This just in. The White House has just announced (I’m not kidding) that President Obama will do the following tomorrow evening:
In the evening, the President will deliver brief remarks and sign a Presidential Memorandum regarding federal benefits and non-discrimination in the Oval Office. This event is pooled press.
That pretty much means that he’s going to give gay federal employees partner benefits.
And that’s sweet.
And awfully convenient, considering the DNC is about to lose a lot of money since they’re $1,000 and up a head big gay fundraiser is imploding.
And it’s also awfully convenient that the event is being held at 545pm, just a tad too late for the evening news to pick it up. Gosh, how did that happen?
Unfortunately, federal benefits for gay federal employees is not even one of the eight campaign promises Obama made to our community (there are only seven now on the White House Web site – the DOMA promise went down the memory hole about two months ago).
Joe and I have written about this before. We had predicted that Obama would either give us the hate crimes bill or benefits for federal employees as a means of showing how much he’s doing on his gay rights promises, without actually doing anything on any of the eight gay rights promises he made. (And guess what? After the DOMA brief controversy exploded, they suddenly announced plans to do hate crimes in the Senate this week. And now, poof, the bill is dead again until at least August. And remember folks, this is the easy one – it already passed the House and Senate, and survived a Senate filibuster, in the last Congress.)
Who is advising the president of the United States on gay issues? This is beyond belief. These people think we’re living in 1993, where our number one issue is getting 2% of the gay population working for the federal government to get some of the benefits that straight employees get. Again, it’s nice. And if I were kicking back in my Birkenstocks and joining a few friends to watch Melrose Place, I might think this was a huge deal. But it doesn’t compare with Obama having promised to repeal DOMA, repeal DADT, and secure passage of ENDA. There is no progress whatsoever on that front, unless you call Obama continuing to discharge gay service members, and filing hideously anti-gay rehashes of George Bush’s old homophobic legal briefs, “progress.”
The country has moved beyond the 1990s. That is, everyone but the Obama administration. Gay marriage is exploding around the country. 70% of the country support repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, even majorities of Republicans and churchgoers. And a majority of Americans oppose job discrimination against gays. This stuff just isn’t controversial anywhere outside of the Obama administration and a Sarah Palin Fan Club meeting. Federal benefits would have been a huge thing had President Clinton done it. Today, after having been compared to incest and pedophiles by our own Democratic president, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this president needs to do to win back our trust. Not to mention, we have to beat the bejeesus out of you for five days to even get your attention, and this is all we get?
What is he going to do on DOMA, DADT and ENDA? Is the President going to apologize for comparing us to incest and pedophilia last week? Is he going to support us in the next DOMA lawsuit, whose brief is due on the 29th, or he is yet again going to support a bigoted law that he has called “abhorrent,” even though he is fully in his power as president to oppose an existing law IF HE CARES ENOUGH TO DO SO.
When you figure that one out, get back to us. Until then, spare us the cute photo opps that give the president an opportunity to stand around a bunch of gay people and show how loved he is by the gays. when everyone is really pissed off at him. This isn’t North Korea.