Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Does this take the sting out of Warren giving an invocation at the Inauguration?

President-elect, now President Obama has been taking some flak from the LGBT community for his actions and words about gay rights during the transition period. Perhaps the most controversial was the inclusion of the pro-Prop 8 minister Rick Warren in the inauguration festivities.

It is easy to understand the frustration and doubts those actions caused in the LGBT community and among supporters of equal rights for all people. Balancing the expressions of outrage from some were calls for patience from supporters, like myself, who felt it was unfair to make judgments until Obama took office. Those calls for patience seem to have been vindicated on the day Obama took office.

The Internet savvy Obama team continued to show they are on top of their game when it came to the transfer of power from Bush to Obama. The White House web site ( changed at the same moment Obama took office. What I found on that site gave me great satisfaction.

There is a page on the site that addresses civil rights. On that page is a section dealing specifically with LGBT issues. There are many encouraging subjects listed in that section. I’ve included the complete section below.

Support for the LGBT Community

“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”

— Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma — too often tied to homophobia — that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.

Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

This is no longer a policy position for a candidate. It is a policy statement by the President of the United States. It would have been fairly easy for Obama to delay taking a firm stand on these issues while he dealt with the economic crisis and the war. Apparently he didn’t want to take the easy path when it comes to his fellow Americans.

As I told my son more then a year ago, Barack Obama seems to be the real thing. I hope he continues to reaffirm my faith in his honesty and sincerity.

How do members of the LGBT community view him now?


  1. I think I would have to say that if anyone sees this statement as “throwing the gay community under the bus” (god, I thought we had gotten rid of that stupid cliche in the late nineties) then that person is viewing things through an absolutist straw that is likely to never be satisfied.  

    Let’s be clear about that damn cliche, at any rate.  If I were to “throw someone under a bus” it would mean that I must be dishonest, disingenuous, deceitful, cold, callous, uncaring, selfish, sly, two-faced, conniving, crass and base.  It’s a fun little cliche to throw around (Limbaugh loves cliches, so they gotta be OK, right?) and it (and its ilk) save us all from so many troublesome levels of detail and complexity.  But if we choose to use cliches to prejudge the whole of other people then we need to be clear about what they mean.  If this is Obama throwing the gay community under a bus, then he truly is the most evil and cunning liar alive and should be opposed in every way at every moment.

    Unless I am missing something, though, this is “everything but the word marriage” for gay rights and seems to be exactly what he has been saying throughout the campaign.  While I acknowledge that the word does have some value in itself, I would (and have) argued: that it is a bridge too far for reasons of pure social inertia at this moment; and that – even granting its value – it’s just a word and Progress is more important than Semantics.

    full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples”

    “Full and equal”, sounds like a good place to start from to me.  If that phrase can get into a constitutional amendment then any rule – public or private – that contravened it would die a rapid death on the steps of the courthouse.

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