Friday, November 7, 2008

Change(.gov) That Includes Us, Too

Even as the LGBT community continues to deal with the aftershocks of ballot measures, approved by voters on Tuesday, rolling back and blocking fundamental rights for our families, there is reason to take solace following the historic election of 2008. Yesterday, President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden unveiled their transition website, Change.gov, and their blueprint for the new Administration.

And, for the first time in a long time, the blueprint includes us, too.

As part of their civil rights agenda spelled out on the website, Obama and Biden include two specific, much-needed and long-awaited goals of our community: Employment non-discrimination and a federal hate crimes law.

The new Administration, they pledge, "will also pass . . . the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression," and, the site says, "Obama and Biden will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation, expand hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act, and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section."

The new Administration's pledge - following strong support on the campaign trail for also repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - is a welcome breath of fresh air in Washington, where such critical issues have struggled to pass and faced veto threats from the Bush Administration if they did.

Though there are many challenges facing our country - including a struggling economy, wars abroad and a global environmental crisis - we take heart, and hope, in the fact that our families are included in a new agenda, too.

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