Prognosis for LGBT Civil Rights Agenda

Jim Burroway

January 24th, 2009

Barack Obama's LGBT Civil Rights ScorecardThe Washington Blade has reported on a prognosis of Barack Obama’s LGBT Civil Rights Agenda. House and Senate figures believe that a Hate Crimes Bill could be on President Obama’s desk by this summer, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act could be ready for his signature by the fall.

The timetable for repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is less certain. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) intends to introduce legislation for its repeal in the next few weeks, with many expecting it to be repealed sometime this year. However, Barney Frank recently suggested that its repeal may have to wait until U.S. troops are out of Iraq.

As for the rest of the civil rights agenda, things are much murkier. Granting Civil Union-like federal rights probably won’t happen this year, and lawmakers agree that the votes to repeal DOMA aren’t there.


January 24th, 2009

Instead of putting off a vote for repeal of the military ban, why not add a clause that ties full enactment to the Iraq pull-out or even a period of say 2 years after the date it’s signed into law? I hate to make such a compromise but am willing to do so to ensure that DADT is killed. I’m concerned that if we put this off some excuse will come up why it can’t be done during Obama’s first term and the GOP, or GOP with enough conservative Dems, will have enough seats by then to block repeal.

David C.

January 24th, 2009

I hate to make such a compromise but am willing to do so to ensure that DADT is killed.

It is generally accepted as fact that the reason Clinton got stuck with DADT was that he did not first get buy-in from the military. Had he done that, we may not be having this discussion now. The very best way to ensure that DADT gets repealed in a timely fashion is to first get the military to endorse that repeal.

The Joint Chiefs are preparing for this to happen, but it needs to be done with the correct safeguards in place for the sake of Gay military personnel, and for that matter, all military personnel. Rushing to get this done helps nobody, particularly Gay people because mishandling this issue again is a recipe for the same kind of disaster Clinton had to deal with. Worse, Gay people might not fare any better inside a giant military bureaucracy unprepared for their open service.

Granting Civil Union-like federal rights probably won’t happen this year, and lawmakers agree that the votes to repeal DOMA aren’t there.

The chances for repeal of DOMA and DADT are likely to be improved once a Hate Crimes Bill is passed. That legislation, if well crafted, might even ultimately necessitate the repeal of DADT, DOMA, and most other legislation that could be construed as anti-Gay or anti-any-other protected class.

The repeal of DADT might not be the first domino to fall in the unravelling of legal anti-gay social conservatism, but once it goes, the move towards full rights for Gay people will begin to accelerate in this country. As that happens, the legal exportation of bigotry against Gay people by the US will be considerably curtailed. This will finally bring the United States in line with the developed Western World.


January 24th, 2009

I find this prognosis interesting but not at all surprising.

So hate crimes legislation and employment non-discrimination are on the top of the Dems agenda while recognizing gay couples and repealing DADT remain in limbo.

I fail to find this surprising because the proposed ENDA and hate crimes laws amount to an increase in federal power over all of us. Granting some recognition to gay couples who are legally wed in their states and allowing open service by homosexuals doesn’t expand federal power.

The Democrats love power and worship big government; they are here acting according to form. What increases their power is a top priority; what doesn’t increase their power is a non-issue.

And the really sad thing — especially for those gays who habitually vote for the Democrats — is that the two top priorities will do far less for homophiles in American than the measures Congress can’t work up the gumption to act on!

(And remember this is a Democratic Congress that saw it’s Democrat majority increase! Yes, those Dems really do love the gay folk, don’t they?)

Employment non-discrimination laws only force employers to hide their prejudices. And in a country where most large employers already have policies to protect gay employees, what will a law that will exempt small employers accomplish? Not much.

As for hate crimes laws, just what are they supposed to accomplish. The actual crimes are already illegal. I’m sure such laws are as effective in stopping such offenses as rape laws are at stopping rape.

Measures like allowing open military service by gays and allowing people to sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration would be the US government ending its own official denigration of homosexuality. But never mind that, the Dems have to enlarge the federal government yet again.

The true priorities of the Democratic Party are being shouted loud and clear here.


January 25th, 2009

David C: The Dems have zero credibility with me when it comes to DADT. I do not trust them to really come back and repeal it once they postpone the matter. As for Clinton, the less said about the spineless bastard the better.

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