Obama told us, “I’m here with you in that fight.” He told us that during the campaign, too. That’s why we supported him.
The president acknowledged that many of us think progress hasn’t come fast enough. But, he said we’ve made progress and will make more. He also wanted us to know that we’re impacted by everything he does…health care, schools, etc….because we don’t want to be identified by just one thing. But, “my commitment to you is unwavering.”
When we look back we’ll see a time when discrimination ended in the workplace and the battlefield. We’ll also see a time when same-sex couples are recognized as equal. I guess we can look back on January 19, 2017.
Obama delivered a beautiful tribute to Judy and Dennis Shepard — Judy and Dennis Shepard deserved the tribute. He let us know he’s going to sign the Hate Crimes bill. Duh. We know that. In 2007, the Hate Crimes bill passed in the House and Senate (even breaking a filibuster in the Senate.) Bush threatened to veto it. Obama said he’d sign it.
Obama said we’re pushing hard to pass an inclusive ENDA. And, he will support his nominees who are attacked because of their sexual orientation.
According to Obama, “we are moving ahead on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Obama said, “I will end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But, there was no timeline. Nothing even approaching a timeline. No idea of how it will be done.
Obama talked a lot about same-sex couples, but never mentioned marriage or even civil unions. Although, he did tell us he wants Congress to repeal DOMA.
He mentioned AIDS in DC, but didn’t mention marriage in the District. No mention of the battles in Maine or Washington State.
This speech offered less than the cocktail party speech for the A-listers back in June.
The expectations were very high. The president spoke for approximately 25 minutes. And, tonight, he did not deliver anything new or exciting. He did not assuage our concerns.
I’m sure HRC is happy. This was a big night for the institution. But, I’m not sure what it did for the movement — or HRC’s actual mission of full equality.