a new day in Washington


Yesterday Greg and I watched with pride as Barack Obama became our 44th President. Almost simultaneously, whitehouse.gov changed from the Bush site to the Obama site. And there it was, plain as day and easy to find, not buried behind a ton of sub-headings, President Obama’s agenda on Civil Rights. And there, a comprehensive and affirming approach to equal rights for members of the LGBT community. It’s amazing, it’s there in print, it’s a roadmap to a more equal America. I could not be more proud that this was the person that I voted for and placed a lot of my hopes and dreams for the future on.
Now, let’s get to work and make these statements a reality.

from whitehouse.gov

Support for the LGBT Community

“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in
1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT
rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core,
this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this
nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by
treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”

— Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

  • Expand Hate Crimes Statutes:
    In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest
    category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of
    such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand
    federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because
    of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender
    identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama
    passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit
    them against the law.
  • Fight Workplace Discrimination:
    President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and
    believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be
    expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an
    increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their
    employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual
    orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The
    President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that
    would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples:
    President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples
    legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama
    also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact
    legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and
    benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended
    to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized
    unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved
    one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and
    other employment benefits, and property rights.
  • Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage:
    President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006
    which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and
    prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or
    other unmarried couples.
  • Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell:
    President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
    Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to
    repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The key test for military
    service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to
    serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has
    spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military
    because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300
    language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than
    50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military
    leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our
    national defense goals.
  • Expand Adoption Rights:
    President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all
    couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He
    thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home,
    whether the parents are gay or not.
  • Promote AIDS Prevention:
    In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and
    begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that
    includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce
    HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health
    disparities. The President will support common sense approaches
    including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about
    contraception, combating infection within our prison population through
    education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through
    our public health system. The President also supports lifting the
    federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates
    of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to
    confront the stigma — too often tied to homophobia — that continues
    to surround HIV/AIDS.
  • Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS:
    In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has
    quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than
    one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced
    the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development
    of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides
    are a class of products currently under development that women apply
    topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

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