Barack Obama | DOMA | Gay Rights | News

White House Staffers Admit 'Frustration' on Slow Gay Rights Progress

At an American Constitution Society panel at its convention Friday night, White House staff secretary Lisa Brown and Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain said they understood the "frustration" over the administration's sluggishness on LGBT rights.

Brown Said Klain: "I hope next year when we have this conference and that question gets asked, it doesn’t elicit the same kind of applause that it elicited this time — because I hope we have more progress, more things to show for. And I hope the kind of applause it elicits a year from now is applause about the accomplishments we’ve made and the progress we’ve made in the ensuing year."

Brown also said, regarding the DOMA brief, "There’s no question, personal statement, that there were some cites in there that should not have been in there."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. With regard to this post, it would be helpful to know more about the speakers and the context of their comments. That is, are any of them LGBT? Why was this panel being held?

    Posted by: Chuck | Jun 22, 2009 1:21:35 PM

  2. Really? I mean, really? I keep hearing people from this administration say how deeply everyone feels about these issues, I keep seeing a lot of hand wringing, I keep hearing about how things are (slowly) moving in the right direction. Again, I ask, really?

    The Justice Department - OBAMA'S Justice Department - couldn't have made the DOMA brief any more disgusting and off-the-mark if they had argued that gay men waste sperm cells so in essence they are committing murder to half-a-human life or something equally ridiculous. Compare the DOMA brief to the only positive thing to come out of this administration in terms of gay equality (not rights, folks, equality...if you believe he are asking for any more than anyone else has got, you must be a retarded Senator from Pennsylvania...) which was pot-shotting a few rights for government same sex employees. Now they get side by side parking instead of tandem. Not really, but it's inconsequential and only done to throw us off the scent of our own blood being poured out by lack of leadership from a man who happily took our money and made lots of promises. Telling me you "look forward to working with Congress" on the repel of DOMA and DADT is akin to saying, "Not my problem, be mad at them." Is the President or a clerk at the DMV? It's bullshit. It's equality, Mr. President, not tags for my car. And speaking for more than a few, I'm angry about your candy-ass tip-toing. Where are your balls to stand up for what's right, fair, and equal? You wouldn't be president today if someone hadn't done it before. Trying being a leader not a politician.

    Posted by: Bart | Jun 22, 2009 1:24:38 PM

  3. I admit I wish things were moving more quickly, but take into consideration they haven't even been in office for 140 days yet and people are demanding ALL LGBT rights be taken up right away. Theres also a tanking economy, 2 wars, north korea, iran, holocaust murders, etc X1000 to think about, too.

    They promise action and I will hold them to it. I'll also hold onto my donations to DNC until then; however, i'd much rather have the situation we are in now than the one we had for the past 8 years.

    Posted by: KFLO | Jun 22, 2009 1:25:38 PM

  4. re: Bart's comments.

    Well said.

    Posted by: Ben | Jun 22, 2009 1:39:48 PM

  5. I wish Andy had posted this part of the article:

    "Greg Sargent reports that the "Obama Justice Department has reached out to major gay rights organizations and scheduled a private meeting for next week with the groups, in an apparent effort to smooth over tensions in the wake of the controversy over the administration’s defense in court of the Defense of Marriage Act.""

    Posted by: Ed | Jun 22, 2009 1:41:28 PM

  6. @Ed

    Everyone who is following this knows that meeting is today at 2. Andy has already posted about that, I believe.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 22, 2009 1:49:51 PM

  7. My take is that they are FINALLY listening because we are raising hell. What they are truly sorry about is losing our money and our votes. Obama apologists can kiss my ass. We were patient when they said they were only is office a few months, but the DOMA brief was the proverbial straw which broke the camel's back! NO JUSTICE=NO PEACE! Say it together now, "NO JUSTICE=NO PEACE".

    Posted by: Leto | Jun 22, 2009 1:53:40 PM

  8. Everyone tends to hold STONEWALL as our "big moment", yet at the most fundamental level it was about BREAKING THE LAW (fighting back violently against the police).

    Today it seems the vast majority of gays get nervous and criticize anyone who even breathes of the idea of breaking the law when it comes to demanding civil rights.

    Do they think STONEWALL would have happened ANY other way?

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Jun 22, 2009 2:05:42 PM

  9. Chitown Kev, I did not see any post or mention of this DOJ meeting. Andy posted about a dinner at the end of the month but I think this is more important and would go along way. Instead of everyone saying that they are just trying to schmooze us.

    Posted by: Ed | Jun 22, 2009 2:06:00 PM

  10. @Ed

    The was posted at America Blog and crossposted at Pam's House Blend. I also read about the meeting at Huffington Post.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 22, 2009 2:25:21 PM

  11. @Ed, my bad that posting is concerned with another meeting but I DID know about the meeting with the DOJ, I believe Lambda Legal and GLAD is meeting with the DOJ concerning both the recent DOJ brief AND the upcoming DOMA cases coming out of Massachusetts.

    Maybe I'm a little better informed than I give myself credit for being, sometimes.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 22, 2009 2:35:08 PM

  12. it was americablog but that was the wrong story. this is the correct one.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jun 22, 2009 2:38:44 PM

  13. Why do these whitehouse staffers keep talking about our sense of "frustration" when they should be addressing our sense of "betrayal"?

    Posted by: RDM | Jun 22, 2009 2:39:41 PM

  14. I get tired of hearing others say that we are being impatient and that they have only been in office for 6 months. I get tired of it because I was one of those people.. We are NOT the most important this this administration has to deal with right now.

    BUT.. when they took action that is directly and overtly negative to the gay community (DOMA brief) then the patience theory goes out the window. If they have time to produce a document that says we are not worth the price, or that we should be considered in the same vein as an Uncle marrying a niece... then they have time to take a stand to encourage repeals of both DOMA and DADT and to apologize for the horrible mistake they made with the DOMA brief. None of which they have done.

    Posted by: Trace | Jun 22, 2009 2:45:49 PM

  15. Obama doesn't care about gay rights, never has. I was at a LGBT fundraiser in Boston and heard Obama's campaign rhetoric regarding DOMA, DADT, ENDA, what a total fraud he is on these issues: He has done nothing except let the Bush-holdover Mormons write anti-gay briefs for the Justice Department.

    Obama does care about gay money, that he loves. So cut off the money and you'll begin to see action.

    At least the Republicans don't lie to your face about supporting gay rights....

    Posted by: Alex M. | Jun 22, 2009 3:07:37 PM

  16. Regarding Chuck's query. No, according to Wikipedia all of frustration was expressed by non-GLBT folk. I'd like to add my amen to the comment that this is not about impatience at this point. This is about backstabbing. The DOMA brief was a renunciation of promises made, pure and simple. Chatting folks up, and begging for patience (and money) is no longer enough!

    Posted by: Jonathan OZ | Jun 22, 2009 3:39:14 PM

  17. have to stop reading these posts because it is bad for my blood pressure. I have never encountered so many political neophytes who are reacting with such a low level of emotional intelligence. Some of you make me as angry as the commenters on the Fox New site in the way you attack our ONLY allies in Washington. The fact is it is okay to have people on the outside screaming, but ultimately it is the people on the inside who will bring these laws home. If any of you think that it is your threats to withhold support and money and not the years of relationship building by HRC and other groups that will get these bills through Congress - you are incredibly naive. I don't have a problem with you speaking your mind, because HRC can use your anger as an effective talking point in their lobbying - but to attack HRC is totally counterproductive. And P.S. I will enjoy watching you Obama haters eat your words.

    Posted by: JimSur212 | Jun 22, 2009 3:52:56 PM

  18. I wish they actually just do something instead of talking -- my God, Congress, the courts, and the Executive branch could all do *something* to eliminate the biggest stains on American policy toward human rights. They could get rid of the discrimination in employment and living encoded in our laws with DADT and DOMA, so why is nothing happening?? Bush is not here, the Republicans don't have a majority, and in theory the Church doesn't rule America, so what in the world is the problem??

    Posted by: x-guy | Jun 22, 2009 4:42:20 PM

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