Tuesday, October 4, 2011

President Obama Addresses LGBT Equality, LGBT Progress at the HRC Annual Dinner


This Saturday, October 1st, President Obama addressed a passionate audience of nearly 3,000 LGBT supporters at the Human Rights Campaign’s Annual National Dinner. After joking about a recent meeting with Lady Gaga in California—“she was wearing 16-inch-heels”—the President began his concise yet inspiring speech. Within the first moments our President voiced his statement of inclusivity:

“Every single American- gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender- every single American deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of our society. It’s a pretty simple proposition.”

The President listed a set of historic moments for the LGBT community which occurred over the past two years, continually stating his commitment to providing a safe and equal America for all. These included the passage of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the order stating all hospitals who receive Medicare or Medicaid must treat “gay partners just as they do straight partners,” the lift on the HIV travel ban as well as the first national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, the administration’s denouncement of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the White House summit on bullying. Yes, the progress made in America has benefited our families and children in many direct and indirect ways. Our nation has truly come a long way in two short years. However, we still have more to fight for.

Though our President made grand declarations of support for LGBT rights he neglected two crucial pieces of legislation which affect American families and their children: the Every Child Deserves A Family Act (ECDF) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). These proposed laws need the national attention and support of our Commander in Chief and are overdue for passage in our government. The basic needs of our children--- a place to sleep, food, education, a loving family—are being limited because of discrimination within foster and adoption agencies.

Briefing on the Bills:

  • Every Child Deserves a Family: ECDF seeks to limit funding for states that discriminate against possible parents based on marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity (as well as the sexual and/or gender identity of the children being placed).
  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act: Without ENDA, working people are subject to termination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; imagine what could happen to family if their primary source of income was suddenly gone.

These two bills are necessary to obtaining full LGBT equality.

We hope that our President continues his brave support against strong opposition in the upcoming election year. If you have time, thank our President for his welcoming and inspiring remarks this past Saturday, and remind him of the work that still needs to be done. We as Americans have the right to voice our concerns and fight for the rights we and our loved ones deserve.

As our President said Saturday night: “It's progress led, not by Washington, but by ordinary citizens who are propelled, not just by politics, but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard.”


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