Many are now arguing that President Obama gas done so much for the LGBT community over the past two and a half years in office which I personally do not agree with. Yes he’s done more than any other president but there is no mainstream effect to the community. Every pro-LGBT change that this administration has made with the Exception of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Law (which now a year and a half later not one person has been prosecuted under) and DADT can be undone by any future President with just a signature and in reality only effects change to a very small percentage of the LGBT community without challenging or changing and anti-lgbt legislation currently on the books. They are all nothing but work around and where there may be many of them, “more than any other President” its certainly a case of quantity over quality.
But what has to be the biggest smack in the face to the Lesbian and Gay Community is President Obama’s ever “evolving” view of same sex marriage and his as of late persistent uttering that same sex marriage is an issue should be handled at the state level is not only cowardly but also dangerous to the lesbian and gay community and the fight for same sex marriage
President Barack Obama didn’t want to say whether he thinks same-sex marriage is a civil right after being asked at a news conference last week. To deny it would inflame equality advocates both straight and gay. To admit it would be an undeniable endorsement of gay marriage as a fundamental freedom that’s protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Andrew Sullivan wrote in a Newsweek/Daily Beast post last week entitled A President, Not a Governor. “Obama’s defense of federalism in this instance is not a regressive throw-back; it is a pragmatic strategy.”
This logic is founded on two misguided assumptions: 1.) That if Obama came out for same-sex marriage, the debate at the state level would somehow grind to a screeching halt; and 2) That Obama’s position exists outside that deliberation, magically affecting neither the content nor the outcome of the debate.
And perhaps most important, this thesis fails to anticipate the presidential effect on a landmark case at the U.S. Supreme Court, an eventuality that could come to fruition as early as next year with the challenge to Proposition 8. As much as we like to pretend that Supreme Court justices render rulings in a bubble, they are in fact no more immune to external factors than state lawmakers are oblivious to the positioning of the highest office holder in the land.
State by state has been the worst strategy ever and for Obama to talk as though he endorses it is not a help to the community and not the “fearless leader” that he pretended to be. And as if to add insult to injury the most ironic part of it is President Obama who comes from a mixed race marriage, obviously and conveniently forgets Loving v. Virgina. If inter-racial marriage was left to the states there is a good chance that President Obama might not be here today.
DOMA must fall at the federal level, and Obama needs to use the Presidents bully pulpit to do it and also to get ENDA to pass into law to earn is legacy as “fierce advocate”. Much like Lyndon Johnson used the bully pulpit to get the Civil Rights Act of 1965 through Congress.
If Obama is re-elected in 2012 and the Democrats return to power and he doesn’t tackle DOMA it’s all for nothing. 22 states currently have DOMA laws on their books where same sex marriage is out of the question so we will never have all 50 states. And if the federal government refuses to recognize same sex couple in the states that will allow same sex marriage its essentially worthless and makes them nothing better than civil unions and marriage in name only.
We can thank him for what he has done. But lets not praise him and fall over backwards for it.. We need to continue to push, make arguments, and demand that he stand up and do it.
If you show that you are grateful and happy with the crumbs. You’ll never get the whole loaf