HRC Backs Obama for 2012
BY Joe Solmonese
May 26 2011 1:25 PM ET
Running in 2008, the president promised change from the George W. Bush administration, and on so many issues, change is certainly what we got. There is no more stark a contrast than President Bush’s advocacy for a constitutional amendment to discriminate against same-sex couples versus President Obama’s refusal to defend federal marriage discrimination in court. Calling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and arguing that any attempt to discriminate on the basis sexual orientation must clear a high bar of judicial scrutiny will be remembered as a major turning point in the history of legal equality for LGBT people.
On other issues, President Obama has continued to put fairness ahead of the exclusion too often felt from the Bush administration. On the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Bush administration threatened to veto the bill if it were ever passed, calling it “inconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion” and somehow in conflict with DOMA. Senior officials in the Obama administration instead testified in favor of ENDA on Capitol Hill.
We’ve seen so many other advancements that don’t always make the biggest headlines. The administration added gender identity to the equal employment opportunity policy governing all federal jobs. Married same-sex couples are now able to use their marriage licenses as evidence of a name change for passports, and there are more reasonable standards for changing a gender marker on passports as well. In the area of health, the president launched a National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and Health and Human Services has efforts to target populations most at risk, including gay and bisexual men and transgender people. This administration also requires that abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs be inclusive of and nonstigmatizing toward LGBT youth.
With all of our success, much remains to be done, which is why the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. Our endorsement now will allow HRC along with our community and our allies to fully mobilize around what will be a difficult but critically important campaign. One need not look further than the records of the other candidates for a wake-up call about how important this election will be to LGBT people. As the fight for equality moves forward, President Obama is marching with us, while the alternatives would stop us in our tracks.
It’s a long time between now and November 2012, but the president has and continues to stand up for our community. We owe it to ourselves and our future to stand up with him again, starting now.