Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Proclamations of GLBT support

Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama both acknowledged the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and delivered proclamations of support of the GLBT community. (Click on their names to read their statements.)

Now, don't get me wrong; I like Clinton and Obama a lot and feel that they are our best hope for civil rights equality... but not for marriage equality.

Remember that when both were campaigning last year and were asked directly whether they supported same-sex marriage, both said no. VERY disappointing. Yet in June of this year, the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, both of them suddenly gush with appreciation over the accomplishments and struggles of the GLBT community, and pledge their support.

Their support of what? Civil rights that do not include marriage, which allow us to remain second-class citizens?

Although I want to, I'm just not sure I'm buying it.

"I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security." - Barack Obama

"As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected." - Barack Obama

"I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead." - Hillary Clinton

"We are grateful for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees in Washington and around the world. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide." - Hillary Clinton

"Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world" - Hillary Clinton

In the quotation above, notice that it is NOT the example set by the United States, but rather, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the US that gives hope. In other words, the gays are doing the work while government officials stand by and applaud their fight.

I'm not cynical by nature, but it almost seems like Clinton and Obama simply decided to capitalize on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall for a "feel good moment" by paying lip service to the gays without really committing to do anything.

I realize Obama has only been in office 5 months and his plate has been full with our country's economic crisis, so I'm cutting him some slack for now. But last years' campaign speeches and this week's Stonewall speech have created some large and necessary expectations of him.

Imagine how devasting it was for Lt. Dan Choi and Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. Choi was recently discharged from the military and Fehrenbach most likely will be too, due to Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT). Both had long, distinguished careers of medaled service to our country that were ripped away from them due to nothing more than the fact that they are gay. Obama could have stopped this, but didn't.

If you were Secretary of State or President and you did nothing to stop these DADT dismissals, wouldn't you be just a tad bit embarrassed to use the 40th anniversary of Stonewall as an opportunity to pledge your support of the GLBT struggle for equal rights?

Its time for action, people.

Crush du Jour: Reece Karena


Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

completely agre that it's time for Obama to put his money where his mouth is. DADT is an afront to gay and lesbian soldiers and it needs to be ended. The majority of American support getting rid of it. Obama has a huge amount of capital. He could get rid of that innane policy and it would cost him nothing.

Bob said...

Brazilliant post, Mark.
I agree all the way.
I want him not just to do something, because I know there's a lot to do, other than work towards equality. But I'd like him to at least says something.
Iowa? Silence.
Prop H8 upheld? Silence.

Howard said...

Indeed, the silence has been deafening from the administration. Promises were made during the campaign, and votes were cast. Yet I still wait to see if this the change I can believe in.

cb said...

I know the gayz are upset with Obama right now. But personally I'm more worried about ending the war, rebuilding global relations, and getting out economy out of the dumpster.

So I'm willing to cut himsome slack on the gay rights issues which are sorts smaller potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

Steven said...

I totally agree and Obama's inaction to date speaks volumes. By Executive Order, Obama can lift "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but says he prefers to do it by consensus with Congress. What happened to his spine?

Beth said...

while I'm kinda new to the GLBT movement...I totally support it. and I think Obama WILL do good....we just have to give him some time. But believe me, I feel your pain. It was only about 40 years ago that I couldn't even marry my husband....while I know it's not the same thing.....I totally support you, cuz I love ya, and you deserve to be as miserable married as I am! ;)