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President Obama's Failing Grade on Gay Rights


Dan Savage appeared on MSNBC yesterday and told Andrea Mitchell he'd give Obama an "F" on gay rights nearly four months into his first term.

And who wouldn't agree?

Andrew Sullivan also wrote up a scathing piece yesterday:

"I have a sickeningly familiar feeling in my stomach, and the feeling deepens with every interaction with the Obama team on these issues. They want them to go away. They want us to go away. Here we are, in the summer of 2009, with gay servicemembers still being fired for the fact of their orientation. Here we are, with marriage rights spreading through the country and world and a president who cannot bring himself even to acknowledge these breakthroughs in civil rights, and having no plan in any distant future to do anything about it at a federal level. Here I am, facing a looming deadline to be forced to leave my American husband for good, and relocate abroad because the HIV travel and immigration ban remains in force and I have slowly run out of options (unlike most non-Americans with HIV who have no options at all). And what is Obama doing about any of these things? What is he even intending at some point to do about these things? So far as I can read the administration, the answer is: nada."

Watch the MSNBC clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Oh, look. Nobama, our favorite Republicunt troll of last year, has decided to show her face. Wonder how many of the anti-Obama posts in this thread were made by her using various screen names?

    Not Glenn McGahee, though. His racism is his own.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 11:14:10 AM

  2. Eric Payne,

    ENDA is ready to go, with more sponsors than ever. And Pelosi has said its passage is one of her priorities this year.

    The only reason the bill has not been reintroduced yet is because its supporters decided to get hate crimes legislation passed first. ENDA will be reintroduced at the beginning of Congress' fall term.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 11:17:42 AM

  3. @Pissed Off:

    Well said! Obama may be doing nothing, but Republicans ACTIVELY oppress us. Hating gays is basic to the Republican platform.

    I'm pissed at Obama, but he would have to do something pretty fucking evil for me to actually regret voting for him over McCain. And I would have to lose a great deal of brain matter in a tragic accident before I ever thought about voting Republican.

    Posted by: Eshto | May 14, 2009 11:23:19 AM

  4. Jesus Fricking Christ, people! Cut the president a little more slack, okay? He's dealing with two wars and the worst economy since the Great Depression.

    Posted by: seattle mike | May 14, 2009 11:23:31 AM

  5. Well on the bright side, we finally get rid of that hack Andrew Sullivan.....cry me a river, Andy and get the hell out!

    Posted by: BetterDays | May 14, 2009 11:38:00 AM

  6. It's kind of amazing how quickly Andy has turned on Obama.

    It's hard to believe, but I guess that, despite the wall-to-wall, gushing coverage of Obama on Towleroad all last year, Andy never really understood exactly who or what he was voting for.

    NEWSFLASH: You got exactly what you paid for, an ally. Just not one who's stupid enough to repeat Bill Clinton's mistakes and move aggressively on gay issues before he's done the necessary groundwork. Obama is moving ahead on LGBT concerns the same way he defeated Clinton in the grueling primary, by having a long-term strategy and executing it.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 11:50:36 AM

  7. I don't understand why anyone is upset about this. It's not as if it wasn't obvious back during the campaign that the most he'd give us is lip service (and not the fun kind) just like he gave lip service to every other liberal idea. I mean, Jesus...look at his record so far -- no trials on torture; no change in the anti-union attitudes of Washington; the same old "Social Security's in trouble" bullshit; giving the assholes who collapsed the economy a trillion taxpayer dollars while driving companies that actually make things into bankruptcy; the same old same old on Afghanistan; nothing new in Iraq, yet; no investigations of perjury committed by the scum in the Bush administration; the list goes on and on. The only real difference I can see between now and a year ago is he's not Bush and the Republicans are finally revealed to be an organization of criminals. Unfortunately, too few people care and the media's still in the habit of sucking the GOP dick so won't do a damn thing about it. And it was pretty damn obvious this is how things would go way before Obama was elected. So why -- seriously, WHY is anyone surprised?

    Posted by: Kyle Sullivan | May 14, 2009 11:54:52 AM

  8. For those who want to join some fringe candidate, whackjob go right ahead.

    It's amazing how little most people know about the political process.

    The simple truth is that this is not a priority right now, and if most of you were really honest with yourselves, you'd admit the same.

    And Dan Savage and Perez Hilton are leading the charge??

    Should I laugh now or later??!!

    Posted by: Proudly Team Obama | May 14, 2009 11:56:47 AM

  9. From: MBEDWELL
    Sent: 5/13/2009 10:52:08 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
    Subj: Re: Still fired up? Help today. ["by signing up for a monthly contribution of $35...."]

    Oh, I'm definitely fired up! I'm fired up as one of those LGBT Americans whose struggle for equality candidate Obama explicitly and repeatedly promised to "put the full weight of [his] administration behind" only to quickly shelve those promises behind Bo's Puppy Chow.

    And, now, on top of breaking his promise to start working for DADT repeal the moment he took office, he's refusing to stop the bleeding of DADT discharges just because Dr. Congress hasn't arrived, even though legal scholars have demonstrated he has the power as Commander-in-Chief to do exactly that.

    I am not a one issue voter...or donor...but I've been fooled too many times and will not give another dime to anything with Obama's name on it or the Democratic Party until I see ACTION. And that INCLUDES for the 2010 midterms. You think I'm afraid to let you lose? Try me.

    I will no longer enable his and the Party's drunken disregard for my equality.


    From: MBEDWELL
    Sent: 5/13/2009 10:49:13 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
    Subj: Re: Fool Me Twice ["When you make a $15 recurring contribution to ActBlue, you're investing in a government that represents your interests, and isn't hostage to out-of-touch GOP hardliners."]

    Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was not Barack Obama whom you were talking about making us least LGBT Americans whose struggle for equality he explicitly and repeatedly promised to "put the full weight of [his] administration behind" only to quickly shelve those promise behind the Bo's Puppy Chow. ..."

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 14, 2009 12:23:26 PM

  10. Hey for anyone who is considering voting Republican next time, remember, at least the Democrats have not sought to limit/strip away our rights. Inaction may be deplorable on this administration's part, but there exists a fundamentally different ideology between the parties as regards gay issues that we should not overlook. Lets give Obama more time while being more aggressive in pushing forth our agenda and see how things play out.

    Posted by: hiya | May 14, 2009 12:28:29 PM

  11. Andy isn't out of the ordinary on this. Pam @ Pam's Houseblend has also called out Obama plenty. So have Joe @ Joe.My.God. So have the guys at Queerty. So has John Aravosis @ AmericaBlog. I could go on with more GLBT sites displeased over the recent non-developments on GLBT rights from the Obama Administration. Its called holding him accountable for his promises.

    Posted by: Craig | May 14, 2009 12:29:10 PM

  12. I am confused. did obama give a timeline about certain promises to lgbt americans? i can't recall if he did, but i'll let someone correct me if i am wrong

    Posted by: liz templin | May 14, 2009 12:31:50 PM

  13. It's not surprising. We gays are the last frontier of bigotry - it's just not worth the trade-off of losing the whole country to do what's right by us. In about 10 years the dynamics will change - it's not about a Messiah president standing up for us. It's about the bigotry dieing off with the older people ( like over 50 ). If you listen carefully to old people about us, they still think gay is a sex act not a relationship, a life, even an alternate and valid way of living. Now the 30 and under people get it. Not all of them, but a majority.

    History is on our side. The majority of antigay bigotry will die with our grandparents.

    Posted by: Quint King | May 14, 2009 12:38:33 PM

  14. I never saw any of this coming.


    Vote Libertarian next time, like I do.

    Posted by: paul c | May 14, 2009 12:43:30 PM

  15. @Proudly Team Obama - Yes, anyone who runs in a third party is a "whackjob". If you're not a Democrat or Republican, you're a "whackjob". Just like if you weren't a Nazi in 1930's Germany, or a Communist in the Soviet Union, there was something wrong with YOU. YOU weren't the one who was right. Uh huh. Keep believing what you're told to believe and see how far that takes you.

    Posted by: paul c | May 14, 2009 12:48:20 PM

  16. Liz,

    You are correct. None of Obama's promises to the LGBT community involved a timeline.

    It's just a symptom of Sybil Bedwetter-Frances' derangement that she would write, "And, now, on top of breaking his promise to start working for DADT repeal the moment he took office..."

    But perhaps, in her increasingly addled mind, that's how she remembers it.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 12:51:58 PM

  17. "It will start when I take office." - Barack Obama, November 2007.

    Note, NOT one month, two months, three months "after I take office"...NOT "pushed down the road" [Secty Gates on behalf of Obama, March 2009], but "when I TAKE OFFICE."

    Or is Bush still President somehow and Obama and First Preacher Rick Gay = Pedophilia Warren yet to mount the inaugural platform?

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 14, 2009 1:02:50 PM

  18. Obama's full quote, of which I'm sure you are aware, is:

    "America is ready to get rid of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office. America is ready to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. All that is required is leadership."

    The operative word, of course, is "start." And I don't doubt for a minute that work on this issue has begun.

    I also don't doubt for a minute that there will be no visible forward movement until next year, or at least until health care reform is passed.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 1:13:31 PM

  19. Do we need Obama right now>???? NO. Obama wil be the backfire the republicans need.....Funny how Gay activists don't think of this.

    AND NO I wont vote republican....I trust Obama and I know he will do us good....BUT to accuse him of turning a blind eye is stupid....PEOPLE THE GUY IS TRYING TO GET US OUT OF A BAD ECONOMY AND HE IS DEALING WITH TONS OF CRAP....CAN WE JUST KEEP PUSHING LIKE WE ARE DOING...WE ARE DOING GOOD.

    OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA! *Don't be an idiot...get out and it yourself...don't be lazy and wait for someone else to give u equality. damn old farts.

    Posted by: Bosie | May 14, 2009 1:20:32 PM

  20. I agree with George. Democrats should no longer receive our support, votes, or money. If things don't improve before 2012, I really do hope that the glbt community will not support any Democrat or Republican for president. I am ready to support a Green Party candidate, someone who possibly is either a woman or gay/lesbian.

    Posted by: Keanon Pete | May 14, 2009 1:33:26 PM

  21. We've been too scared to "throw our vote away," when in actuality we'd be making a bolder statement by disallowing our tolerance for Obama's and the Dems' inaction to continue. Not voting for a Dem does not equal voting for a Republican as long as you don't actually vote for a Republican, even if on paper it might seem that way.

    Otherwise, the Democratic Party controls our battle for civil rights, not us. The Dems are using this fear that most of us in the LGBT community have of the Republicans coming in and not only squashing the advancement of our civil rights but turning them back on us.

    Now, admittedly, I voted for Obama with the full realization that this is what Dems do, but at that point in time I felt the need to get Republicans out of office was much stronger than any misgivings I have about Dems on LGBT rights. That is no longer how I feel, and I will vote accordingly until our full civil rights are present on the Dem platform.

    Posted by: Bruno | May 14, 2009 1:42:59 PM

  22. "And I don't doubt for a minute that work on this issue has begun"

    Problem is, the statements by the President's men, say it hasn't. Secretary of Defense Gates said it's been pushed down the road; National Security Advisor James Jones told the WAPO that the President had taken his advice to put it off; and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "He will [note FUTURE tense] work with the Joints Chiefs of Staff, the administration and with Congress" ...then he claimed Obama "has continued to work for" legislation without explaining when, in what way, or why that claim contradicts Gates, James, and himself.

    Obama's having said TWO YEARS ago that "work should have started long ago" is, again, only an indictment now of himself for putting it off to the proverbial sweet by and by.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 14, 2009 2:07:20 PM

  23. IS there some issue that Obama has on his plate that you think he should shelve for now and focus on LGBT issues?

    Please tell us what he has on his legislative and governing agenda that the American people should be asked to forego so that he can focus on LGBT issues.

    If people here are one issue voters, so be it. But, I may be a gay man, but I'm also a working person. I'm interested in dealing with the economy, health care and any number of mounting issues.

    Some people are entertaining the delusion that the Democrats ought to sacrifice their entire progressive agenda, for the sake of LGBT issues. I sincerely hope that they remain vigilant against sch absurdities and do the opposite.

    Posted by: Lee Adama | May 14, 2009 2:27:51 PM

  24. What is the only real obstacle to repealing DADT?
    The exact same obstacle Bill Clinton faced 16 years ago: being a new president and, therefore, not having significant support from the military brass.

    How do you overcome that obstacle?
    The only way is to develop a comfortable working relationship with the generals and admirals. You must gain their respect.

    How do you develop a comfortable working relationship with the military brass and gain their respect?
    By showing them through your words and actions that you 1) value and respect the military, 2) make servicemembers' lives and safety a top priority, and most important, 3) by displaying sound military judgment.

    Is President Obama doing these things?
    Yes, clearly. He was very quick to visit troops in Afghanistan. In the middle of the worst recession in decades, he's proposed a budget which slightly increases DoD spending for 2010. Despite feeling intense pressure from his supporters to end the occupation of Iraq as soon as possible, he's being very methodical about the drawdown of forces, in response to input from commanders in the field. He's also shifted money and manpower to Afghanistan, where U.S. forces have been fighting a losing battle due to years of neglect under Bush.

    How do you know Obama's gaining their respect?
    In a dramatic shift, his proposed DoD budget makes deep cuts in funding for high-price weapons systems designed for use in conventional wars and instead directs those funds toward equipment and training necessary for counterinsurgency actions like Iraq and Afghanistan. There has been almost no complaint from the military. With SecDef Gates, he has fired and replaced a number of top generals (the latest being the top general in Afghanistan). Again, there has been almost no complaint from the brass. All indications are that, so far, Obama is developing a very good working relationship with top military officials, especially for a Democratic president.

    When it comes to repealing DADT, the only work that matters is well under way.

    Posted by: 24play | May 14, 2009 2:56:50 PM

  25. This is not surprising. He's filled his admin with Clintonians who've all been shock-therapied into thinking that gay-rights is a politically suicidal move.

    Posted by: anon | May 14, 2009 2:57:49 PM

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