John Shields

The Obama Administration, The Democratic Party, and Civil Rights

Filed By John Shields | June 16, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, hate crimes against LGBT people, New York Times, Obama Administration, same-sex marriage

I once wrote an article about being overwhelmed by events, and how the LGBTQ community needed to take into account the realities on the ground while also shaping the "news cycle" to our advantage. Boy, was I naive.

In the article, I argued that not everyone lives in New England, federal laws affect everyone, and the "sexy" issue of gay marriage was sucking the life out of every gay-friendly piece of LGBTQ legislation coming out of most capitals, including America's very own capital - the much maligned city known as The District of Columbia.

And then along comes President Obama's Department of Justice - arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act is not only just fine and dandy, but insists it is reasonable for states to favor "opposite-sex" marriages because they are "traditional" forms of WHATEVER.

I'm no legal expert, so I'm going to let the experts do some of the talking while I go bang my head against the wall. From today's New York Times op-ed pages:

The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits. The administration needs a new direction on gay rights.

I still contend that hate crimes legislation, slowly winding its way through the U.S. Congress (and now an amendment to a Tourism bill~!) is more important for every American than the "sexy" issue of same-sex marriage. I still contend that ENDA should be enacted and DADT repealed THIS YEAR, not sometime in the fuzzy math of the future.

But talk about being overwhelmed by events...

In just the past two days, our nation's capital has went from RuPaul, Martha Wash and Capital Pride to a smackdown on LGBTQ issues. From the D.C. Board of Elections just saying NO to a proposed voter referendum suspending recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere to the allegations that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he does not have ANY senator willing to sponsor the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - this town is hitting the ceiling on the perceived betrayal of the Democratically-controlled executive and legislative branches of government.

Can you say "close our purse strings" to the Democratic Party, the Obama administration and any and every senator in every state? Oh yeah - except the tax-paying residents of our nation's capital which don't have any voting representation in Congress - YET.

I'm going to go bang my head against the wall some more, as I have more important things to do than watch this administration rip out our gay hearts and serve them to us on a platter. As the New York Times editorial says at the end:

But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.


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Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 16, 2009 4:05 PM

Thats what happens when you vote for the lesser bigot.