Barack Obama | Gay Rights | News

White House Explains Changes to LGBT Commitments on Website

Yesterday, our reader Sean Chapin alerted me to the fact that a long list of commitments to LGBT issues on the White House site had shrunk to a fraction of its size. Joe.My.God reported on it as well. He received a letter from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Director of Communications Inga Sarda-Sorensen who contacted the White House regarding the changes.

Whitehouse She wrote: "I wanted to let you know that Rea Carey contacted the White House directly about the issue today after you alerted us to your post. Rea was told that they are changing the White House Web site to turn it into a more governance-focused site to reflect progress, as opposed to a campaign and transition site. They said they have taken out many such points throughout the site (not just on LGBT policy issues) as part of this changeover, and are apparently modifying the site over the next few weeks. We will be keeping an eye on it, but if you see changes before we do (or a lack thereof), please let us know. And thank you for calling this to our attention."

John Aravosis notes change in language regarding military gay ban from repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to change 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'...

The language revision is troubling. We certainly hope the LGBT issues "progress achieved" section gets filled out more in the months to come.

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Comments

  1. Sucks to be called to the carpet on account of the promises you make.

    Posted by: Marc | May 1, 2009 11:36:51 AM


  2. Uh, I'm sorry, but the old statement had a lot stronger language of support. Perhaps he foresses LGBT rights being a big issue in the reelection campaign. The the Don't Ask Don't Tell change is a total back-peddle. "He supports changing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way" vs. "Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell" Change it how?

    I like him, but his LGBT support is kinda BS.

    Posted by: JM | May 1, 2009 11:44:51 AM


  3. Why does this not surprise me?

    Posted by: Jim/Charlotte | May 1, 2009 11:46:17 AM


  4. BULLFUCKING SHIT!!!

    "civil unions" and 1000+ rights are still lamely "supported" but repeal of DOMA is gone!

    It explicity talks of "changing" DADT NOT REPEAL.

    All references to AIDS are gone including the previous intent of fighting for gay-positive AIDS education.

    10 paragraphs have been reduced to 3 SENTENCES will "action verbs" changed to the meaningless "supports."

    The childish Rea Carey can apparently still be found rolling on the ground and speaking in tongues whenever Obama's name is mentioned but anyone not still brainwashed will see this for exactly what it is: proof that the former, self-described "fierce advocate" for gay rights has shelved them behind the Puppy Chow.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | May 1, 2009 11:50:05 AM


  5. Doesn't suprise me, Obama has always been lip service to gays. He will only take action if he thinks everyone else will take action on it. He doesn't stand in front in this issue. The rewrite is just giving him more cover.

    Posted by: kujhawker | May 1, 2009 11:51:13 AM


  6. And you are surprised, why? No great shock, make promises you plan on never keeping, get the votes, kick the fags to the curb. OPEN YOUR EYES..... This administration is not a friend to the GLBT community. At Least with the previous bunch of liars, we knew where we stood.

    The entry wounds where in the front with Bush, not in the back.

    Posted by: HA! | May 1, 2009 11:55:36 AM


  7. Um...y'all bitch-and-moaners got anyone else in mind? Anyone else who could actually get elected? *Waiting*

    Posted by: clint | May 1, 2009 12:05:14 PM


  8. " At Least with the previous bunch of liars, we knew where we stood."

    Which liars? BushII? Clinton? Bush ? Reagan? Carter? Ford? Nixon? Johnson? Kennedy? Stevenson? Truman? Roosevelt?


    Stevenson? Wishful thinking!

    Political realism, gay people. There will be nothing "daring" happening on GLBT issues until a second Obama term happens. (I don't think The Matthew Shepard Act & ENDA are that "daring" & controversial and they will happen in the first term). A little political savvy would have created more realistic expectations. Sometimes you get a great surprise. Lyndon Johnson gave a great surprise to my people in 1965....it could happen, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 1, 2009 12:16:26 PM


  9. @ Clint

    EXACTLY!

    Posted by: Sean | May 1, 2009 12:16:29 PM


  10. If this is truly a reflection of the Obama administration's true commitments (or lack thereof) regarding so many LGBT issues it is very sad indeed -- and he should be called on it immediately & loudly.

    Posted by: robertmalcolm | May 1, 2009 12:33:05 PM


  11. And this is a surprise how? Democrats do this all the fucking time. Use us to get elected and then backtrack once in office. But we will support him again without question.

    Posted by: John | May 1, 2009 12:40:07 PM


  12. Dear God. And still the excuse makers persist.

    When his language was considered wishy washy before the election, we were assured by these people that secretly he was super pro-gay, but that he had to hide it a little to get elected. Wink wink.

    Now he's even rolling that back. Wow.

    I have a suspicion that what Derrick from Philly just suggested will be the new mantra of the excusers -- that now we have to wait for the SECOND term for the "real" pro-gay Obama to come out and do anything worthwhile.

    Fuck that shit.

    If you're counting on anything resembling equality from a man who bows before the King of Saudi Arabia, you're in for a disappointment.

    Posted by: paul c | May 1, 2009 12:42:14 PM


  13. Derrick,

    You're right of course, but i would add one caveat to that

    As I stated at a couple of other blogs already, we need to hold our gay organizations which are funded by us and report to us (exclusively) accountable. They need to report us and to do so honestly.

    We also need to hold our elected officials accountable too but we do need to remember that the gay community (by and large) is not their only constituency.

    But we CANNOT allow our elected officials to treat us as scapegoats or as bargining chips.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | May 1, 2009 12:42:22 PM


  14. So many bitter pantsuit sniffers and McCain voter up in here. And so many professional victims!

    All the issues/policy material that went up on the White House site during the inauguration was cut ’n' pasted from Obama's campaign site. As such, it was heavy on specific promises and broken up into pages for virtually every constituency.

    Since then, the White House web team has undertaken a wholesale revision of that section of the site to reflect the fact that Obama is no longer a candidate; he is governing.

    To that end, they've eliminated many of the constituency-based pages. The LGBT page is gone entirely as, I imagine, are pages that existed for other voter groups during the campaign. For the most part, the pages that remain are geared toward issues or policy areas (Civil Rights, Education, Defense), rather than specific groups. Only 3 groups still have their own pages on the Issues section of the site: Women, Veterans, and the disabled (under the heading Disabilities).

    It is clear that the language on the White House site has been changed from firmer promises ("repeal") to softer policy-speak ("supports," "opposes," "will fix"). That's what happens when the realities of governing set in. It also reflects the fact that on most issues, including most of our own (ENDA, DOMA, DADT, UAFA, hate crimes), Congress must first enact the legislation before the president can sign it.

    Now, you're all welcome to complain that there is no longer a freestanding LGBT page. You can also lament the switch to softer language. And you can and should ask why there is no longer any mention of DADT.

    But in your criticism, you should also recognize the context of the changes to the web site, the fact that LGBTs have not been singled out for this editing, and the fact that changes to the Web site do not in any way reflect changes in Obams's policies.

    Obama made several promises to the LGBT community during the campaign. They can all be found in his open letter to the LGBT community of February 2008:

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/alexokrent/gGggJS

    And he can and should be held accountable for all of them.

    And, in case you didn't notice, Obama made good on one of those promises this week when he issued a statement urging both the House and Senate to approve the pending hate crimes legislation.

    It's kind of sad that, in the minds of so many here, that achievement pales in comparison to the fact that the policy section of the Whit House Web site has been edited in a way that reduces the acreage devoted to LGBT concerns.

    Posted by: 24play | May 1, 2009 12:42:30 PM


  15. Ah well - he's still better than all the alternatives, but it was nicer believing there was a chance that he cared more than it seemed.

    Plenty of champions left at the state & international levels, so having someone at the top who does nothing is progress over someone who actively opposes.

    Posted by: PM | May 1, 2009 12:44:43 PM


  16. ... a couple of days ago "we" found it was very disappointing that the hiv travel ban was not lifted yet. Some blogger called "us" bitches and found some explaining words that the White House needed to appoint an official to lift it. Well, well... I think all fits together very well.
    Now we get luke warm commitments and political sell offs.
    "We are to busy caring about other things... LGBT issues have to wait."
    Now or never - political majorities can shift in less than 2 years!!!

    Posted by: in Germany | May 1, 2009 12:56:21 PM


  17. change is technically a more correct term for what needs to happen to DADT. simple repeal would revert back to the way things were beforehand. (ironically, DADT made things worse by putting a target on gays and giving an official process to get rid of them.) I understand the need for holding politicians accountable, and the pressure needs to remain so that equality is furthered. I just don't think we should declare all hope lost when he hasn't pursued our entire agenda in the first 7% of his presidency

    Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2009 12:59:08 PM


  18. 24Play

    BUT,

    The language has changed on DADT from "full repeal" to "changes." That's seems pretty significant.

    Having worked in government myself, of course I know that these changes happen all the time. But on DADT specifically, what does this change in language mean? It would seem to suggest something short of "full repeal." And now I want to know what that something is.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | May 1, 2009 1:00:14 PM


  19. "Change" "Repeal". To me its all semantics. What other than allowing gay men and women to openly serve in the armed forces would "changing" DADT be??? It's pretty black and white.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 1, 2009 1:15:01 PM


  20. i hope this is not what it appears to be. A typical politician.

    Posted by: banshiii | May 1, 2009 1:28:52 PM


  21. It's still early in his administration, and Obama could yet give a nice surprise. Maybe not until his second term (if he gets one). But if I had to guess (don't yell at me, it's just my guess) the gay issues will be more majorly taken up by a future president, and that's when a majority of states have gone with same-sex marriage.

    Posted by: JT | May 1, 2009 1:38:22 PM


  22. A website is not a position paper. Calm down, people.

    Posted by: Mike | May 1, 2009 1:40:43 PM


  23. Yo, let's hold him and his administration to account. I never believed that gay rights were his priority which is why we have to make it politically expedient that if he doesn't step up to the plate, either in incremental steps or in leaps and bounds, then we're bit going to give him or those he supports a free pass.

    Posted by: mikey D | May 1, 2009 1:40:55 PM


  24. It's also worth noting that the promises regarding HIV/AIDS policy were deleted. I hope it won't be too long of a wait before we see progress on policy for LGBTs and HIV/AIDS.

    Posted by: Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. | May 1, 2009 1:43:42 PM


  25. Re: Brian In Texas

    Well - trying not to be too paranoid - "changing" could potentially be somthing like excluding specialists from DADT.
    As in not discharging valuable translators but keep the good-old-boy brigade happy by 'not letting limp-wristed sodomites loose in the shower block'.

    Logically, failing to repeal something that is wrong can only lead to perpetuating existing wrongs or crafting new ones.

    Posted by: PM | May 1, 2009 1:45:08 PM


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