Berry: Hate Crimes May Pass Next Week

The highest ranking LGBT official in the Obama administration told The Advocate Sunday that Hate Crimes might pass next week and that President Obama was soon to announce an initiative regarding equalizing protections and benefits for LGBT employees.

BY Kerry Eleveld

June 14 2009 12:00 AM ET

We have four broad legislative goals that we want to accomplish and legislation is one of these things where you've got to move when the opportunity strikes, so I'm going to list them in an order but it's not necessarily going to go one, two, three, four. Obviously, I think the first opportunity is hate crimes and we're hopeful that we can get that passed this week. We're going to try, but if not, we're going to keep at it until we get it passed. The second one ENDA, we want to secure that passage of ENDA, and third is we want to repeal legislatively "don't ask don't tell," and fourth, we want to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, I'm not going to pledge -- and nor is the president -- that this is going to be done by some certain date. The pledge and the promise is that, this will be done before the sun sets on this administration - our goal is to have this entire agenda accomplished and enacted into law so that it is secure.

The Advocate: Does that include a second term? A lot of people have talked about DOMA being pushed back until a second term.

Berry: I say this in a broad sense -- our goal is to get this done on this administration's watch.

Finally, I want to talk to you about the DOMA brief. Our strongest argument against "don't ask, don't tell" is that we stand with the truth. And that we, more than anyone, know the cost of lying and the terrible pain it invokes.

This president took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and he does not get to decide and choose which laws he enforces. He has to enforce the laws that have been enacted appropriately and that he has inherited. It would be wrong for me or any of our community to advise him to lie or to shirk his responsibility. He's doing his job. He has made clear that he stands for the repeal of DOMA. It will be part of this administration's agenda to accomplish that act. We ought not waste energy and angst attacking him when we should be focusing the energy and effort on getting 218 votes in the house and 60 votes in the Senate, and that's where we ought to target the energy and the strength of this community and this president is with us, this is our agenda and it's his agenda.

Tags: Politics

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