Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Gay Rights | Human Rights Campaign | News

Obama Commits to Work for LGBT Equality, Offers No New Promises

Appearing before a packed and welcoming room at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner in Washington, President Obama delivered a speech strong on rhetoric that did not make any new promises or commitments. In his strongest language to date he promised the crowd, as he has in the past, that he would end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, but did not offer any timeline for doing so.


Obamahrc Obama spoke about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and promised to defend any of his employees from attacks based on who they are, a likely reference to Safe Schools Chief Kevin Jennings, who has been under attack from anti-gay right-wing and religious groups. He also trumpeted recent House passage of a federal hate crimes bill and promised to sign it once it reaches his desk.

Obama also did not directly reference Question 1 in Maine or Referendum 71 in Washington state, two ballot measures that would remove rights from LGBT citizens on either coast, but offered broader promises to fight against the lies and divisiveness of foes of equality, suggesting that religion-based bigotry has no place in the national debate.

The President discussed his commitment to gay and lesbian families, using as an example his invitation to allow them to roll Easter Eggs at the White House.

The most amusing moment of Obama's speech came at its opening, when the President said, "It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga." Finally, the President said that "friends should be able to be honest with one another" and he supports those who hold his feet and those of Congressional leaders to the fire over campaign promises.

What are your thoughts on the speech? 


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  1. @ DR

    So, 450 persons losing their jobs in the military is waaay more important than the hundreds of thousands of Americans who lose their jobs and homes every month!

    And it's also more important than the over 40-odd thousand persons who die every year because they did not have health insurance?!

    Riiiiight.........with ya' now........

    Posted by: CARIBTONY | Oct 11, 2009 2:19:37 PM

  2. Among the many many other things wrong with Solomenese's speech, did anyone else notice that Joe used the male pronoun exclusively to refer to the "individual person"? "the neighborhood he lives in, the school he attends, the factory or farm he works in..." This alone speaks volumes about the insular nature of the HRC.

    God, I bet some lesbians at that dinner were choking on their rubber chicken over that.

    Sorry to post this here, but the thread about Solomenese's speech won't accept (my) posts

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 11, 2009 2:55:27 PM

  3. Look, here's the brutal truth you constant center-of-attention grabbing whores: we're NOT the most important item on this administration's agenda right now; there are far, FAR more important issues like getting the economy back on the right track, passing health-care reform, overseeing the two wars we are fighting, trying to stop Iran from nuking the Middle East, etc.
    So, 450 persons losing their jobs in the military is waaay more important than the hundreds of thousands of Americans who lose their jobs and homes every month!

    And it's also more important than the over 40-odd thousand persons who die every year because they did not have health insurance?!

    Riiiiight.........with ya' now........

    Listen you smug little shit, you don't know the people who have just as much right as you to state their point, without being called 'whores', not that there is anything wrong with being a whore. Better than a Log Cabin, take your shit and be quiet ass wipes like you.

    We all deserve to be heard, especially after he PROMISED he would. So once again, fuck you you tool. As for those others that are 'more important' than us, let them speak for themselves. He gave us his word, and I plan on holding him to it, or he will be a one term hit wonder.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Oct 11, 2009 3:43:01 PM

  4. People who wait patiently get NOTHING. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Keep up the pressure and make him uncomfortable and he might actually do something instead of just talking about it. We will not be satisfied until we actually have some results. Why on earth would be satisfied before then?

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Oct 11, 2009 4:20:13 PM

  5. HAH!!! Y'all are cracking me up with the expectations of the president. As if he can waive a magic wand and suddenly we have new laws.....WHOI!!! My sides!!! You're still sitting down and waiting on one person to do all the work!!!!

    Here's a link to refresh y'all how this country works on a federal level:

    Sure, he can propose certain legislation, but it's up to CONGRESS to enact any new laws or legislation.

    The frustration I read here is misguided towards the president and should be channeled towards your elected representatives - as I clearly said in my first post. He has shown only support for the GLBT community over the past two years.

    Why hasn't he issued an executive order to stop DADT? Methinks it's because he can NOT afford right now to spend scarce political capital in lieu of health care and the economy.

    Take off your nightgowns, put on the heels and DO LOCAL ACTIVISM WORK. Contact your state reps!! ACT NOW!

    When he has solid legislation on his desk and does nothing - THEN he's all yours to crucify.

    Posted by: CARIBTONY | Oct 11, 2009 6:49:27 PM

  6. "Why hasn't he issued an executive order to stop DADT? Methinks it's because he can NOT afford right now to spend scarce political capital in lieu of health care and the economy."

    Are you joking? If he stopped firing people under DADT he would GAIN political capitol since around 75 percent of Americans want it to end. Don't you win points by getting things accomplished that the people want you to do? The only people he would piss off are the wing-nuts that will hate him no matter what. And maybe you apologists that don't seem to want to rock the boat at any cost.

    "DO LOCAL ACTIVISM WORK. Contact your state reps!! ACT NOW!"
    Already doing all that. Many of us on here do. Funny how you guys that don't want anybody to speak up always assume that posting on a blog is the only thing that we are doing to facilitate change.
    Is it because YOU actually don't do those things and are projecting just a little bit?

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Oct 11, 2009 7:28:34 PM

  7. If Dr. Martin Luther King waited to press for civil rights would Obama be president
    The speech got very little coverage in the press and none with Congress. so in the end was another photo op and nothing more Truman intergrated the military by Executive
    Order not an act of Congress so let him end
    the discharges and have the Attorney General fight DADT in from of the Supreme Court as unconstitutional but do something

    Posted by: walter | Oct 11, 2009 7:42:06 PM

  8. Gay lefties make me laugh. Barack Obama does not support our right to marry. End of story. End of sentence. He believes that we should be relegated to a lesser union with our partners. That is why he didn't mention the ballot initiatives in Maine and Washington. Andrew Sullivan is right. HRC is just an organ of the Democratic party, and all of the posters on this site who think that hollow words matter are deluded. I'll take a Republican Mike Bloomberg over Obama anyday.

    Posted by: Stephen | Oct 11, 2009 9:46:55 PM

  9. Obama is the chief executive of the federal government. It would be a breach of protocol for him to comment on state legislative issues. Feds only do that when a state is trampling on federal toes.

    Posted by: Old Timer | Oct 11, 2009 11:01:10 PM

  10. Words do matter, but not as much when the audience, event, and message are the same:

    "All America loses when any person is denied or forced out of a job because of sexual orientation." Bill Clinton @ HRC dinner 11/8/97

    "It is more important today than ever to ensure that all Americans enjoy the rights [of freedom and equality]. When I say all Americans, I mean all Americans." Bill Clinton @ HRC dinner 11/8/97

    Posted by: Emilio | Oct 12, 2009 1:21:20 AM

  11. Even Time Magazine says Obama sucked. But if you want to cling to your tuxedo lapels drunk on champagne and your own hype, thrilled that the president pissed in your direction, you go right ahead.,8599,1929687,00.html

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 12, 2009 3:02:49 AM

  12. On the one hand we HAD a (useless) President Bush who promised anything and everything with no intention of keeping the promises on anything,nor caring anything about us.
    We now have a President who would certainly like to keep the promises he makes if lesser men & women won’t stand in his way.
    The challenge WE now face is doing the serious political work and lobbying to make our dreams come true and block the lesser men & women. It is possible now. It has not been before.

    Posted by: David | Oct 12, 2009 3:57:18 AM

  13. despite all the misgiving and my own caution at Obama's speech, I cannot help but latch onto what he said. I am Ex Navy and a victim of the DADT Policy. My Partner is now in boot camp in his third week going is as a hospital Corpsman. Every waking moment I think about him and as a matter of fact got his first letter today. I just keep reliving the pain over and over again. Being a victim of violence by other sailors for my sexuality and having my career as an Intel Specialist torn from me... I just feel like screaming at politicians and those that take a bigoted stance on the issue. But instead what comes out is a cry of anguish because now those fears and worries I had for myself are now doubled since the very life and livelihood of one who I would die for is at stake. Do these peoples fail to realize how much this hurts? Are people numb to this? Just sweep us under the rug like we do not matter? I'm tired of it! And I'm tired of the infighting by a few prissy self centered queens who are so full of themselves all they do is bring an air of cynicism to every discussion and every issue! Why do you think prop 8 passed? Or why Maine is now facing such trials? Because of the lack of enthusiasm and unity by our community. Because half of you in California did not even care to vote because it wasn't important or because marriage did not matter to you. Or because your happy with your privileged life and yet, your still a second class citizen being thrown under the bus... If we are to achieve anything we need to stop the pointless bickering and have hope! Remember hope? Or did hope die long ago with Harvey Bernard Milk? Was Hope a pipe dream? Was the movement nothing more than a farce? No! I refuse to think that, and this community needs to rally together in one voice and stand for each other! We are all in this together and we all need to put aside our pointless squabble and fight the battles whether they be in the pulpit or the grocery line, and FORCE our elected officials to see that if they fail to act they will not be getting another fucking dime from us or another vote just because there is a big fat D next to their name... I'm sick of it I'm sick of the machine and I'm sick of the hypocrisy. It is time to put up or shut up queer America because no one will give your rights you have to fight tooth and nail to get every scrap and kick and scream and bite to hold on to every thing we have so far!

    Posted by: Jason | Oct 12, 2009 4:37:21 AM

  14. I think Lerner and Lowe said it best :


    Posted by: Chuck | Oct 12, 2009 8:19:08 AM

  15. What cracks me up is how there's this running assumption that we're going to have a democratic house, senate, and white house until 2017. We had this same situation back in 1992 and it lasted exactly 2 years -- in large part because the democratic party was seen by many americans as squandering the monopoly we gave them.

    "It's only been 9 months" -- well, we're about enter the 2010 election cycle and every member of the house and 1/3rd of the senate is going to need a list of accomplishments to start touting to their constituents real soon now. Despite the HRC and other apologists saying, "I'm not going to trot out a list for you", rest assured that come January you're going to need one if you want to win an election in a battleground district. Seems like right now the democrats are hoping that comprehensive health care reform will be the giant bullet point at the top of that list. If they don't come through on that, i fear it's going to be 1994 all over again.

    Posted by: brianna hoffner | Oct 12, 2009 12:43:21 PM

  16. To any poster who suggests we "be patient" I say fuck off. We've been patient for entirely too long. What a load of crap.

    Posted by: Russ | Oct 12, 2009 1:22:40 PM

  17. He's useless.
    he's going to get re-elected, so, what, no action on our issues for another 7 years.

    Posted by: stolidog | Oct 12, 2009 3:26:11 PM

  18. I hope that when the struggle for equal rights IS over, the complainers here will fight just as hard for OTHER causes that ail the world, like Darfur or child hunger, or death from curable disease. It would be such a shame to see all this outrage about injustice end after gay marriage.

    Posted by: Brandon | Oct 12, 2009 4:44:47 PM

  19. Is he turning into a case of the Emperors New Clothes President- he gives great speech but lets have some action- like NOW!!!!

    Posted by: jaragon | Oct 12, 2009 5:41:46 PM

  20. There were plenty of specifics, and even the non-specific lines about talking amongst "friends" were gracious. We want action, but verbal gestures from sitting presidents count, too.

    Obviously he's lacking timelines.
    So why don't we give him a deadline? If he doesn't repeal DADT by June 2010, he should expect the full lampoon treatment at all major Pride parades. Otherwise, he'll wait until it's time to ask for campaign donations.

    But at least the good news is that he WILL repeal DADT. Otherwise it would be his "read my lips" moment, and he knows it.

    Posted by: Steverino | Oct 12, 2009 7:59:11 PM

  21. He knows he has the gay 'elite' in his pocket regardless.

    The Dems treat gays like their bitch, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Say anything to get the vote out, then the cold shoulder, throwing a little meat every now and then.

    And of course Republicans are worse.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Oct 12, 2009 11:57:23 PM

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