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Candidate Obama Addresses HRC

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2009

Barack Obama at the HRCWhen he becomes President, he’s going to sign the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, he’ll sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it ever sees the light of day, and sometime during his presidency he’s going to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Oh, and he’s gonna appoint a gay ambassador or two, and we’re all invite to the big Easter Egg roll.

Seriously, I guess it was a good speech — a great one considering that it reflects the sentiment of a sitting president. “My commitment to you is unwavering,” he said, and I actually believe it as far as the speech goes. Which makes it a home-run of a speech when compared to previous Presidents’ speeches I can name. And I really like the way he promised to stand behind his LGBT appointees against a blistering attack by the right.

And we must not lose sight of the fact that he is appearing before a major LGBT advocacy group. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall a president speaking before, say, Focus On the Family or at the Values Voter Summit. Obama’s presence at the HRC made for about an hour’s worth of video tape which can be used by his opponents in 2010 and 2012. Meanwhile his remarks will be discussed on Sunday morning talk shows and news outlets across America among the larger American audience who really hasn’t been much engaged in these issues. The topics he raised went out to a much broader audience, and not just to the LGBT people and their allies in that room. These are no small things. Let’s take a moment to be grateful for it.



Okay. Moment’s over. I think we’ve all heard this speech before. It’s an oldie but goodie. I’ll never tire of hearing it. But the great thing about being President is that he can do a whole lot more than just give speeches to the diehard faithful. Now that, you know, he’s actually President, he has a tremendous bully pulpit with Congress — and with voters in Maine and Washington (which, by the way, he didn’t mention). There are some Executive Orders he can sign on DADT, and some DOJ briefs on DOMA he can influence. You know, Presidential executive-type stuff. Action-type stuff.

I hope this time next year, we’ll get to hear from President Obama, not Candidate Obama.

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October 10th, 2009 | LINK

Am I seriously supposed to be impressed he’ll repeal DADT ‘sometime’? Something other countries did a DECADE ago?

President Spineless is just vomiting up more empty promises. I want him to actually do something, to condemn the bigots, and theirs absolutely no reason for it besides bigotry, denying us marriage and other rights. but that might cost him votes and its not like we can go republican, so he won’t do a goddamn thing.

Rick in Kansas
October 10th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t know what annoyed me more, yet another round of lip service from the President, or the crowd at the HRC letting him get way with it. It’s probably a good thing he didn’t try to give this blow job to the crowd at the equality march tomorrow, there would be a well deserved riot in the streets. When given the chance to mend fences with our community he chooses to give us the same speech he’s essentially been trotting out before gay audiences since the freaking Democratic primaries. While this may have been enough for the adoring sycophants who are still wasting their money on the HRC, it wasn’t nearly enough for those of us far less privileged.

There was no mention of state ballot measures attempting to strip equality from same sex couples in Washington and Maine. There was no time table even hinted at for an end to DA/DT, let lone an immediate end to the on-going dismissals, which IS within the power of the President to accomplish. That is if he really wanted to. Nothing but his previous promise to repeal DOMA, not even one word of support for the repeal legislation already in Congress. In the biggest insult of the evening, the only use of the words married or marriage was in reference to opposite sex couples, gay couples were relegated to “relationships”.

While I realize that he’s better than we had, that really doesn’t take much doing and he’s not doing much. This speech was nothing short of insulting on so many different levels, offering us nothing more than the table scraps we had already been offered but still haven’t been given. While I hope that we’ll all be able to look back at the Obama administration and admire his accomplishments, but as it stands right now, that look back is looking pretty dismal….

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

Two wars,health care,the economy,and a conservative opposition that is without question pigheadedly unmoving.We are not all Mr. Obama has to deal with.
I say give him a reasonable amount of time to come across with his promises. He hasn’t been in office one year yet.
Rome,as they say,wasn’t built in a day.If in a years time nothing has happened,I will join the chorus of “he’s another in the long line of promise breakers”.Until then, good speech Mr. President.

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

So what you’re saying Eddie is that we elected a simpleton unable to multi-task?

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

Now John you know the president is just so busy, so incredibly busy he cant take less than 10 seconds to give his support to Maine or Washington. And of course he’ll be ‘busy’ until the day he leaves office!

Ben in Oakland
October 11th, 2009 | LINK

Unfortunately, what I expected, which was not all that much.

He’s better than bush, but you would have to be a complete effin’ idiot not to be.

All I can do is wait, at this point. but I suspect this life-long democrat– I’ve voted for only two republicans in my life– may not be staying with the party forever.

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

Even President Jimmy Carter took the time to say “Vote no on the Briggs initiative.” when he came to visit California back in the 70’s.

Why can’t Obama just say as much with Prop. 1 in Maine and then tell Washington state that they should approve ref. 71, especially since Ref. 71 is ALL about domestic partnerships!

Since it’s not even granting “marriage”, Obama should be all for Ref. 71!!!

Timothy Kincaid
October 11th, 2009 | LINK


Well I’d rather have the hope of possibly empty promises than active opposition. There, that’s my happy spin on things.

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, I agree with Timothy.

My husband and I (06/27/08 – San Diego, CA) just watched President Obama’s speech at the HRC dinner and I must admit that we were very moved by it.

No, we aren’t happy that DOMA is still in full effect right now.

No, we aren’t happy that DADT is still in full effect right now.

And NO, we are not happy with a whole host of anti-equality over most of America.

But, President Obama has to be given praise for at least speaking with us and speaking in “favor” of us.

The opposite of which would be to have a national/world leader speaking against us, telling us that we are an abomination and that there should be more laws to eliminate or limit or rights and to strengthen existing laws against ANY possible judicial actions.

Given this example, I really do feel that we still have some flicker of hope, versus total darkness under some kind of “Bush 2” type of administration.

But, even President Obama himself stated to not become complacent and to keep lighting fires under the feet of our elected representatives to actively work to enact our equality!

October 11th, 2009 | LINK

I wrote to the White House telling them that I appreciate the words, but President Obama won’t get my support in 2012 if there is no action to back up his words.

October 12th, 2009 | LINK

Well, yes.

But things will different AFTER he is elected. He just doesn’t want to scare the horses beforehand. We can all appreciate how that works. Also, he’ll probably need a strong position on that ‘The Hill’ thingy; and what chance is there that this will happen?

Remind me again: your elections are in November sometime aren’t they?

And if you’ll forgive me for making only a flying visit, but I have to catch a slow boat to China. Cheers.

ps: standard reminder: our gay soldiers serve openly. Which must make sharing showers with our American allies rather awkward. They are probably so freaked out that an Aussie might be checking out their (frightened) equipment they’ll probably forget to worry about IED’s, or flak jackets, or breakfast, or something. And that’s no way to run an army.

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