Barack Obama is now officially the 44th President of the United States! Ding, dong and all that too! The White House website has been updated already to include an ambitious civil rights agenda which includes LGBT folks. Found here, examples are:
- Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
As disappointed as I am about Obama’s highlighting of Rick Warren in the inauguration celebration, I am hopeful that he will pursue what us outlined here. This would be a breakthrough.
No doubt the road will be bumpy, and we will need to keep our eyes and ears open to what is really going on as we get more experience with Obama’s administration. And we have to be ready to shout loudly if the time comes when we’re about to be pushed under the bus.