Emanuel arrives to mixed reviews by LGBT community

LGBT Civil Rights Activist Janice Langbehn provided a link to this interesting article via her Facebook page.

Rick Garcia, director of public policy for Equality Illinois, said Tuesday that Emanuel’s voting record on gay issues as a congressman was impeccable. But after he entered the White House in 2008, his impact on gay-rights politics was met with greater skepticism:

“There is a sense in Washington of foot dragging–on the Employment Non-discrimination Act, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and gay marriage,” said Garcia. “People see Rahm’s fingerprints all over it.”

Tom O’Briant, co-founder of “Run Rahm Run” in Chicago disagrees:

In 2009, he had lunch with Emanuel, then the White House chief of staff, in Washington. O’Briant brought to Emanuel’s attention a New York Times article on Janice Langbehn, who, because she was gay, was denied access to her partner of 18 years as she lay dying in the hospital.

O’Briant then reveals he was stunned when Obama issued the memorandum securing hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples in April 2010.

While I agree the memorandum directing HHS to “develop new hospital visitation guidelines to help ensure respect for the families of LGBT patients” was a welcome move, Lamba Legal documents the continued questions and problems presented by the fact we do not have legal standing as married partners in certain cases like that of incapacitation. Also, if Emmanuel truly had that much pull and sway to ensure Obama signed the memorandum then what was his role in Obama ignoring all the other MAJOR promises made to us involving DADT, DOMA and ENDA?

The article also encapsulates the tension between those in our community who are satisfied with (rather minor) incremental progress versus those of us who realize we have woefully been left behind by most of our allied countries in the world.  Being a “Fierce Advocate” apparently means having to be second class American citizens for at least another decade. Sure, I’m grateful for any movement when it comes to the recognition of our rights, but I’m furious Team Obama spurned their chance to truly remove the yoke of oppression from our lives. There are many of us who believe Rahm Emmanuel’s fingerprints are all over that strategy. It could have been a historical watershed moment for us and for them to have addressed the civil rights questions of our time.

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