BY Kerry Eleveld
December 30 2009 12:30 PM ET
The White House has made progress on some gay rights fronts this year
to be sure, such as enactment of an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes law,
Obama recommitting himself as president to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,”
and pushing for Congress to pass a law that would provide benefits to
same-sex partners of federal workers.
But by and large, the
administration has shown a reticence bordering on negligence for using
the power of the executive to honor the commitments of LGBT couples
with real, full and equal treatment.
It's a pressure point
that exposes the administration for falling far short of advancing the Democratic
ideals many progressives believed Barack Obama represented when they
cast their vote for him.
Obama campaigned on equality among
other things. And while you can make the case that as president he is
making pragmatic decisions about our security concerns abroad or about
sacrificing the public option in health reform as a guard against
letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, not allowing a federal
agency to provide health benefits to a federal worker because of an
ideology that willfully emphasizes DOMA over a law on federal employee
benefits is essentially a form of reasoned discrimination.
maybe the inner circle of the White House will wake up one day and
realize that their political calculations might not only cost their
president the moral high ground on human dignity, but their ability to
package Obama as a moderate, let alone a progressive. After all,
there’s nothing moderate about erring on the side of inequality.