Ask, Tell, Do Something!
The Obama administration has had a tough time with LGBT advocates this last month. Among promises made during his campaign, Obama has only partially come through on one of them. He recently announced benefits for same-sex couples in government service, a step taken after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended benefits within the diplomatic corps of the State Department. Neither measure amounted to much due to restrictions imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which Obama also promised to repeal.
Ask, Tell, Do Something!
The Obama administration has had a tough time with LGBT advocates this last month. Among promises made during his campaign, Obama has only partially come through on one of them. He recently announced benefits for same-sex couples in government service, a step taken after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended benefits within the diplomatic corps of the State Department. Neither measure amounted to much due to restrictions imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which Obama also promised to repeal. On the surface it appears to be an implementation of a No President Left Behind measure, but it’s looking more like No Donor Left Behind. Most of the action we’ve seen has been in the run-up to an LGBT fundraiser scheduled to be held last Thursday; the Community Organizer in Chief with a party majority in the House and Senate just can’t seem to get things done ahead of fund-raising.
It appears the tweaking on the nose the Obama administration has received from the LGBT community and others in the last month has helped find the fast(er)-forward button. In addition to the public criticism the Obama administration has received, support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009 to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) has come from local resolutions from Wilton Manors and Oakland Park and in a letter sent last week to the White House by 76 members of Congress, including 6 from Florida: Alcee Hastings (Miramar), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Miami), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Weston), Robert Wexler (Boca Raton), Alan Grayson (Orlando) and Kathy Castor (Tampa). Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Three Gays (Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank, and Jared Polis) reportedly met last week to lay out a plan for pursuing such gay rights issues as repealing DADT, benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, hate crimes legislation and the new, improved, transgender inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act.
Pride and Priorities: Fail
Priorities really seemed to be screwed up last week. Two events, a White House event for power gays commemorating the anniversary of Stonewall and an LGBT Democratic fundraiser, had people up in arms trying to decide whether or not they were gong to attend either event (not to mention what to wear!). Many were actually advocating boycotting the White House event, an opportunity to have face time with President Obama or at least show strength in numbers. Attending the fundraiser was a no-brainer for some: openly gay Sens. Barney Frank, Jared Polis and Tammy Baldwin had all signaled their intent to attend the fundraiser. Meanwhile former governor and National Democratic Committee Chairman Howard Dean and the National Black Justice Coalition have reportedly bailed out of the fundraiser.
Perez Gets It, Doesn’t Get It
By now we’re almost tired of hearing about blogger Mario Lavandeira, aka Perez Hilton. It seems like just yesterday he viciously attacked the absolutely precious Miss California, Carrie Prejean, for voicing her opinion in support of opposite marriage and spearheaded the media campaign to dethrone her. What do you mean that’s not how it happened? Isn’t that’s how FOX News reported it? Hilton has tasted the spotlight and apparently wants more. At a recent string of parties Hilton was approached by Black Eyed Peas vocalist Fergie and asked about mean things he had written on his blog; later it was reported that front man will.i.am asked Hilton not to write about them. Perez responded the same way any bullying ten year-old would do: he called will.i.am a faggot. As Hilton left the party he was allegedly punched by the band’s road manager and has filed a lawsuit against him for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Intentional infliction of emotional distress? I thought that’s what Hilton’s blog was all about! It’s sad that implying that a man is gay still has power as an insult; it’s worse that Hilton, a gay man, chose the word because he “thought it would be the worst thing he could possibly say.” Shouldn’t Hilton be charged with a hate crime?
The Far Right Follies
Pat Buchanan is back in action. He’s moved on from his Clinton-esque reference to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as “that woman” to a conference he recently hosted in which there was discussion of enacting English-only initiatives. Did I mention the banner over the English-only advocates read, “2009 National Conference”? Hopefully any progress they make won’t get past spell check, let alone a congressional committee.
I can’t stop laughing long enough to talk about holier-than-thou Governor Mark Sanford’s affair with a woman from Argentina, but in between gasps for air I can point out that FOX News has done it again. When Republican Mark Foley’s indiscrete e-mail exchanges with a male page went public FOX identified him as a Democrat. Déjà vu, Republican Governor Sanford was recently identified by FOX as – go on, guess – a Democrat. Fair and balanced, indeed.