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16 June 2009

Comments

Faison

"However, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from extending health and retirement benefits to same-sex couples, so the benefits are more likely to be marginal—like relocation assistance."

Without health insurance, this is nothing. Even a grand or two offered for relocation assistance to members of my household (live in BF) would be taxable. Those would be offered tax free to married couples.

And where are the Obamapologists who said DOMA didn't matter?? The hell it doesn't, even if you aren't married, it prevents the federal government from treating you or your children like "normal and traditional families"

Jeff Pryor

I think we need to keep this in perspective. Sometimes change is big steps, sometimes is small steps...This is a small but important step. Keep in mind tho, although the federal govt is among the nation's largest employers (if not the largest??) private companies and even conservative banks and law firms offer much more than this.

And without health insurance benefits, it really doesn't mean very much. So this is something to celebrate...but nothing to get too excited about.

Talarico

@ Rod: You left out the best part at the end of the Politico piece.

"The executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a large state-based gay rights group, Alan Van Capelle, greeted today's announcement sarcastically.

"Welcome to 1999," he told POLITICO. "How revolutionary of the White House to give benefits to same-sex couples, when two-thirds of conservative Wall Street are already doing it. What an achievement."

"It's just one of the things that should have been done in January," Van Capelle, who was among those taking his name off the Biden event, said, calling for a "comprehensive strategy." "If the President makes the announcement tomorrow, it will still fall short of what LGBT people are expecting from this administration."

________

I agree. Okay, this is a decent move but I'm assuming they were working on this for some time. 'Cuz it cannot make up for that DOMA brief. I applaud our president for extending some benefits to LGBT partners. Now. What is he going to do about DOMA, so we can extend all federal benefits to everyone, and ENDA, so no one can be fired because they are gay?

Talarico

Oh and one more thing

"The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from extending health and retirement benefits to same-sex couples."

Really? Now. Let's start discussing that with the chorus "he's working on health care, leave him alone!"

Health care for who? Which families? Any LGBT families, partners or children would by definition bot be able to receive health care bennies from Uncle Sam.

Jai

my boyfriend works for the commerce dept. would he be eligible? and what can we get if not health benefits???

B.O.

Happy Pride!

m e

I'm Sick of some Gay people and there stupid complaints. This man's plate is running over with more IMPORTANT issues(the economy anybody???) What good will Healtcare benefits do if NOBODY has a job? Some in the Gay Family need to grow up and see the bigger picture and have PATIENCE. Obama is an Friend,why treat him like he's an Enemy,makes no sense to me. I applaud our President!!!

Dalton

Let me recap: O will offer some federal employees (military need not apply=DADT) some domestic partner benefits temporarily while he's in office. This is the same thing any employee of any Fortune 500 company (exception= of Exxon-Mobil) would already have had for years by now. Except ... how are they supposed to prove they have domestic partners, outside of those states and municipalities that have it, since this same administration just argued very vigorously in court the law that says none of the other states nor the federal government should be required to recognize them? Because DOMA is good because it's going to save the government money!

Only days ago they argued against this type of thing ... taxpayers money being used to subsidize alternative lifestyles, I wouldn't be surprised if an injunction is filed by some right wing federal employee.

Dalton

@ Me:

What "health care" are you talking about. We've already established that DOMA prevents the federal government from extending health care or many other benefits to same sex partners or your partners children. There will be NO "health care" for LGBT families.

And enough already with the "he's too busy" or "he's a friend." Your "friend" just wrote a court motion comparing your relationships to incest. Do "friends" do that.

Now do you work the federal government? Because if you do not, you won't be affected AT ALL by this move.

Oh and they've offered benefits like this at my company for at least ten years. Except those include HEALTH CARE.

Greg G

I'm sorry but has 'health care' become the new talking point for Obama apologists? It surely wasn't during the primaries because the two other candidates had far superior health care plans.

"Me", that's a big fat fail. The health care revamp will easily take one or two years. There are hundreds of others projects Obama Inc (thousands of employees) will be working during that time.

And Dalton raises a very good point. By definition, LGBT families will not be included in health care. That's why the president cannot offer health care benefits to partners of LGBT employees.

Obama himself said a president "has to do more than one thing at a time". He criticized McCain many times on that. Now are you saying the president's staff of thousands can't do more than one thing at once? He says otherwise.

Greg G

@ Me:

Here you go...I remember Rod posted this months ago.

Obama to McCain: President Has to Do "More Than One Thing at Once"

http://rodonline.typepad.com/rodonline/2008/09/obama-to-mccain.html

"And I think that it is going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once."

And here is another one about McCain postponing debate.

McCain Proposes "Suspending" Campaign and Postponing Debate to "Focus" on Financial Crisis

http://rodonline.typepad.com/rodonline/2008/09/mccain-proposes.html

Me, surely you're not saying Obama and his staff of thousands can rescue GM, bailout the banks, run two wars, jet to Europe and more stuff ... but can't delegate a few people to research DOMA or see how many votes we have on ENDA? Or are you? Because that's what's presidents and CEOs do. It's called "delegating".

Carlos

ME:

You should never, ever be happy when a bone is thrown your way. That's rewarding bad behavior, but much of our black community, and our black LGBT community has been conditioned to always accept table scraps.

You are a strong black person, you are just as worthy of life, love, and civil rights as any Iranian, Wall Street banker or General Motors exec. There is no reason why your rights should always be on the back burner.

Obama has plenty of time to cut checks for billionare bankers and Wall Street investment bankers. It's about time he invested a little time in your future, dontcha think?

This federal benefits extension only affects a teeny portion of our community, it is not substantial, no health benefits are included, and they have probably been working on this for weeks. But in all fairness, many companies and organizations offer much more than this to same sex partners. It's very 1999. I applaud the president but this was hardly on our shopping list.

Mark Andrew

The infamous DOJ brief in defense of DOMA, did not compare homosexuality to incest. It offered examples of types of marriages that are recognized in some jurisdictions that are not recognized in certain states, as a way of showing that it has been possible in the past for states to refuse to recognize marriages that are considered valid in other jurisdictions. Among the examples were marriage of an uncle and niece (valid in Italy but invalid in Connecticut), marriage of a 16-year-old girl (valid in Indiana but invalid in New Jersey), and marriage of first cousins (valid in New Mexico but invalid in Arizona).

The gay screaming class leadership needs to dial it back a few notches. But they won't -- they want what they want, and damn everything else.

Carlos

ME:

Another thing. Just because people criticize Obama doesn't mean they hate him. Maybe it means we expect more and demand leadership. Many of our issues are not "silly"--do you call people being fired becaus ethey are gay "silly"? I hope not. We voted for Obama, just like straight people, and we donated money, just like straight people. Trust me, he is only making this minor gesture because of the outrage this week and all of the gays that are pulling out of that multimillion dollar fundraiser for the DNC.

You said you considered the president a "friend." Obama is a politician, and wants to get re-elected and raise money. He is not your BFF. But even with friends you have to remind them sometimes what you expect of them. I donated to Obama and voted for him, I can easily give that money to local non profits or gay friendly candidates in my state.

Mark my words. The only reason this is happening now is because of the reporting on blogs like this one that tv and newspapers are picking up. That is why even this small gesture (and that's what it is) is happening. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

m e

@ Greg G,
Since u know what it is....why dont YOU run for President and stop being a little Baby. Nobody is an apologist here,because there is nothing to apologize for. It just amazes me the LGBT has become...for lack of a better word...so intolerant and impatient, where was this "fire" when Bush was in office? Why does Obama have to be on "our" timeline. While the DOJ went to far, i truly believe some of u guys are missing bigger picture.and this could backfire.

Faison

@ Mark:

I'm aware of what the DOMA brief said. It's troubling you choose to defend it imho. The citation of the uncle-niece marriage was decades old. And it was submitted as a comparison for a basis for which same sex marriages did not have to be justified.

I don't know what the "screaming class" is. I doubt the ACLU, Lambda Legal, GLAD, NCLR...who have won us quite a few court victories...would appreciate being called that. Some bloggers have been over the top, yes they surely have. But those same bloggers (Aravosis, Sullivan, etc) were quite over the top in their promotion of Obama during the primaries. Something tells me you probably weren't complaining last year this time. So is Rod part of this "screaming class"? I would say hell no, he's been very low-key and tends to let us read and make up our minds for ourselves. I don't see any screaming or outrage in this article at all.

I voted for Obama in the primaries and general. I donated money to Obama and the DNC. I expected "leadership" and a "fierce advocate". As someone said above, if he has time to give away trillions of dollars to Wall Street and the auto industry, he has time to task several people to work on LGBT rights.


But let me ask you: Do you dispute anything reported here? Are you disputing that DOMA prevents the fed from giving health, Social Security or retirement benefits? Are you disputing that many Fortune 500 companies offer more than this? What is your complaint, besides just being angered whenever someone dares to criticize the president, like he is beyond criticism?

Antonio

mark, it was the great dr, martin luther king jr who said there is 'never a good time to demand' your rights. he spoke about the 'fierce urgency of now'. isn't that what obama ran on?

but what is a hypothetical better time? 2010 is mid term, then its preparing for the re-election ... health care will take a year or two, wars stretch indefinitely, the economy will be in recession for another year or so. when is your ideal time?

btw what state do you live in? maybe you are in ny, cali or mass and already have plenty of rights. many of us do not, we live in states where there are zero protections.

Greg G

@ Me:

Why does Obama have to be on "our" timeline?

Because he works for US. Politicians do, you know, we vote for them, they make promises, we make them accountable. It's what Barack Obama said, we had to hold him accountable. And that is what we are doing now.

I'm not even going to respond to Bush questions. If you don't remember and were still in junior high the other year, just read through this blog's archives. You would be amazed at how much "fire" there was. I'm amazed you would even suggest such a thing. That suggests you weren't following politics or gay rights during the Bush years.

Good night. And Carlos, bless your heart for that civics lesson. Some people prefer table scraps, let them have at it.

m e

@ Faision

I voted for Obama in the primaies and General and gave money to his campaign JUST LIKE YOU! that doesnt mean i own him and he's beholden to me or YOU for that matter. I think some of you have it all twisted,and that "line" is beyond old.

Torey

Me,

Yeah, okay right.
We get it, you are on here to defend Obama and obviously don't care and don't know about gay rights.

I guess you don't believe you aren't as important as the white investment bankers on Wall Street. I do. Please let me and the others who feel we are tired of being treated like second class citizens, work on our issues. kthxbai

TexasCharlie

Where are the votes to accomplish these things in Congress to do these things. We all want Obama to do pass ENDA and end DADT/DOMA but believe it or not in order for them to be lasting (and not piss off the military leadership in the case of DADT who have enough problems on thier hands) it really does need to be done through an Act of Congress.

Gay Rights is still social wedge issue in many parts of this country and even though polls say 60% this and 70% that in our favor it dosen't always translate to votes in Congress.

I to am disgusted with the DOJ brief but as the HRC letter says Obama more than likely didn't see it (if the person in his administration who oversees gay issues should have had his eye on the case and the DOJ breif mabye the most offensive part could have been left out.)

So im cool with withdrawing funds for the fundrasiers and stuff; the best way to send a message no words necessasary, but honestly do we want to violently tear down the first democrat we've had in the White House in 8 years, we want to self implode the "progressive alliance" because we as gay americans are not getting exactly what we want right now, who really benifets from that strategy,

In my opinion we need to diversify the energy, and efforts keep working through the courts, (Court cases moved on Civil Rights for African Americans many years before action from Presidents and Congress) get your congressman or senator to move on ENDA which most people can get behind and is currently sitting in committiee, then you'll have the groundwork for DADT and for the repeal of DOMA but why should the President risk his political capital with so much of the the Country and the World on his plate when your local represenative, or senator won't even speak out sponser/co sponser the bill.

Mark

Faison -
I do not include Rod in the "screaming class". His reporting has been very understated and fact-centered. He might advocate for same-sex marriage (true?), but he does not act as though, if same-sex marriage is not approved at the federal level, gays will be forced to ride in the back of the bus, walk in the gutter and wear pink triangles.

Antonio -
I do live in California and, yes we do have domestic partnerships, which are in every way as forceful and binding as "marriage", just without the name. I know for a fact, because my ex-boyfriend is still in the process of trying to get a divorce (called a "dissolution of domestic partnership") from his previous ex, meanwhile the previous ex is having to pay him hundreds of dollars in alimony every month. BTW, I suppose that made our relationship "adultery", since he wasn't divorced yet. LMAO :p Meanwhile lawyers are collecting thousands of dollars. How ridiculous.

The whole thing is quite a process, and seemingly overboard, considering we are talking about two men who can presumably support themselves; neither one has to stay home and mind any kids from the marriage (they had none, go figure), and they both can make their own money. But there it is, we have DPs, and hurray for that. I am totally for DPs for anyone foolhardy enough to enter into one.

What I object to is this counterproductive, strident push for the word "marriage" at the risk of alienating the whole rest of the population, including our friends and allies. The rights are enough, the word is unnecessary. And asking the President to expend political capital to prevent us being denied that word is bad politics on our part. We should be trying to get something really useful, like ENDA, like hate crimes protection, like the end of DADT, like protecting funding for HIV/AIDS education and treatment, rather than pushing this problematic redefinition of marriage.

President Obama was not elected just with gay votes. And I would bet my a-- that more people who oppose gay marriage voted for Obama than those who support it. He said he did not support gay marriage in the campaign. So who is he obliged to on this issue? I don't think he has any responsibility to support gay marriage, and since I would like to see him re-elected, I hope he does not. If some gays don't want to vote for him for that, fine. I think he will have a better chance of winning even so.

My previous post is just saying let's not hyperbolize the arguments made in the DOJ brief. To say it equated homosexuality with incest is misleading and wrong. But that is just what people like Rachel Maddow, for instance, are promoting. It simply argued that there is legitimate precedent for one state not recognizing a marriage that is recognized in another state.

Mark

Just to be clear why some people are so viscerally opposed to same-sex marriage, even though they may support gay rights in other areas:

Marriage was instituted as a financial arrangement intending to hedge a risk and ensure that adequate provision is made for any children that might (accidentally or intentionally) be conceived when two people of the opposite sex have sex. It is supposed to make fathers bear responsibility for their offspring. In a just society, it is a prerequisite for sexual activity between partners of opposite sexes.

On the other hand, marriage without the possibility of having children is simply one person providing financial consideration to live their life with have sex with another person. Hence the reason why the medieval church viewed marriage with a sterile or barren partner as a form of prostitution.

Kevjack

For those who feel that gay leadership is asking for too much too soon-- they are, and that's what they're supposed to do!

Did our parents and grandparents sit back and wait for people to be ok with voting rights, public accompdations, employment non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and other pieces of the civil rights agenda? NO! They had to push for it, hold people's feet to the fire, and hold officials accountable. FD told us that power concedes nothing without demand. And we have to demand FULL equality. As Fannie once said "we didn't come all this way for no two seats." The people who want us to wait will have us waiting forever. This is always a problem in any civil rights movement. But if not now, when? If not us, who?

What are some of you waiting for? The manna is not going to fall from heaven, you have to demand it!

Luther

I'm not at all happy with this. I was at Costco yesterday in a LONG line and talking to this elderly white woman and health care came up and she tells me that she gets hers free for life as her husband was in the military or some government gig, so, why isn't he adding this to the mix? I don't see why it would be so hard, my partner had a job that allowed it, and, it was easy to do and I got rid of mine as his plan was 100 times better than mine, and it costs less than having to pay twice.

Many here and other sites are about marriage and other stuff, I want equality under the law on issues like health care, taxes, inheritance laws changed and pensions, but, the gay community is like the rest of America, we all have issues that are important to us that are not the same.

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