Monday, June 01, 2009

President Obama's proclamation of gay pride month
What he said...
"My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, 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. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States."

The official proclamation is great, but I think it highlights Obama's unwillingness to fully commit to the "
equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity" that he goes on to talk about.

Civil unions for LGBT couples (as the alternative to gay marriage) isn't "equal rights for all". If it was, then he wouldn't have to call out "federal rights for the LGBT couples" in the same sentence. It would be implied. Obama is opposed to gay marriage because of his religious beliefs. That's not news. The fact that he can't separate his own religious convictions from his duties as the President of a country filled with people who don't share his specific religious views has always been a big concern of mine. I'm glad that Obama was elected, but I'm skeptical. If his religious views prevent him from passing legislation that would give me equal rights, I don't think he's the great friend and supporter of the gay community that this proclamation suggests.

Why doesn't the proclamation just say, "ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the US Military...and why hasn't Obama done that, yet? Why was he silent on the discharge of gay linguist Dan Choi? Why does the proclamation say, "ending the existing...policy in a way that strengthens our armed forces"? To me, that implies the existing policy will be replaced with a new policy that isn't Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but will still keep gay and lesbian service members from serving openly. He should have said, "ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to strengthen our armed forces". Period. No semantic tap dancing.

If Obama supports federal rights for LBGT couples, why can't I sponsor my Mexican partner for a green card, yet? The Uniting American Families Act would give me the same rights that my three brothers enjoy. They're all happily married to people they love while my partner and I are separated by over 2000 miles, maintaining two households, while our lives are effectively on hold because we can't live in the same country. This legislation would change that, but in 9 years it's never made it out of subcommittee in the house or senate.

Finally, when did the fight against HIV/AIDS stop including the search for a vaccine? Or is that all rolled into "reducing the number of HIV infections"?

The proclamation is further than Bush was willing to go, but it feels as though it's been word smithed to give it a "lavender" veneer while still remaining non-committal on real change. I guess it's an improvement over the silent treatment we've had for the last 4 months.

No comments: