Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Obama And LGBT Rights

Currently Obama is alone with no one challenging him to the Democratic presidential nominee.  It is no secret that all of the Republican presidential candidates aren't too kindly towards the LGBT community, thus some may argue that we should vote for Obama instead. While he may have ended the horrid Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy, Obama has done little for the LGBT community since he first came into office.

At the outset of his term, the Democratic Party controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. While their main goal was fixing the economy (and rightfully so), repealing the Defense Of Marriage Act which is unconstitutional would have taken no time at all. In a speech given on June 29th of last year Obama stated that the law was unconstitutional and that his "administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts." However, the administration was still enforcing DOMA and is still doing so to this day.

One may be able to make the argument that he changed as last year the administration made an announcement where it was told that the administration would push "governments it assists to offer greater protection to sexual minorities" by steering "financial incentives toward countries and programs that protect rights while expanding efforts to protect LGBT refugees." While this is without a doubt a great step for Obama and the LGBT community, it only highlights the double standard Obama has. He is willing to acknowledge that the community is under threat on an international level but ignores the fact that the community is under attack at home.

In addition to this, in 2008 Obama clearly stated that he believed that marriage was between a man and a woman and that he was "'not in favor of gay marriage.'" So far he has been consistent with those beliefs as he has not proposed a law to Congress that would allow gay marriage, thus it is still up to states to decide if they want gay marriage or not. Yet, there have been a large number of brave states who have passed legislation allowing for gay marriage.

To his credit however, Obama did, via executive order, pass law that guaranteed hospital visitation rights for the partners of gay patients and introduced protections for gay and transgender people against housing discrimination. Yet overall the situation of the LGBT community remains dismal.

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