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05 October 2009

Comments

Chris Cruz

Bravo Mr President!

That's good news, very pleased to hear this.

I will be eagerly awaiting to hear his speech ... and what he and the White House plan to get ENDA and a DADT repeal.

CC

I really hope that there will not be any smoke & mirrors being blown @ the HRC event.

Randall

"Obama becomes only the second sitting president to speak before the nations' largest LGBT civil rights organization. The first: President Bill Clinton in 1997."

once he was done running for office. and that went so well for us too. shall we hope for more?

D. Askew

No speeches please, just pass the bills.

Pass ENDA.
Repeal DOMA.
Repeal DADT.
Pass Matthew Shepherd Act.

I believe these were campaign promises. So, that should get done ASAP.

GRANT

Why now? The president is speaking to HRC because he has been pressured to do something by the same gay "bloggers" and "activists" who are regularly criticized on the blogs.

Congratulations, I'm looking forward to a great speech followed up by lots of action.

elg

"No speeches please, just pass the bills. ..."

Regardless of what Obama promised (or didn't promise) during the campaign, the president of the U.S. does NOT "pass" bills.

In order for a bill to get passed you need 218 votes in the House of Representatives and 60 votes in the U.S Senate.

A president either signs the bill or vetoes the bill (IF and WHEN it reaches his desk).

The point is, Obama does not walk on water. He is not the messiah. He does not take the place of Congress. He CANNOT take the place of Congress.

Danny Rivera

"Regardless of what Obama promised (or didn't promise) during the campaign, the president of the U.S. does NOT "pass" bills."

Au contraire. You're right, the executive branch doesn't "pass" bills. But the president and the White House can submit bills (budget, Defense etc) and surely can lobby for bills. Example: The White House is furiously lobbying ONE republican senator (Snowe) to support their healthcare bill.

Another example: Obama and the White House lobbied Snowe, Collins and Specter to vote for the stimulus.

The President is the LEADER of his party and the leader of the free world. If the president (Obama) wants a bill submitted, or some more senators or congressmen to support a bill, it gets done. Thats what they're doing with HCR now. If he doesnt want a bill introduced... like Hastings DADT amendment ... he can get it killed if he wants.

POTUS can also influence state elections like what he is trying to do in New York state. Obama can get a bill "passed' the same way he can get the governor he wants... by making calls and applying pressure.

I love this theory of the accidental bystander president.. He just sits there, twiddling his thumbs and waits for bills. He has no agenda, no priorities,m he just waits. You keep telling yourself that ELG, just like you have been insisting BLACKS were responsible for Prop 8(because of an exit poll) and argued with Rod that there were NO gay black leaders in NYC.

Keep telling yourself Obama has nothing to do with the snails pace on hate crimes, ENDA, or DADT.

Faison

@ ELG:

You don't need 60 votes in the senate to pass bills. That's to vote for cloture and prevent and filibuster. Many bills are passed with less than 60 votes.

So are you saying that Obama and the White House have absolutely nothing to do healthcare reform? Baucus is not their hand picked point man in the senate? What about climate, are they 'working' on getting that done? Or waiting for a bill?

Just curious. What does Rahm Emmeanuel do all do? Does he ever call congressmen and seantor? Does he ever do a whip count?

Faison

Oh and you DID claim several times that blacks were responsible for Prop 8 in California because an exit poll said so. That talking point is just as accurate as claims that the president has no power to influence legislation.

Maybe they believe that on BV or Yahoo groups. We're a little too swift for that over here.

Derrick from Philly

The President's appearance before a gay civil rights organization is important--especially if it makes the news. People see that he's sees Gay Americans as legitimate group with legitimate rights to civil rights. He sets the tone.

It seems to me that during the Clinton years many employers and local governments began policies of anti-discrimination protections for gay people (I could be wrong and I'm sure some "child" will let me know). The President sets the tone--hopefully, most of the nation will follow.

I still believe that federal judges will have the greatest impact on gay people's civil rights in decisions that will come before them over the next decade. I want those judges (and hopefully 3 more Supreme Court judges) appointed by Barack Obama.

elg

D. Askew said, "No speeches please, just pass the bills. ..." as if Obama can "pass" a bill all by himself. My initial comment was a direct response to Askew's comment which implied that getting the bills in question passed was ENTIRELY up to the president.

Danny Rivera said:
"You keep telling yourself that ELG, just like you have been insisting BLACKS were responsible for Prop 8(because of an exit poll) and argued with Rod that there were NO gay black leaders in NYC."

My response:
What do my previous comments, which you have misinterpreted and taken out of context, from a year or more ago have to do with THIS thread? And I have NEVER "argued" with Rod over anything. That is an outright LIE.

Faison said:
"So are you saying that Obama and the White House have absolutely nothing to do healthcare reform?"

My response:
No. At the end of the day, it takes a certain number of votes in the House of Representatives AND a certain number of votes in the U.S. Senate to "pass" a bill. Presidents do not "pass" bills. Does that mean that the president and/or his staff have nothing to do with the legislative process? No. It means that lobbying the president is important but lobbying our congresspeople about LGBT issues is JUST AS important if not MORE important.

Faison said:
"Oh and you DID claim several times that blacks were responsible for Prop 8 in California because an exit poll said so."

My response:
I don't have the exact comment but I know I did not say that blacks were solely responsible for the passage of Prop. 8 in California.

Dalton

@ Derrick: No reading from me. You're absolutely right. The president sets the agenda and sets the tone.

The anti-discrimination policies are a great example. During the 90s, many companies started these and many state, county and federal governments followed. This was after Clinton banned LGBT discrimination in hiring.

I'm also going to agree that Derrick is absolutely right about appointing federal judges. That is one of the biggest powers of the executive branch and among the reasons why we have some of the rights we do.

@ ELG: Your comment is classic projection. No one is asking for Obama to walk on water. And that's funny because all the people saying now are the main ones who once believed that. We're just asking for him to show some leadership, do his job and fulfill at least some of his promises. Leadership means leading, not following. If the president is so irrelevant and has so little power why are you defending him?

So in this random universe where POTUS has no legislative influence ... does he veto hundreds of bills every year? Or does the White House tell Senate or House leaders what he will or won't sign? Did George Bush operate this way during the six years when GOP ran Congress?

Here's a suggestion. Why don't spend as much time arguing FOR equality and gay rights as you do arguing to defend Obama. 'Cuz we still don't have any rights on the federal level, ya know. Just a thought.

I'm looking forward to the president speaking at HRC. I think its very symbolic and hopefully the beginning of his engagement with the LGBT community. I'd love to see more action but hopefully this will spark some great debate and we can move forward.

Colin

This is very good news.

It's a speech but it is very symbolic and he might even take a few questions.

I'll be glad to see some action, tho.

Bravo to the president Obama. And congrats HRC and gay activists. Your work made this happen.

Chitown Kev

@Derrick from Philly

LOL. I agree with you about federal judges.

Not so sure about local and anti-discrimination ordinances, I believe that really took headway in the mid-80's on up into Clinton's first term. (With private companies, you would be right). I also think that there were some advances even during Bush's term at the local level; I know that our statewide ENDA here in Illinois happened when Bush was President (thanks, in part, to State Senator Obama).

We probably won't know exactly what tone has been set by Obama until after he leaves office, though. As of this moment, I think that Obama is sending a bit of a mixed message.

elg

@Dalton said:
"If the president is so irrelevant and has so little power why are you defending him?"

My response:
I NEVER said that the president is "irrelevant".

@Dalton said:
"Why don't spend as much time arguing FOR equality and gay rights as you do arguing to defend Obama."


My response:
From 1986 to about 1992 or 1993, I was a "black gay activist" (if I have to put a label on my activities during that period) in Cincinnati, Ohio, the county seat of Hamilton County. Southwestern Ohio is a VERY conservative area. I did many things during that time including: 1) march in gay demonstrations in Cincy, Columbus, Ohio and Washington, DC; 2) I gave money to various gay causes; 3) I spoke out publicly in 1992 against an anti-gay amendment to Cincy's city charter. When it was a ballot initiative it was called Issue 3 and when it was voted into law in 1992 it was Article 12 of the city charter. (Cincy voters got rid of Article 12 in 2004); 4) I was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Issue 3 in 1992 challenging the constitutionality of that anti-gay initiative - the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (after a 5 year process, we lost); 5) organized a black gay men's group in 1987 that lasted for about 4 years, etc. I've done other things as well, too many to mention them all here.

I finally walked away from being an "activist" not just because of the homophobia from straights (which was very painful but expected) but more because of the relentless, criticism/attacks from other gay people (which was not expected). I've done my part and paid my dues, regardless of what you and others say, so don't tell me what I should or should not be doing for "the cause".

It's nobody's business, but I voted for Hillary Clinton in Ohio's primary election last year. So I am not the Obama "fan" that you and others may think I am. Of course, I voted FOR Obama/Biden on 11-4-08. I feel that we should be holding ALL of our elected officials (especially Dems) in Washington accountable, not just Obama. I will not back away from that position.

Derrick from Philly

Thanks,elg:

I think your history of service speaks for itself (and you're still in your twenties, if I remember correctly).

We can all disagree, but I wish we could respect each others opinions. Your un-selfish activism and service demands respect. You've got mine, and so does Danny, Grant, Dalton, Chris--those we disagree with on our President's pace & strategy.

Derrick from Philly

"...respect each others opinions"

No, that's silly. We don't have to respect each other's opinions--just respect each other and not resort to useless personal attack--that's all.

elg

Thank you, Derrick. I appreciate your wisdom and your sense of humor.

libhomo

There will be queer picketers outside. Queers voted for Obama in the primaries and we still got Hillary Clinton anyway.

Sigh.

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