Guest Blogger

Obama guest post: A Call for Full Equality

Filed By Guest Blogger | November 03, 2008 9:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, civil rights, gay rights, guest post, LGBT community, LGBT rights, Obama and LGBT rights

[EDITOR'S NOTE:] Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama guest posted at Bilerico Project to explain his support for LGBT civil rights. This post was originally published on November 10, 2007; it seemed appropriate to reprint it tonight, the eve of the presidential election.

Obama Guest Post.jpgOver the last several weeks, the question of GLBT equality was placed on center stage by the appearance of Donnie McClurkin at one of my campaign events. McClurkin is a talented performer and a beloved figure among many African Americans and Christians around the country. At the same time, he espouses beliefs about homosexuality that I completely reject.

The events of the last several weeks are not the occasion that I would have chosen to discuss America's divisions on gay rights and my own deep commitment to GLBT equality. Now that the issue is before us, however, I do not intend to run away from it. These events have provided an important opportunity for us to confront a difficult fact: There are good, decent, moral people in this country who do not yet embrace their gay brothers and sisters as full members of our shared community.

We will not secure full equality for all GLBT Americans until we learn how to address that deep disagreement and move beyond it. To achieve that goal, we must state our beliefs boldly, bring the message of equality to audiences that have not yet accepted it, and listen to what those audiences have to say in return.

For my entire career in public life, I have brought the message of GLBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones. No other leading candidate in the race for the Presidency has demonstrated the same commitment to the principle of full equality. I support the full and unqualified repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples. I will also fight to repeal the U.S. military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, a law that should never have been passed, and my Defense Department will work with top military leaders to implement that repeal.

As President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples - whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. I will also place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. I have supported fully inclusive protections since my days in the Illinois legislature, when I sponsored a bill to outlaw workplace discrimination that expressly included both sexual orientation and gender identity.

That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of GLBT equality to people who are not yet convinced.

That's why I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I reiterated that message in the speech announcing my candidacy for President. Since beginning my campaign, I have been talking about GLBT equality on the stump, from rural farmers to Southern preachers. Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say in return. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all GLBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work that we need to do if we are going to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

The American people have been poorly served by two terms of an administration that seeks to manipulate us through fear: fear over national security, fear over immigrants and fear over gay and lesbian couples in loving relationships. Americans are yearning for leadership that will put an end to the fear mongering and instead begin empowering us once again to reach for the America we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of GLBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that appeals to the best parts of the human spirit, rather than the worst. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

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I'm getting up at 5:30am tomorrow morning so I can be at the front of the line when the polls open. :)

Already voted early so im just waiting to see who wins!

My information is that Blacks in California are turning out in record numbers to vote, 90% for Obama and 90% YES on proposition 8.

Is there even exit polling out in CA? I can't find any.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 4, 2008 6:06 AM

Those are ‘unlikely’ figures. No results will be published by the California Secretary of State until after the polls close at 8PM, PST. I lived in LA for twenty five years and followed the election eve results of various and sundry anti-gay and anti-union initiatives very closely and that was always the norm.

It may be even later since voting is expected to be huge in California, with about a 30% larger turnout than normal.

As for the premature results I could believe a vote of 90% for Obama among African American voters, it a completely understandable, if also completely wrongheaded solidarity vote.

But I doubt that we’ll see anything like a 90% vote for the bigoted prop. 8 in spite of Obama’s openly bigoted ideas about same sex marriage. That would mean that the whole GLBT population voted against it and all the straights voted for it. It’s not likely at all and the polls say the same. More than unlikely it’s just downright laughable. Some one in the news room at the Australian Broadcast Corporation must be drunk. Very drunk.

CNN predicted that in some precincts here in Georgia, they will have a 96% of the African American registered voters turning out to vote. That is damn fantastic.

I had major knee surgery Friday, and I'm not supposed to be on the leg at all. It hurts like heck.

I don't care. I will be at the polls during the midday hours (likely the slowest times, so I don't have to abuse my poor leg too badly). I have waited for this election for 8 years now. It isn't just Obama: it's the opportunity to get rid of Mitch "The Crossdresser" McConnell (the Sen. Min. Leader), and make sure my votes for great candidates from President down to School Board and City Council, are placed and counted. Woe be to any election official who questions my right to vote - I will have my passport, motorcycle endorsement, drivers' license, Visa, etc. Question me, will ya?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 4, 2008 5:34 AM

Obama’s post is the political equivalent of whispering slick nothings in our ear. He wants to become president and he’ll say whatever it takes. LBJ did the same, saying that he’d save us from that evil warmonger Goldwater, and immediately after his election escalated the invasion and attempted occupation of Vietnam.

But most of all he reminds me of Clinton, a sweet talker from way back. (Just ask Monica.) Bill Clinton was a real charmer who made vacuous promises (like those in the post above) and then gave us DADT and DOMA. Clinton also posed as a “friend” of labor but rammed though NAFTA and deregulation. He was a “friend” of peace who murdered half a million or so Iraqi kids.

I hope Obama's 'god's in the mix' bigotry doesn't screw us in Arizona, California and Florida. Those are the only important races tomorrow; the rest is just McCandidate vs. BKandidate. I'll pass.

"Monica?" Bill, I know you will be doing your best to be the gay wet blanket on this day, but I think most people will just ignore you. At the end, you will have to spend the next 4 years bitching and moaning, as Obama makes your life better. I will be smiling each time I see you trying to poo-poo the world. I hope you have fun today. I will.

Monica (?) Don’t worry, be happy. Obama’s going to win big but when he begins betraying his constituents, and he’s a Democrat so what else can he do, then they’ll turn on him. Then it’s the Lefts turn. We’ll organize them.

I’ll remind you about your comments from time to time, and then I’ll be speaking about you, not another Monica.

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

Frederick Benjamin Elliott | November 4, 2008 6:59 AM

How was Clinton responsible for the murder of half a million or so Iraqi kids? George W. Bush maybe? but not Clinton.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | November 4, 2008 8:47 AM

Bill Perdue/Larry Craig in 2012. You heard it here first....and last.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 4, 2008 9:46 AM

Bitter sectarianism and personal attacks are the last refuge of losers.

The Democratic Party is extinct, but as I keep pointing out, some of it's apologists aren't bright enough to know it. I don't mind waiting until it dawns on you.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | November 4, 2008 10:59 AM

Jeez.....Lighten up a bit, comment was a spoofing reference to my prior satirical nonsense on this site concerning improbable folks running on the same ticket, although I can see how it might have looked as if I had you and Larry running against each other in a future year. But then I guess I'm not really certain who the "you" is in your comment. I don't think I've ever commented one way or another about the Democratic Party.

Gosh, my bad. OK, if you say so. But my reply stands.

Sheila Coats | November 4, 2008 1:11 PM

This is why I like him so much. This is why I have voted for him. He has stepped out of his comfort zone many times for LGBT especially the other day on Prop. 8 in Ca. I think it is time we should start stepping out of our comfort zone. So many of us talk to the choir and the rest of the nation isn't educated. There are some you just can't educate but I believe that the majority can be.