Sunday, June 17, 2012

LGBT Pride Month Reception

This official White House video is of President Obama’s remarks at the June 15 White House reception marking LGBT Pride Month. Progress on GLBT rights has been painfully slow, but it’s always good to remember what has been accomplished:
  • This Administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress passed the Matthew Sheppard Act to fight hate crimes
  • This Administration ended the ban on HIV+ visitors to the US, and as a result the International AIDS Conference will be held in the US for the first time in two decades
  • Hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid (which is most of them) must now treat same-sex couples the same as other couples thanks to a directive from this Administration
  • Health insurance companies can no longer discriminate against gay people, thanks to the Healthcare Reform Act, passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President Obama
  • The Administration stopped defending DOMA while trying to repeal it
  • The United States now treats GLBT rights as a human rights issue in international diplomacy, thanks to this Administration
  • This Administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
  • This president supports marriage equality—the first ever to do so
There’s much left to do, and President Obama mentioned some of that, too. However, more progress on LGBT rights has been made in this Administration than any other in US history. If the Republican candidate wins the presidency in November, especially if the Republicans also take control of the US Senate, not only will all progress stop, much of what has been done will be repealed—and far, far worse beyond that. The stakes are far too high to change course now.

As an aside, I did think it was kind of funny how all those people held up their smartphones to take photos or videos. Things sure have changed—I hope they don’t go backwards in November.

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