Thursday, June 18, 2009

Obama Tosses Gays A Bone


As we've been seeing lately-- and talked about Monday-- more and more gays are growing disgruntled with Obama. It's not on the same level as Zionists-- who now routinely claim they voted for McCain and talk about how Obama will be a one-term president and how Israel can just work with Russia until there's a President Willard or President Palin-- but it's getting there. Obama has been disappointing a lot of constituencies that helped elect him, in fact-- people unhappy with Bush-like arbitrary anti-transparency procedures, people who were serious about ending Bush's wars, people who expected real leadership on health care reform, people who believe in the rule of law and in accountability for criminal behavior (regardless of social or economic status), and, the gays.
Team Obama keeps telling lesbian and gay Americans like me to be patient. If we just wait a little longer, administration officials whisper to us lovingly (and out of earshot of the media), after the White House finishes with healthcare reform and getting the troops out of Iraq, your time will come. In the meantime, cheer up-- we put a gay band in the inaugural parade!

Everyone loves a parade, but we don't like being betrayed. And while gay and lesbian Americans were initially willing to cut our new president some slack, the president's now-clear reticence to follow through on even one of his many campaign promises to the gay community has put the Democratic Party on the precipice of an ugly and very public divorce with this once-solid constituency.

During the presidential primaries, then-candidate Obama promoted himself as the biggest defender of gay rights since Harvey Milk. He would be a "fierce advocate" for our rights, he promised, and he even out-gayed Hillary Clinton: telling gay and lesbian voters that while she was for a partial repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he'd get rid of the whole damn thing.

Early yesterday, bloggers got a fact sheet from the White House about their much-trumpeted initiative to shut gays up with some bullshit sop. It isn't like they agreed to stop kicking gays out of the military-- he is the Commander-in-chief now, not Bush or Cheney or even President McCain or President Nelson or President Blue Dog Caucus-- or even abolish the execrable Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In an Oval Office event later today, President Barack Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination. The Memorandum follows a review by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management ant the Secretary of State regarding what benefits may be extended to the same-sex partners of federal employees in the civil service and the foreign service within the confines of existing federal laws and statutes. 

Over the past several months, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Secretary of State have conducted internal reviews to determine whether the benefits they administer may be extended to the same-sex partners of federal employees within the confines of existing laws and statutes. Both identified a number of such benefits.
For civil service employees, domestic partners of federal employees can be added to the long-term care insurance program; supervisors can also be required to allow employees to use their sick leave to take care of domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children.  For foreign service employees, a number of benefits were identified, including the use of medical facilities at posts abroad, medical evacuation from posts abroad, and inclusion in family size for housing allocations.
The Presidential Memorandum to be signed today will request that the Director of OPM and the Secretary of State act to extend to same-sex partners of federal employees the benefits they have identified. The Memorandum will also request the heads of all other executive branch departments and agencies to conduct internal reviews to determine whether other benefits they administer might be similarly extended, and to report the results of those reviews to the Director of OPM.
The Memorandum will also direct OPM to issue guidance within 90 days to all executive departments and agencies regarding compliance with, and implementation of, the civil service laws, which make it unlawful to discriminate against federal employees or applicants for federal employment on the basis of factors not related to job performance.

This is all old wine in a new bottle with a nice pink bow on it. The gesture is an insult and these clowns better get serious or the gays will fraternizing with the elderly Zionists in South Florida.

As usual, Obama's words were inspiring and uplifting. We need more than that though. These were his remarks at the signing of his memorandum:
Well, today I'm proud to issue a presidential memorandum that paves the way for long-overdue progress in our nation's pursuit of equality.
Many of our government's hard-working, dedicated, and patriotic public servants have long been denied basic rights that their colleagues enjoy for one simple reason-- the people that they love are of the same sex.
Currently, for example, LGBT federal employees can't always use sick leave to care for their domestic partners or their partners' children. Their partners aren't covered under long-term care insurance. Partners of American Foreign Service officers abroad aren't treated the same way when it comes to the use of medical facilities or visitation rights in case of an emergency.
These are just some of the wrongs that we intend to right today.
In consultation with Secretary of State Clinton, as well as OPM Director John Berry, my administration has completed a long and thorough review to identify a number of areas where we can extend federal benefits to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service and executive branch government employees.
I'm requesting that Secretary Clinton and Director Berry do so where possible under existing law-- and that the heads of all executive departments and agencies conduct reviews to determine where they may do the same. 
Hundreds of Fortune 500 companies already offer such benefits not only because it's the right thing to do, but because they recognize that it helps them compete for and retain the best possible talent-- and we need top talent serving their country right now more than ever.
Now, under current law, we cannot provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
That's why I'm proud to announce my support for the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, crucial legislation that will guarantee these rights for all federal employees.
I want to thank Representative Tammy Baldwin, who is behind me somewhere-- there she is, right there-- for her tireless leadership on this bill and in the broader struggle for equality. I want to thank Senator Joe Lieberman-- Joe is here-- as well as Susan Collins for championing this bill in the Senate; and Representative Barney Frank for his leadership on this and so many other issues-- in fact, this is his second trip to the White House today.  (Laughter.)
It's a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step. Among the steps we have not yet taken is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe it's discriminatory, I think it interferes with states' rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it.
We've got more work to do to ensure that government treats all its citizens equally; to fight injustice and intolerance in all its forms; and to bring about that more perfect union. I'm committed to these efforts, and I pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come.



At 7:05 AM, Anonymous flounder said...

One of the worst things to do would be to start running gay policy via executive order, so gays have to wonder what their civil rights are every 4 or 8 years. Congress needs to step up...I know, that is a common theme.
That said, that DOMA filing by Obama's DOJ was terrible. The fact they didn't just fire all the Bush appointees and clean the swamp out was too cute by half, and really the problem IMHO.

At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

"The fact they didn't just fire all the Bush appointees and clean the swamp out was too cute by half, and really the problem IMHO."

It was also predicted by many of us who saw this as yet another lamentable attempt at "bipartisanship." Sort of like keeping half the barnacles on your ship-of-state when it's being overhauled, because you don't want to upset them too much. So the Obama administration is now discovering they have a lot of Bush mines primed in their midst, from people whose educational experience was at schools that valued religious fundamentalism more than legal training, ethics, or experience. Great.

At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

By the way, gay friends are telling me that they are starting a campaign of writing to Obama to request their donations back. That of course won't work, but I can't help thinking it will hit him exactly where he and the party are most sensitive, given that they're political animals: in their wallets.

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2012, if Obama is the Democratic candidate, will people really stay home, or vote for one of the other parties and turn the White House back over to whatever neo-nazi, crazed Born Again the GOP decides to nominate, therby ruining any chances to make further changes......President Palin? As a doctor once told me, ya can't have a baby with one big pain. Things take effin' time.

At 3:13 AM, Blogger repsac3 said...

Not to go all pc, but what's the deal with that bullshit wingnut propaganda picture?

Obama's blowing it on the gay thing (& too many other areas) so far, and --while I'm still willing to cut him a little more slack, taking more of a Human Rights Campaign approach-- I can appreciate that some aren't, and those voices are important to hear, but this "enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing (like appropriating a wingnut propaganda picture, which is more'n'likely more harmful and offensive to gays than to Obama, anyway) isn't the way to go.

At least one of their nuts is citing this post (& particularly diggin' that picture being posted here) as proof that the right will rise again, or whatever...

(And the "Zionist" thing? Dude...)


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