Joe Mirabella

Why Charlene Strong's Visit With the President Could Change Everything for the LGBT Community

Filed By Joe Mirabella | June 18, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Charlene Strong, gay lobby, gay rights, marriage equality, President Obama, Washington State

ENDA's chances of passing this year are minimal. The LGBT community can still be legally fired for just being who they are for the foreseeable future. Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal remains in limbo. The repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act has not even been discussed seriously in Congress.

Obama certainly has his hands full, but the LGBT community still hopes he can put the full force of his Presidency behind a swift change in law. Some question whether he understands how important his roll in this movement is. That could change very soon. Charlene Strong is scheduled to meet with President Obama on June 22.

Who is Charlene Strong and what makes her so special?

On a personal note, she is a friend. I love her dearly. But you don't need to know her as well as I do to consider her a friend. Her story is so powerful it moved a reluctant Washington State Legislature to protect gay and lesbian families with a limited Domestic Partnership law.

Then, three years later, her story moved Washington State voters to give gay and lesbian couples all the same state rights as straight married couples under an expanded Domestic Partnership law. It was the first time in U.S. history voters approved the expansion of rights for gay and lesbian families at the ballot box.

Her story continues to move people from ambivalence to support. Charlene Strong's message is a reminder to the LGBT community that anything is possible. I have no doubt her story will move President Obama to action.

What is her story? Watch the trailer from her documentary For My Wife:

Charlene is not stopping with the President. She wants the country to hear Kate's story, so Kate's life can continue to inspire understanding and support for LGBT community.

"There is real damage because of discrimination and it will continue without full equality," Charlene said, "Anyone today who is told they cannot be by their loved one's side as they die would explode in outrage."

For My Wife will screen on June 21 in Philadelphia and June 22 24 in Washington DC.


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I saw this and it was a very powerful documentary.

Personal stories are very effective and they're one of the few things that can actually change a mind.

This was a introduction about her and her life, thank you

I don't think it's sure that Obama will actually be at that reception, and if he is I doubt she'll have a chance to share her story. Even if she does, he's already said he support hospital visitation rights, just not anything else. He used to work on Chicago's south side, in the community, and yet he doesn't care about making health care affordable.

Something tells me he's immune to personal stories, as one would expect from someone in that high office.

President Obama - like any president, Democrat Republican, will spend his first term getting re-elected to a second term. My guess is that, with nothing to lose, Obama will move decisively in the beginning of his second term (if we don't all turn against him) and deliver on his promises. Patience is a virtue, and sometimes we are not the most virtuous crowd out there.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 20, 2010 6:59 AM

Bad guess.

Clinton - the original hopey-changey candidate gave us DADT and DOMA in his first term and thankfully forgot all about us in his second term.

With a Clinton clone like Obama the best we can hope for is that we don't get anything as bad as DADT and DOMA.

Patience: A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary" http://www.thedevilsdictionary.com/

Tom Brown | June 20, 2010 2:52 PM

I thought Obama issued an executive order in mid-April to rectify this. Of course, Health and Human Services will take many months to draw up the regulations to implement it. When it comes to gay people, nothing is an emergency -- issues have to be studied and re-studied and litigated, regardless of lives lost, careers ruined and children denied loving homes. No doubt the oil spill will be one more reason why Obama has "too much on his plate" to give GLBT equality some measure of priority.