Saturday, June 15, 2013

Reception at the White House

I love it when President Obama does something that pisses-off the radical right—which, of course, is pretty much everything he does every day, starting by waking up in the morning.

But among the things that make wingnut heads explode is President Obama’s annual LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House (official White House video above), and his proclamation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. While I’m not 100% happy with the president overall (and, of course, I never will be with any president), he has finally become the “fierce advocate” for LGBT Americans that he promised to be.

Some activists urge (others demand…) that the president issue an Executive Order banning discrimination against LGBT workers by federal contractors. The problem with this is that a future president could easily rescind it, and it would become a lightening rod for anti-gay agitators and activists heading into the 2014 Congressional elections, potentially making things much worse than they are now if wingnuts gain control of the entire US Congress in 2014 (and the White House in 2016).

What we need is passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which will ban anti-gay workplace discrimination nationwide. This can't happen in this Congress, and indeed won't happen until Democrats have overwhelming majorities in both houses of the US Congress. Because it can’t pass in this Congress, ENDA won’t galvanise the frothing far right base of the Republican Party.

Apart from a handful of Republican politicians, who are despised by that frothing far right activist base, the party’s elected officials are lock-step in their opposition to LGBT Americans and their human rights. We shouldn’t give up on Republicans, though, because some of them will be waiting and hoping their party one day returns to a more rational and mainstream ideology.

In the meantime, things are changing for the better, and while we’ve made a lot of progress lately, there’s still a long way to go. The White House reception is important mostly for its symbolism, sure, but in politics, symbolism IS important.

I just want to see more progress, too.

Related (from The White House):

Remarks by the President at a Reception for LGBT Pride Month
Presidential Proclamation – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2013

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