Nel's New Day

May 9, 2012

Today – An ‘Historic Day’!

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:01 PM
Tags: , ,

The day started with non-stop news about a thwarted plot to plant a high-explosive bomb on an airplane and finished with an all-consuming focus on President Obama’s announcement that he has personally accepted the concept of civil marriage equality. For the first issue, Fox News accused the president of either using this for political fodder or being stupid to let this news leak. Curiously enough the conservative news channel started with the marriage equality news that Obama had started a “war on marriage” but soon erased that statement by changing it to just a flip-flop situation. Shepard Smith even declared that Obama is “in the 21st century” while Republicans are “on the wrong side of history.”

To be perfectly clear, the president didn’t say that he would fight to change policy in this area. His statement referred only to his personal viewpoints. As always, he’s easing himself into the water of politics on this issue. But he’s gone farther than just his big toe—maybe even up to the knees by now. But, as Rachel Maddow pointed out in her description of past presidents’ attitude toward marriage equality, he has gone far, far beyond what any earlier president has done to create equality in many areas of LGBT life.

Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: When President Obama signed the bill that repealed this discriminatory law, gays and lesbians were able to openly serve in the military in the same way that heterosexuals can. (September 20, 2011)

Ending the Legal Defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): President Obama and the Attorney General announced that the Department of Justice would not defend Section 3 of DOMA because preventing marriage equality is unconstitutional. (February 2011)

Supporting the Respect of Marriage Act: The White House announced it would support this bill, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, to repeal DOMA and provide equal federal and other legal protections for gay and lesbian couples who marry. (July 2011)

Signing Historic Hate Crimes Legislation: President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, which extends the coverage of federal hate crimes law to include attacks based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill took ten years to pass. (October 28, 2009)

Ensuring Hospital Visitation Rights for LGBT Patients and Their Loved Ones: Following a directive from the President, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds—almost every hospital in America–to allow visitation rights for LGBT patients. The President also directed HHS to ensure that medical decision-making rights of LGBT patients are respected. (January 19, 2011)

Preventing Bullying Against LGBT Students: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services convened students, parents, and teachers, in addition to non-profit leaders, advocates, and policymakers, for the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. (March 2011)

Developing and Implementing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy: President Obama developed and released the United States’ first comprehensive plan for responding to the domestic HIV epidemic. (December 1, 2011) He also signed legislation reauthorizing the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program for four years to provide critical health services to uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV. (October 30, 2009) The Administration has also prioritized funding increases for HIV prevention, care, and research in each successive President’s budget.

Expanding Access to Health Coverage: Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against anyone due to a pre-existing condition after 2014, and insurers can no longer turn someone away just because the person is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Through increased research and data collection on health disparities, policymakers will have the knowledge and tools they need to continue to address the health needs and concerns of the LGBT community. In addition, the federal website,, designed to help all consumers find the health insurance best suited to their needs, makes it easy to locate health insurers that cover domestic partners. (March 23, 2010)

Taking Steps to Ensure LGBT Equality in Housing and Crime Prevention: After the first national study of discrimination in housing against LGBT persons, the White House issued a final rule to ensure that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s core housing programs are open to all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Justice Department also issued guidance stating that Federal prosecutors should enforce criminal provisions in the Violence against Women Act in cases involving same-sex relationships. (January 2012)

Reversing Bush policy to Reject U.N. Human Rights Statement: The White House joined 66 other U.N. member states condemning human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (March 18, 2009)

Extending Benefits to Partners of LGBT Federal Employees: President Barack Obama signed the Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination giving some benefits, including visitation and dependent-care rights to same-sex partners of LGBT federal employees. extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Department of State also gave the full range of legally available benefits and allowances to same-sex domestic partners of members of the Foreign Service sent to serve abroad. (June 18, 2009)

Lifting the Travel Ban for People with HIV/AIDS: President Obama published a rule that allowed people with HIV/AIDS to freely travel into the United States. (November 2009)

I could go on and on, including the large number of LGBT people who President Obama has appointed for his administration. One website gives 225 names but does not list a date; there may be more. eQuality lists more of President Obama’s achievements, and Rachel Maddow has devoted much of her May 9, 2012 program to the difference between President Obama and past presidents regarding the LGBT issues.

Suffice it to say, however, today is an historic day for everyone in the United States who believes in equality.

1 Comment »

  1. Great roundup!


    Comment by lynchly — May 9, 2012 @ 11:22 PM | Reply

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