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

I certainly believe that and I've discussed this now with senior advisors in the White House -- it is clear that there's unanimity on this. And this charge that somehow there's some secret deal going on or something behind the scenes -- there is nothing. This is as simple and straightforward as I can be and this administration can be, and we will work with anybody to advance this agenda.

The Advocate: One of the things that people are concerned about is that it's been rumored that at the White House round table meeting with LGBT leaders, administration officials indicated that DOMA would wait until a second term.

Berry: I was at that meeting with Jim Messina and Brian Bond and all the groups. Nobody said that -- I did not hear DOMA in the second term. It's clear that we want to accomplish these things on this administration's watch. We hope we get eight years, but if we're limited to four, we're still going to try to pursue this agenda. I was there for the entire meeting, start to finish. Nobody said second term, nobody is crazy enough to presume that we get a second term - the American people decide whether we get a second term.

The Advocate: And what about "don't ask, don't tell," is that being pushed back?

Berry: We don't have the votes to do Hate Crimes right now, we don't have the votes to do ENDA, how are we going [to get "don't ask, don't tell]?

The Advocate: Understood that "don't ask, don't tell" is a heavier lift, but there's still no Senate repeal bill with which to start lobbying on and building support.

Berry: We're going to have to - there's a lot of good support there - [Senators] Lieberman and Collins - a lot of people, I think, are going to be willing to help. I believe that that energy is going to come together. This administration has got some really smart people, and we're going to work together to do this right and do it in a way that's going to last.

Tags: Politics

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