View From the Hill - A Presidential Invitation
BY Kerry Eleveld
June 27 2009 12:00 AM ET
COMMENTARY: I walked into a time warp of sorts when I visited a fundraiser put on by the Velvet Foundation a couple weeks ago in support of a national museum for LGBT history and culture.
Protest signs from the '60s read, "Homosexual Citizens Want Fair Treatment From Their Fellow Citizens" and "15 Million U.S. Homosexuals Ask For The Right To The Pursuit of Happiness" and "Revise Insulting Military Regulations on Homosexuals."
Besides the fact that we - and even the Associated Press! - have largely abandoned the Helmsian slur "homosexual," what has changed since then?
Indeed, the protesters who gathered outside Thursday night's LGBT Leadership Council Fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee might as well have been wielding the same '60s-era appeals.
What we are talking about here is a matter of justice - and while many states have slowly but surely been working toward that end, the federal government has offered nothing more than a blind eye to LGBT Americans. Rep. Tammy Baldwin made that point quite precisely at a press briefing this week for the introduction of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.
Passing the legislation into law would "create a new day," she said. It will represent "the first time that Congress has said that discrimination exists against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, it is wrong, and it is illegal in the employment setting. Once you've said that, you don't really have an excuse to say that a little discrimination is OK in this arena or in that arena."