BY Patrick Guerriero
September 09 2009 8:00 AM ET
When we do this on the federal level, we will win.
We were honored to attend a recent LGBT White House event -- one of the cocktail parties we mentioned earlier. On that day President Obama said, “By the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.” We take President Obama at his word. And when the president and Congress take real action, our movement must be ready to provide substantive support and political cover to members of both political parties who stand with us. Here’s a solid starting place for us to feel “pretty good”:
1. Departments and agencies across the federal government should change administrative policy, immediately eliminating significant forms of discrimination against LGBT people. The Obama administration deserves credit for starting these changes by including LGBT families in the 2010 census, granting some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, and beginning to lift the HIV travel ban.
2. Congress needs to end the federal logjam on LGBT-specific legislation with the immediate enactment of federal hate-crimes and fully inclusive employment nondiscrimination protections before the 2010 midterm election.
3. Following the Department of Justice’s deeply offensive DOMA brief, the administration must work with Congress to overturn DOMA, especially section 3, to allow married same-sex couples to access the federal protections that come with marriage. In addition, the president should continue to expand federal workplace benefits that have been earned by LGBT employees.
4. As commander in chief, President Obama can and should lead by ending the discharge of our heroic and patriotic LGBT servicemen and servicewomen. And, working closely and thoughtfully with military leaders and members of Congress, the administration should end “don’t ask, don’t tell” for good.
These initial federal goals are realistic and attainable. But winning will require contributing to worthy campaigns, getting involved in grassroots lobbying, and making sure our actions match our desire for equality. Even in these tough economic times, we must keep donating politically to make change happen.
This is the vision we have for America. Full equality -- as soon as possible. It will take each and every one of us -- the young activist, the straight ally, the generous donor, and the courageous legislator -- to win. Working together, we can send the next Danny or Marilyn packing and make real gains that change the lives of LGBT people in this country. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get the job done on the federal level just as we are in states all across America.
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