Obama Selling Out Gays, or Just Getting Ducks in a Row: Answers from the Video GraveBottom Highlights, Online Only Friday, February 25th, 2011
Nearly one year ago, LGBT Weekly publisher and co-chair of President Obama’s LGBT Leadership Counsel Stampp Corbin engaged into debate with Dan Savage, syndicated columnist, on the popular CNN show Campbell Brown. In wake of new political developments surrounding the LGBT community, the answer as to whether or not Obama has sold out gays may surprise even Dan Savage himself.
In the debate, both sides of the argument were presented. On the one hand, Savage debated that Obama was selling out the gay community by not signing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy out of legislation, while Corbin suggested the President was getting his ducks in a row for a greater, more impactful strategy to follow in the near future.
Corbin emphasized the importance of how laws are in fact created—not by Presidents themselves, but rather Congress who sign and enact laws on behalf of Congressmen and Congresswomen who create and pass such laws into action.
The point was lukewarm to Savage, and even Brown, who both challenged Corbin on Obama’s policies, or lack thereof, for the LGBT community.
“It’s pretty clear the Obama administration has not made ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell a priority in any way. How can you ask people to be patient when there is no indication at all that he is going to act?” asked Brown.
Corbin was prepared and followed up the skepticism with key facts: at the time, Obama had just nominated Representative John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, supporter of the repeal of DADT.
“Obama has just nominated Representative McHugh for Secretary of the Army. And, McHugh has indicated that he also supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So that is an indication that the President is getting his ducks in a row in order to be able to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“I’m sick of hearing about the President’s commitment. I want to see action from the White House,” said Savage.
Fast-forward one year later: In December 2010, Obama signed a new law that has allowed gays for the first time in history to openly serve in America’s military. Not only did Obama sign the law into action, but he urged those kicked out of the military under the old law to re-enlist for service.
“We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot… a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal.” Obama said in a statement.
The repeal of DADT was commemorated with a ceremony that was partly emotional, party celebratory. Obama’s overturning of the law ended a 17-year-old policy that forced gays to hide sexual orientation in the military. More than 13,500 individuals were discharged under the DADT policy since 1993.
Considering massive policy changes concerning the LGBT community, Corbin may have been right when he suggested that President Obama was getting his ducks in a row.
Now, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it believes courts should reevaluate laws that classify people based on sexual orientation. And in wake of this scrutiny, the DOJ has repealed Section 3 of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage between a man and woman.
And just this week, Dianne Feinstein, a proponent for the repeal of DOMA has said, “My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that.”
Since the DOJ has repealed Section 3 of DOMA, Feinstein has said in a statement she would intend to end the DOMA policy in California as well.
“I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the wrong law then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed.” said Feinstein.
Watch the debate now, and leave your comments below. With the repeal of DADT and DOMA, was Corbin right to suggest that Obama was getting his ducks in a row in order to strategically protect the LGBT community?
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