Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sent to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

At a press conference in December 2008, you described yourself as a fierce advocate for gay and lesbian Americans. At the time I was skeptical, having seen little evidence of fierce advocacy, particularly since the comment was in response to criticism of you inviting noted homophobe, misogynist, and religious bigot Rick Warren to speak at your inauguration.

Since that time, I have scoured the news for reports of your fierce advocacy. Here is what I have seen:

· Since April of 2008 your office has pledged to fight to overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, you could have issued an executive order restricting enforcement of DADT while working with the Democratic majority in Congress to overturn it. Instead, your administration has issued briefs supporting the policy and has backpedaled on your pledge, claiming that you are too occupied with the economy right now to do anything at all about DADT. Additionally, you made light of the situation at a fundraising dinner in Southern California when you joked that you couldn’t remember what promise the protesters outside were talking about.

· You have, on numerous occasions, expressed your desire to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. However, when faced with a challenge to DOMA, the Justice Department chose to respond by supporting the law, not just on the legitimate standing issue, but by comparing same-sex marriages to those between an uncle and niece and between an adult and a 16-year old. Language tying the marriage of two consenting, unrelated adults to those that are bordering on incest and pedophilia is what we have come to expect from homophobes, not allies.

· Perhaps in response to criticism of the above stances, your office announced that it will extend fringe benefits to federal employees in same-sex partnerships. However, since DOMA is still in effect, the federal government is barred from extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples. If no benefits will actually be extended, your announcement is an empty gesture.

In short, Mr. President, I have yet to see the promised fierce advocacy. I see political expedience, hollow promises, and appeals to bigotry. While I do not expect instantaneous change in long standing policies, I do expect you to take steps to fulfill the promises that were, after all, the reason I voted for you and not the Green Party ticket.

Until I see that your administration is taking steps to fulfill its promises to the LGBT community, my monetary support will go only to those candidates and organizations that are actively fighting to make substantive changes in the way the federal government treats LGBT citizens. You will receive no contributions. The Democratic Party as a whole will receive no contributions.

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