Obama Talks ‘Equality for All Citizens’ in Bin Laden Address

Of note at the end of Obama's announcement last night:

Binladendead Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country. And the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete but tonight we are once again reminded that Americans can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history. Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people. Or the struggle for equality for all our citizens. Or our commitment to stand up for our values abroad. Or our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Yes, we can.


  1. crispy says

    I think you’re reaching a bit to see that as a pro-gay comment.

    That said, I do think it’ll be interesting to see how Obama “evolves” on domestic issues such as health care and gay marriage now that he’s all but assured he’ll be re-elected in 2012.

  2. Paul R says

    It was written perfectly as a political statement, in that it can be interpreted in many ways. It can easily be read as a pro-gay (or any minority) statement. It can also be read as a statement on human rights more generally. And in other ways.

    Its inclusion seemed slightly out of place, so there was clearly some reasoning behind it.

  3. Kevin says

    I don’t think that’s reaching… the president knew this would get a lot of air time… and planting the seed now so it can grow and bloom in his next term is perfect.

  4. Joe says

    I totally saw that too.

    Obviously it’s just a general statement of his values, but the fact that it was so prominent in this speech about a war is just another way of him telling his critics, that his vision and goals for this country (which are evolving) will be achieved.

    Bush never would have spoken about “equality” – it’s important that Obama did so even in this speech that was about one singular issue.

  5. Disgusted Gay American says

    OBama will do or say NOTHING substantial for LGBT people until AFTER the 2012 election…this is obvious.

  6. says

    It’s not “reaching” at all. Obama is already the most pro-LGBT President in American history. I think it’s rather obvious to everyone without a bowl of chips on their shoulder that he does indeed have a “roll-out plan” for Equality. You know, little “awakenings” and “realizations”.

    Term 2: Equality. I have no doubt in my mind it’ll happen. Term 2. It could very well even be FEDERAL.

    Obama is a smart man, and he knows how history works, and he knows how he wants to be remembered for his role in American history. The world only spins forward, and Obama knows this.

    When I saw this address, and his “Equality” line, I instantly knew he was talking about US. Not just ‘the gays’, but (as Harvey Milk so eloquently put it The US’s.”

    Term 2, folks. Our time.

  7. AJ says

    I heard it too. Not looking at any nay-sayers comments as message boards make me loony. GO OBAMA!

  8. Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com says

    Apparently dear Andy has fallen into a vat of Kool Aid and can’t get out. And, “Little Kiwi,” let me give you a little reality check/history lesson: NO ONE would be more critical of Obama’s backtracking and betrayals of his campaign promises than Harvey Milk. What promises?

    “Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership.” – Barack Obama, Job Application, February 28, 2008.

    How do I know Harvey wouldn’t just be sitting around like a silly school girl convinced it’s just a matter of time before that cute but silent boy in Math class calls her for a date? Because this is what Harvey said about a previous President:

    “I’m tired of the silence from the White House. Jimmy Carter: you talked about human rights a lot. In fact you want to be the world’s leader for human rights. Well, DAMN IT, LEAD! You have the choice: HOW MANY MORE YEARS? How much more damage? Do you want to go down in history as a person who would not listen, or do you want to go down in history as a leader?”

    Let’s look at the statement some of you think has a hidden meaning only dogs, excuse me, gays can hear:

    “…Americans can do whatever we set our mind to….the struggle for equality for all our citizens.”

    FACT # 1: NO gay rights issues has MORE public support than job equality. As far back as 2002, 86% of Americans approved; now it’s nearly 90%. So WHERE’S “the struggle”? Yet Obama has done NOTHING to keep his promise to “place the weight of my administration behind a fully inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Ya wanna simply blame Congress? See “leadership” above.

    FACT # 2: In the meantime, Obama refuses to even comment on the proposal given to him when he first took office— that he issue an Executive Order “that would bar the federal government from doing business with companies that don’t have their workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity” similar to the one President Johnson issued in relation to race, color, religion, sex or national origin prior to the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s now the 2nd quarter of Obama’s THIRD year in office, but when his Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about it a month ago he could only stutter, “I don’t have a — I’m not going to speculate about what measure he might take.”

    FACT # 3: Both as a candidate and President, Obama has repeatedly said that DADT “weakens national security.” Yet, to this day, even as we wait for the repeal bill to be actualized, he refuses to use the unequivocal powers Congress gave the President in 1983 in the form of federal law 10 United States Code 12305 to “suspend ANY provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, OR SEPARATION applicable to ANY member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States.” That law has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and only a couple of Presidential Executive Orders have ever been reversed by Congress. Even with the Republicans controlling the House, reversal requires a two-thirds’ supermajority vote in both houses. Where’s the “struggle”?

    FACT # 4: There was no functional reason why Obama could not have “certified” the Congressional repeal bill in December he said he was waiting on. If he had, even with the 60-day wait period, “open service” would have been legal two months ago, the investigations of gay troops that are STILL going on would have been stopped, and Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt wouldn’t have been another gay American killed in Afghanistan while having to hide in the military closet because Obama still refuses to ring the bell of Freedom for even those gays willing to die for the freedom of others.

    The most optimistic estimates now are that the ban will not be lifted until at least the third quarter of Obama’s third year in office despite that fact that Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin said IN JANUARY:

    “The Pentagon could easily repeal the ban TODAY if there was the POLITICAL will. [Army Chief of Staff Gen. George] Casey in particular is leaving soon and doesn’t want to be known as the Army chief of staff who let gays in on his watch. THE FOOT-DRAGGING IS NOT ABOUT SOME SINCERE OR LEGITIMATE SENSE THAT THE TROOPS NEED TO BE TRAINED ON HOW TO DEAL WITH GAYS; it’s because they don’t want to be around when the policy happens.” – Washington Blade, January 6, 2011.

    FACT # 5: About that bill—in 2007, Candidate Obama said: “As president, I will work with Congress and place the weight of my administration behind enactment of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act [MREA], which will make nondiscrimination the official policy of the U.S. military.”

    Not only did he NOT really work with Congress about any repeal bill [Sen. Carl Levin said a week before the final vote that Obama was still not helping.], he allowed his Secretary of Defense to force our allies in Congress to gut the bill he’d promised to fight for:

    “Pelosi said the House WEAKENED ITS REPEAL LANGUAGE TO MOLLIFY THE WHITE HOUSE. …Military leaders REFUSED TO ACCEPT LANGUAGE THAT WOULD BAR DISCRIMINATION, so the clause was dropped.” – The Huffington Post, – June 3, 2010.

    Thus, even when he finally does certify, NOTHING will prevent discrimination against gay service members in assignments, promotions and demotions, etc. Nor in regard to those benefits for gay military partners that even the Pentagon admits are NOT barred by DOMA such as the very crucial “military housing.”

    SLDN and others have formally asked Obama to issue an Executive Order at least for their “job protection.” Result: nothing but excuses.

    FACT # 6: The worst part of the gutting of the MREA is that there is NOTHING in the bill passed to prevent a future Administration from bringing back the ban in the Pentagon policy form it had for half-a-century before DADT that resulted in the discharge of some 100,000 gays. Nor even for a future Congress to bring it back. One thing that could prevent that would be for the Log Cabin Republican ruling to be upheld. BUT rather than abandoning their defense in court as the Administration finally did regarding DOMA, they are continuing to FIGHT the ruling—that is, continuing to fight AGAINST equality for gay service members because a few Pentagon bigots are slow to change.

    So, please, spare us the Sunday School girl swooning over things he MIGHT have intended. Even if he was referencing LGBT equality, too, he has proven again and again that WORDS alone mean nothing. Just ask the some 700 gay service members kicked to the curb since he was sworn in.

  9. plaintom says

    Words have great meaning to this man, this line was included for a purpose. This was a very important speech and had to be carefully vetted through multiple stages from the writers to final political advisors. I believe He is planting a marker.

  10. says

    hey, Michael@leonardmatlovich.com , I’m sure you’ll be able to answer this question directly and without evasion: who did you vote for in the last presidential election?

    just curious. since we’re trying for a dialogue of honest.

    Whom did you vote for in the last presidential election?

    Just for clarity.


  11. says

    And understand I make my comments as a proud gay CANADIAN – from a country that has allowed its LGBT citizens to serve openly in our militaries for nearly twenty years.

    I see how the US works, or rather tries not to work, and I see the game-playing that passes for politics.

    I understand it. I don’t like it, nor do I approve of it, but I *do* understand it.

  12. Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com says

    I voted for Barack Obama, and I will again—however much I wish it were a Democrat who didn’t so often needlessly turn his promises into mere smilefucking.

    Or to put it in your terms, plays games that aren’t NECESSARY to play as I documented repeatedly above.

  13. r says

    thanks kiwi. we americans need to be reminded often, unfortunately, of how backward the US is compared to Canada regarding equality

  14. Phil says

    @ Michael Bedwell,

    You would do well to stay clear of female-related metaphors like “silly school girl”, “Obama girl”, etc. Men such as Carl Levin and Patrick Murphy have been front and center in the fight for equality. Evaluating their record, or Obama’s, calmly and fairly is not an indicator of being effeminate.

    You continue to believe the evidence-free, impossible to prove, pointless “Hillary would have been better” line. This might be an indicator of…um…let’s not go there, OK?

  15. says

    My partner and I both caught it too. When President Obama said that line, we both looked at each other and smiled. Despite the cynicism by those who expected Obama to wave a magic wand and make equality for GLBT Americans an overnight phenomenon, this President IS on our side. In his second term, he will do wonders for our community. Mark my words on that. But, if we don’t stand behind him and get other’s to do the same, he won’t have a second term to accomplish that.

  16. says

    Thank you for your honesty, Michael.

    I remain puzzled as to how the US political system works. It has ALWAYS puzzled me. It puzzled me when I read about the long slow road to racial integration, it has puzzled me with its “HealthCare for those who can afford it” mindset, it has puzzled me with what passes for “news” on “news networks” and it has puzzled me with its court system which seems to give emotional OPINIONS more weight than FACTS.

    I’ve lived in the US for three years now, I’m heavily involved in LGBT Activism and Human Rights issues. But I remain stunned by this system, which seems inherently designed to slow progress as much as possible.

    There is so much about this country that I love, and there are people here who’s resilience moves and inspires me, but I cannot help but look at it as a whole and think “how on earth can a country so great have so many people in it who not only do nothing, but work to set the country back a few decades?”

    Whether it’s the Uncle Toms of GOProud and GayPatriot, who cut off their balls and do not fight for Equality, so that their bigoted parents will tolerate them, to the black-tie gays who sit patiently sipping cocktails while the working-class queers take it to the streets, I’ve been stunned by the lack of passion to FIGHT for what we all deserve.

    I know we Canadians don’t have a worldwide image of being fighters, but we are. And check out our latest election, things can change.

    All the best, my brothers and sisters. Obama 2012.

  17. Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com says

    @ Phil: Spare me your reality-denying, puerile Political Correctness. Any objective behavioral study would demonstrate that the majority of “little school girls” are more likely to react emotionally immature than the majority of “little school boys.” That is NOT to say that females are genetically inferior, which they most certainly are not. But it is a reflection of the way, at least in America, they are TAUGHT to be. Deal with it.

    Obama’s record is the record. And, no, I will not play your Stockholm Syndrome-like game. Anyone “calm” in the face of all of the FACTS that I listed—none of which you offered any evidence to dispute—has an agenda in opposition to LGBT equality.

    No, I cannot prove that Hillary would have been better. But I have proven—or one should say Obama has proven himself—that I was right about him.

  18. Phil says

    @ Michael Bedwell,

    I’m not trying to be politically correct about girls vs. boys. I’m noting your obsession with calling anyone who disagrees with you effeminate. You do this in post after post. Projecting maybe? When you insult people, as you do *constantly*, it only shows the weakness of your arguments.

  19. Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com says

    No, Phil, in addition to continuing to deny typical child development reality, and misusing the terms “effeminate” and “name calling,” you wrongly assert that one could not simultaneously “name call” AND have invincibly strong arguments. Or put another way: as you’re incapable of introducing any counter evidence to the FACTS re Obama I outlined, in a combination of childish frustration and an attempt to change the subject from Obama to me—aks “shooting the messenger”—you’re simply resorting to sticking out your tongue and making noise.