Tuesday, November 18, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama's Plan for Gay Civil Rights

Okay, if you need to get excited about the change coming to The United States Of America, check out this statement at change.gov, "The Office of the President-Elect."

Support for the LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

The Obama-Biden Plan

  • Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

  • Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack 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. Obama 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: Barack 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.

  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

  • Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

  • Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

  • Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

  • Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

  • Wow. If we can get all that accomplished in the next four years, just think what a SECOND term of President Obama could accomplish!

    The above made me feel better, and more hopeful, about the future than I have in days.

    I still feel deeply that we need to get full marriage rights, including the word "marriage," for so many reasons, including the fact that our country doesn't know how to do "separate but equal." Despite that not-quite-far-enough goal, I am delighted to see so many of our Gay Civil Rights Issues make it to the agenda of the incoming President!

    It has been a long time coming.

    Let us hope President Obama is more prepared for the Republican backlash than President Clinton was, and that our hopes are not dashed on the rocks as they were with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and "The Defense Of Marriage Act," both Clinton policies where they cow-towed to the conservative storm reacting to their original pro-Gay civil rights intentions.

    But I believe change is, indeed, coming.

    And it is time, to quote President-Elect Obama's acceptance speech on November 4, 2008,

    If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

    It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

    It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

    We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

    It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

    So let's support and help President-Elect Obama bend that arc of history towards a better day for us Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Americans, too!

    We all need a better day.

    And after reading President-Elect Barack Obama's Plan for Gay Civil Rights, I have to say, my day is already feeling better.



    I found that cool rainbow-change logo at this Proud Parenting website. They didn't credit who designed it, but I thought it was perfect!


    MotherReader said...

    I'm glad you found all of this info and can share it and that you are feeling a bit better.

    I prefer the logo from the Obama site which has the rainbow colors where the red and white stripes are. I couldn't figure out how to grab it though.

    Greg said...

    This is a huge moment in our history. Thanks for publishing. I just started blogging this year and commend you on your efforts to get people to comment! It is a great way to share and create community. Keep up the great work. I enjoy reading your posts.