. I do understand that. And I’m happy that this is one step forward. But while I think that he does want to see equality for people in the LGBTQ community, I also believe he’s letting his own religious views color his movement on this matter – he said from the beginning that he doesn’t support same-sex marriage because of his faith, but he thinks it should be up to the states.

    Seriously, the easiest thing he could do right now that would make the most impact is putting a DADT moratorium in place until a full repeal is possible. But, for whatever reason, he’s refusing to do that. Considering he plans on upping the number forces in Afghanistan (though it is likely those forces will be coming from Iraq as our presence there is drawn down [also, I don’t think we should stay in Afghanistan – why would Americans succeed where, if I remember my history correctly, every other foreign force has failed, going back before England in the 19th Century]), losing more valuable soldiers from the Armed Forces due to DADT is absurd in the extreme.

    Also, it’s good that your son’s GF’s mother is listening. Even if she doesn’t change her mind, she’s letting opposing viewpoints into her brain. That’s got to be good.


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