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.

Comments

  1. JM says

    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.

  2. Leland Frances says

    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.

  3. kujhawker says

    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.

  4. HA! says

    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.

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    ” 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.

  6. robertmalcolm says

    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.

  7. John says

    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.

  8. paul c says

    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.

  9. Chitown Kev says

    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.

  10. 24play says

    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.

  11. PM says

    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.

  12. in Germany says

    … 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!!!

  13. Brian says

    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

  14. Chitown Kev says

    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.

  15. Brian in Texas says

    “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.

  16. JT says

    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.

  17. mikey D says

    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.

  18. PM says

    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.

  19. Chitown Kev says

    The Obama Administration needs to send a spokesperson to speak to our community as well. KO, Rachel, or even Anderson C. (but I fear that Anderson C. will softball questions esp. if the Obama Adm. sends a pretty boy!)

    That in addition to our self-appointed “leaders” having a sit down with us.

  20. AC says

    Mike – Official govt. websites are just that official – that is the official policy. Add to that the fact that this president is all about rhetoric…Does anyone else hear a bus coming?

  21. Julius says

    Gosh, 24Play, ever the consummate Obama apologist. Kudos to you for having the energy to kiss butt for two years, and counting. Wait, don’t tell me, your lips have been surgically attached to his derriere, isn’t it?

    I voted for this man TWICE, at the expense of friendships with two Hillary-loving friends, and even I’m not spooging all over myself after all of that. Get a grip!

    We have been played. Wake up. These “He’s-Still-Better-Than-McCain” or “He’s-No-Bush” memes have exceeded their sell-by dates. He’s exactly like them. Just another politician that speaks through his ass (24Play kissing it and all)

  22. Derrick from Philly says

    “Gosh, 24Play, ever the consummate Obama apologist.”

    He aint apologizing, and neither am I. We’re saying, deal with it, and wait your turn.

  23. JT says

    I just heard the website was restored, with the only change being some language referring to DADT. But I haven’t checked on this myself.

  24. Ron says

    I disagree with those who want Obama to push the gay agenda ahead of everything else. He cannot and should not use his political capital until he has a proven record of success with the critical issues facing the vast majority of Americans. Many African American groups are also “in-line” to hold Obama accountable for the problems facing the black community. However, they get it, it isn’t at the top of his agenda, nor should it be.

    Personally, I think nothing major should be done until his second term. At that point, we can start screaming and yelling, but in 100 days?? I can’t even pretend that makes sense, and neither can most of you.

    And if anybody lost friends because of who they voted for, then they were hardly friends. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  25. Julius says

    Ron, I agree that Obama’s plate is full, with the economy, jobs, health care and people’s finances on top. I began supporting him from the get-go and that support is still there, though it is not as strong. He is the guy I voted for TWICE and I’m still proud that I did. I won’t take them back.

    I am happy for what he’s accomplished in the past 100 days (reauthorizing SCHIP, getting the stimulus bill enacted, passing stem cell research legislation) … but I will not settle for giving him four years to finally address something that he spoke numerous times about during his campaign and quite frankly, cemented my second vote for him.

    Time flies and problems and new issues will crop up (i.e. the swine flu, replacing David Souter, expanding and improving health care, reforming the auto industry, training his dog Bo not to chew his shoes etc.) Like he said back in August 2008, he is totally capable of walking and chewing gum.

    He has an army of people working for him. It wouldn’t hurt him to form a task group to get started on working toward LGBT rights and marriage equality.

    There is momentum now (as archived by someone in an earlier post for just the month of April 2009) across several states. It just needs a strong nudge from the White House. He can do it. He has to. Within his first term.

  26. Oscar in Miami Beach says

    who is surprised?.Obama is as homophobic as the next.When it comes to gays he’s the same as Bush or worse.And THE Michelle is even worse.They lied to gays to get their votes and get in the White House.Now they do not need them anymore so discarting them they are.If you voted for Obama to kick out Bush,well ok.But if you voted for Obam because he was going to help gays you are a FOOL.Obama is no more sympathetic to gays that Gingrish or any other Republican politician.FOOLS all of you that voted for the deciever Obama.I voted for him to kick Bush et al out but with no expectations that the black will do anything for me as gay.

  27. Chitown Kev says

    Thanks for that info JeffNYC

    And Miss Oscar, you know that my gay black Chicago ass ain’t letting that cut slip by.

    Quiet as it’s kept, Obama already pissed off some in the African American community when he declined to attend the UN Conference on racism.

    I can also tell you that Barack Obama never was very popular in the African American community here, many of the old guard civil rights leaders were pissed off and stated so publically. Congressman Bobby Rush even endorsed a lily white candidate in the 2004 Dem primary for Senator, in part, because Barack Obama got “uppity” with his Harvard degreed ass and dared to run against him in the Democratic primary for the 2000 Congress in Rush’s district.

    It’s the only election that Barack Obama ever lost.

    I say all that to say; I have observed Barack Obama long enough to know he is pretty much an equal opportunity pisser-offer.

  28. Leland Frances says

    Yes, but any talk of DOMA repeal is still gone and overall the latest version remains as weak as dish rag soup.

    And isn’t it amazing that we’re still arguing over what he’s verbally smile fucking us about and not united in demanding that he DO something?

  29. ron says

    Obama wasn’t popular with the old Civil Rights/Black Leaders because he didn’t subscribe to race politics. He didn’t frame every argument in terms of his being black, so old heads like Jesse Jackson and the rest of the black politicians in Chicage didn’t want to hear any of it. He’s was a Harvard educated black man without the baggage many black politicians had and he also didn’t cow-tow to any of them. I always applauded Obama for that, because the time for that had passed (or rather, the time for that to be the face of African American politics had passed.

    I stand by what I said before. The rights of gays is a culture fight unlike the fight for civil rights for AAs. I generally believe the two struggles are analogous, at best, 50 percent of the time.

    It is far better in the long run to have marriage pass in as many states as possible until momentum builds, the die hards fall off and the country sees that nothing is going to happen. Then Obama can step in and do what needs to be done. Again, I know many old guards gay types are all about the Act up mentality. But, it’s a new world and this is how it should play out. Step by step.

  30. Chitown Kev says

    Ron

    Thanks.

    I admired Obama for the way he would stand up to the old civil rights leaders and even quite a few African american pastors that were pillars in the AA community here. What disppoints me personally, having observed THAT Barack Obama was that he stopped doing it and courted their votes, instead.

    I understand why he did it. If I were Barack Obama and I were running for the Presidency and I wanted to WIN, I would have done the same thing.

    But I didn’t like that shit (McClurkin, wearing God on his sleeve, etc.) at all.

  31. JT says

    Ron : I so so so agree with everything you say. Only I’m not so sure Obama will be the one to “step in and do what needs to be done.” It will be some President in the future. But, meanwhile, Obama certainly won’t be a detriment.

  32. JT says

    Chitown Kev : Yeah, but imagine how bad it was for Obama having to hear McClurkin saying he wasn’t gay anymore, and having to go along like he believes it.

  33. says

    Derrick:

    You embarrass yourself here and are in full-on, nonsense Obama apologist mode. Those of you who refuse to acknowledge that this is a slap in the face that goes beyond political need look very stupid. I know that if Obama went on a killing spree through the Castro, 24play would still stand in line to eat his shit. I had expected better from you.

    Is it that hard to admit that those of us who have consistently pointed out Obama’s weak commitment to gay issues, his need to sweep us under the table, are right?

  34. says

    Since there’s been little federal progress, there’s little on the federal website.

    Every day that a law exists against us in our own country is a tragedy and insult that we have to rise above.

  35. robert ryan says

    Here we go again! What happened to halting DADT altogether? As for Doma, well we have seen their response-a whole hearted defense of it comparing our relationships to incest ! Clearly this White House can’t be trusted! Pressure needs to be brought to bear.
    I urge all your readers to contact their congressmen and senators,and tell them the time is now to repeal these unconstitutional laws. We should all start an email campaign directed at the White House communications office to let them know we are still here and we’re not going anywhere.

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