Barack Obama | Inauguration

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White House Site Updated With Lengthy List Of Commitments To LGBT Rights

Within seconds of President Obama's swearing in, the official home page of the White House was updated with a lengthy list of commitments to further LGBT rights.

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.

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Comments

  1. This is really saying a lot to the LGBT community. It is my most fervent hope he lives up to these promises, only time will tell. All the same, to have this go up on the official White House website is incredibly significant.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Jan 20, 2009 1:17:06 PM


  2. Quite an agenda...here's hoping he can get it done.

    Posted by: ERB | Jan 20, 2009 1:19:16 PM


  3. We just have to hold him to all this, and I think we'll get it all done.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 20, 2009 1:21:25 PM


  4. I hope this comes to pass.

    I doubt that McPalin would have done the same, so at least this is a glimmer of hope considering how crappy it's been for the LGBT movement since the election.

    Posted by: Alex | Jan 20, 2009 1:23:07 PM


  5. I am truly AMAZED by the astonishing list of goals for the LGBT Community CLEARLY and BOLDLY stated on the action list under "Civil Rights" by the new President Obama Administration! WOW!
    I had no idea that this would be so clearly evident. Although these goals remain to be realized, I am already more than hopeful about being recognized as a 1st Class Citizen under the presidency of this revolutionary figure. Please, please, let it be true!!!

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 20, 2009 1:25:48 PM


  6. that's fine, but civil unions do NOT mean equality. never have, never will.

    Posted by: mcfaddin | Jan 20, 2009 1:29:16 PM


  7. Let's get to work.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 20, 2009 1:31:29 PM


  8. As much as I have been an anti-bushie for the last 8 years and pro-Obama now for 2, I need to say this.

    Words are pretty Mr. President, but they must be matched by deeds.

    Do not throw our community under the bus (like Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA) or you will not receive our support in 4 years.

    Best of luck to you, Mr. President.

    Posted by: Darren | Jan 20, 2009 1:35:31 PM


  9. NOT UNTIL NOW DID I FEEL HOPE! I think he might really want to include us.

    Posted by: walker | Jan 20, 2009 1:38:12 PM


  10. We need to prepare ourselves for the ridiculous attacks from those who are hell-bent on religious tyranny, for every single advance listed above will be accompanied by H8, H8, and more H8. Those against us will be FREAKING OUT at the notion that we ARE equal (inside) and we ALREADY DESERVED the rights we hope to achieve long ago. And we need to STOP "protecting" others AND ourselves from the reality of our existence.

    BE NOT AFRAID - BE OUT!

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Jan 20, 2009 1:38:23 PM


  11. Those exact statements have always been on his site, nothing new

    Posted by: Alicia | Jan 20, 2009 1:47:48 PM


  12. More words. Talk to me when you put some skin in the fight. But more important, just do good things for the whole country. That's why I voted, donated and volunteered.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jan 20, 2009 1:48:57 PM


  13. Now that Rev. Warren's uninspired prayer is finally in the dustbin of history, we can focus on the stuff that ultimately matters: the above commitments (imperfect on marriage, yes, but huge progress from where we are now) and making sure that Obama honors these commitments.

    He'll be facing all kinds of political realities that will make it easy for us to be overlooked, which is why it's time for us to be as politically savvy as possible. At least we have an opportunity now, one we never had under Bush, and one we wouldn't have had under McCain/Palin. I hope we can meet the Obama administration halfway and make the best of this opportunity to move forward one step at a time.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 20, 2009 1:49:37 PM


  14. More words. Talk to me when you put some skin in the fight. But more important, just do good things for the whole country. That's why I voted, donated and volunteered.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Jan 20, 2009 1:51:00 PM


  15. Any regular Towleroad reader is aware of my back and forth journey of opinion regarding Barack Obama.

    But despite that, and recent events that only renewed my worst fears, because I remember watching on the evening news the violent attacks on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s on the days they happened, the screams, the blood, the police dogs, the tear gas, the tears, again and again; because I watched the 1963 Great March on Washington and heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech live, and the shattering annoucement of his assassination five years later, I could not help but tear up when a biracial man, Barack Obama, first appeared at the top of the stairs of the Inaugural Platform.

    And far more than the dropping of the G-word in this or that speech, or administration appointments, or the invitation to a lesbian to ride a train, or Bishop Robinson to pray, this symbolic nailing to the White House door—BY the White House—a list of most of what it will take to finally make us first class citizens renews my HOPE about what is to come.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Jan 20, 2009 1:54:45 PM


  16. But he's the first PRESIDENT to post such statements. Let's give him some recognition. He at least seems to want to help. And I'll take civil unions now and marriage later. Things happen in stages.

    Posted by: Puff | Jan 20, 2009 1:55:36 PM


  17. This is outstanding.

    Posted by: Casey | Jan 20, 2009 1:55:39 PM


  18. i find the pessimism of the obama detractors extremely disturbing. i do not think hillary would have posted this list of LGBT rights onto the white house website as immediately as this has been done.

    i am a fighter for LGBT rights. i know what a victory it is for a president to even acknowledge all four letters of the acronym.

    personally, i am offended by the negativity of some of these posts. if you represented the LGBT community, i'd stop all of my work for your rights. you are shrill, weak, bitter, whiny, and in the midst of a temper tantrum. go take a nap, and come back and fight when you feel better.

    this is much work to be done to repair the rights for all citizens of this country and the rest of the world. join in the fight for all, and we will be eventually accepted as equals.

    Posted by: voodoolock | Jan 20, 2009 2:01:40 PM


  19. i find the pessimism of the obama detractors extremely disturbing. i do not think hillary would have posted this list of LGBT rights onto the white house website as immediately as this has been done.

    i am a fighter for LGBT rights. i know what a victory it is for a president to even acknowledge all four letters of the acronym.

    personally, i am offended by the negativity of some of these posts. if you represented the LGBT community, i'd stop all of my work for your rights. you are shrill, weak, bitter, whiny, and in the midst of a temper tantrum. go take a nap, and come back and fight when you feel better.

    this is much work to be done to repair the rights for all citizens of this country and the rest of the world. join in the fight for all, and we will be eventually accepted as equals.

    Posted by: voodoolock | Jan 20, 2009 2:02:51 PM


  20. on a side note...did anyone get as creeped out as me with the way Warren pronounced Sasha and Malia Obama's names? Seriously, I thought he was going to molest them on stage in front of everyone *shiver* such a dirty fucking man

    Posted by: ERB | Jan 20, 2009 2:05:07 PM


  21. what a great day.......... I hope so strongly that it' s a new era for all of us.....let's give him a chance.....

    Posted by: hephaistion | Jan 20, 2009 2:13:21 PM


  22. what a great day.......... I hope so strongly that it' s a new era for all of us.....let's give him a chance.....

    Posted by: hephaistion | Jan 20, 2009 2:14:20 PM


  23. It is great to see these points posted so prominently...

    As I posted in another comment about the inauguration, it's up to us to make sure this happens. We need to constantly be there, making a noise, in the administration's face, so they KNOW that these ideals that they have laid out HAVE To be put in motion. We cannot wait for someone else to step and take action, we need to all be out and proud and hold all politicians accountable to these promises.

    Somehow, my gut tells me we won't have to fight hard to get this done, I believe that President Obama will carry it through! It's a good day! No, a GREAT day!

    Posted by: CK | Jan 20, 2009 2:17:25 PM


  24. It took George Bush months to get a real website up in 2001. This guy really has his act together. He will be a great president -- I am sure. After the darkness of the last eight years, there is some light.

    Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 20, 2009 2:18:31 PM


  25. >>Any regular Towleroad reader is aware of my back and forth journey of opinion regarding Barack Obama.

    We all just chalked it up to age-related dementia.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 20, 2009 2:24:31 PM


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