Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LGBT Leaders Visit the President

Barack Obama won the gay vote on a campaign of inclusiveness and fairness, but the administration has been very slow to make any actual policy decisions that benefit gay, lesbian, and transgender citizens. A recent brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act in the strongest way outraged almost every leader in the gay community, and some have turned against the entire administration as being hypocritical. Well, there is a kind of trend in following some of the more alarming policies of the Bush administration. A lot of people are worried.

Yesterday Obama invited a group of gay leaders to the White House. Here's The Post, page A1:
President Obama opened the doors of the White House to hundreds of gay and lesbian leaders yesterday, continuing his cautious outreach to a constituency that has loudly criticized his efforts on its behalf.

In an event in the East Room marking the 40th anniversary of the riots surrounding New York's Stonewall Inn, where gay patrons rose up against a police raid in Greenwich Village, Obama sought to reassure guests that he had not abandoned the issues important to them. He also drew a parallel between the progress gays and lesbians have made in recent decades and the struggles of black Americans to win equality.

"The truth is, when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago, no one could have imagined that you or, for that matter, I would be standing here today," Obama said, promising to continue to push to overturn several laws that are anathema to gay activists.

His comments were received enthusiastically by some attendees. "This is so incredibly historic and symbolic," Mitchell Gold, a gay rights activist from North Carolina, said after leaving the White House. "I don't think for a minute that we can forget that under the Bush administration we didn't see that."

Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist, said Obama gave "people confidence that he understood their movement, understood their struggle, and had a plan to do something about it." At White House, Obama Aims to Reassure Gays

It's true, you would not have seen such a gathering under the Bush administration. The issue, of course, is that so far Obama's gestures to the gay community have been symbolic. Gays are still being kicked out of the military, a marriage that is conducted in one state may not be recognized in another, there need to be equal rights in employment for LGBT people, there are lots of things that need to be done -- or undone -- and this administration has moved backwards, if anything, when it comes to real policy. The usual comment is that they need legislation, but the executive branch can do a lot to make that happen.

So -- you can expect that last sentence to be followed by the word "but."
But the excitement among many of the several hundred guests invited to the White House was tempered by frustration among some who say they think the president has moved too slowly to make good on his campaign promises.

That frustration has centered on Obama not taking quick, unilateral action to end discrimination against gays in the military and on his administration's support for a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

"Cocktail parties are fun, but if we are impatient, there's a reason," said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, who said he was not invited to the White House event. "There are a lot of us who believe in change but do not believe it is a passive word. It is an active word. There is a level of disappointment that exists."

He compared the Obama event to an unsatisfying meal, calling it "nouveau cuisine" and adding: "It costs a whole lot to get into the White House, but somehow, the meal feels unfulfilling."

Even Gold, who called the president "courageous" for holding the event, conceded that it did little to soothe the concerns of a community of people who expected Obama to change their world.

"It doesn't take away the pain that the Justice Department issued a brief equating gays to pedophiles and incest," he said. "It doesn't take the pain away that 'don't ask, don't tell' hasn't been sent to Congress to be repealed."

Obama confronted that criticism yesterday, renewing his campaign promises to overturn the military policy on gays, repeal the marriage act and pass a federal hate-crimes bill named for Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was slain in Wyoming in 1998.

"I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps," the president said to sustained applause. "We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."

I hear people say, he can't do everything all at once. And you know that civil rights issues are easy to push to the back burner. Like, c'mon, the guy's got unjustified war and a collapsing economy to worry about, never mind all these celebrities dying! I think the wise thing to do right now is to continue to put the pressure on, in a way that motivates policy-makers without alienating the straight public, but don't give up hope quite yet. There is a lot of time for good things to happen. The new guy said he was going to fix a few things, maybe he still intends to.

The fact that he met with this group tells you he's at least not trying to keep the whole issue hidden away. Let's see where this goes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

to put it all in perspective, Bush was never very aggressive about pushing pro-family issues either

say this for Bush though, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett didn't die while he was President

June 30, 2009 9:30 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

I think it is worth watching the event. It may be found on the White House website at



June 30, 2009 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Breaking news:

GOP's Coleman concedes, sending Franken to Senate By BRIAN BAKST, AP
posted: 11 MINUTES AGO

ST. PAUL, Minn. -Republican Norm Coleman conceded to Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's contested Senate race on Tuesday, ending a nearly eight-month recount and court fight over an election decided by only a few hundred votes.

June 30, 2009 4:39 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I was honored to be among the attendees, along with my son, David, and to get some face time with the President.

June 30, 2009 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Dana, did you tell him I said hi?

60 votes!

June 30, 2009 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any pictures confirming that, Dana?

June 30, 2009 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

That must have been too cool, Dana.

July 01, 2009 7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"60 votes!"

It's the magic "no-excuses" threshhold.

Looks like the Dems will have to take full reesponsibility for stuff like Daniel Inouye funneling bailout funds to a bank he owns that didn't qualify for them and Barney Frank "rolling the dice" with our mortgage industry.

No excuses.

July 01, 2009 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Barack Obama opened the White House to hundreds of gay activists Monday, promising them that by the time he leaves office they would "have pretty good feelings" about his administration.

During an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of what gay activists consider the launch of their political movement – several nights of violent riots in and around a New York gay bar – Obama rattled off several policies he plans to implement to please his homosexual constituency.

"I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises my administration keeps," he said. "We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over … you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."

Among those promises the president is pursuing, he said: Overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, passing a law to mandate health-care and other benefits to homosexual domestic partners, repealing "don't ask, don't tell" and even "rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status."

Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family Action's senior vice president of government and public policy, noted Obama also talked about passing a "hate-crimes" bill.

"That bill, which we've been battling for years successfully, has sinister language in it," Minnery explained. "This time, there will be language in the final form that has implications for pastors who want to preach on passages that deal with homosexuality, such as Romans 1."

It is conceivable, Minnery explained, that pastors could become parties to criminal prosecution if someone who has heard a pastor's message then goes out and commits a crime.

"Obviously, we are not in favor of anybody committing a violent crime against anybody for any reason," he said. "But if it's a crime against a homosexual, an attorney could trace the inducement for the crime back to a sermon, then a pastor might be implicated in that crime.

"That is sinister. That directly violates the First Amendment. Churches ought to be free to preach the Gospel."

Many pundits saw Monday's White House fete as Obama's effort to placate critics in the gay community who have expressed frustration – more loudly in recent weeks -- that he's not acted quickly enough to implement pro-gay policies. The president tried to cool those concerns.

"There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to step," he said. "And though we've made progress, there are still citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes, who fail to see your families like their families.

"It's not for me to tell you to be patient," he added, "any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a century ago."

Ironically, no less a civil rights icon – and unabashed liberal – as Jesse Jackson has said there is no comparison between blacks' struggle for equality and the agenda being pursued by homosexual activists, famously saying in 2004 that "gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution."

Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, said there's another important distinction.

"Homosexuality is not at all like an ethnic or racial issue -- no one is 'born gay,' and men and women with same-sex attractions can change," Johnston explained. "My own story of coming out of homosexuality is similar to hundreds and thousands of other men and women. We've been successful in reorienting our behavior, attractions and identity."

July 01, 2009 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

What are Jeff Johnston's credentials? Where did he study "gender issues?" Where does FOF find these people?

July 01, 2009 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he says he used to be afflicted with same sex attraction but has been cured

try the FOF website, they probably have some biographical stuff on him

July 01, 2009 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Cured like John Paulk?

July 01, 2009 12:02 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

.... and like Michael Johnston?

July 01, 2009 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

try the FOF website, they probably have some biographical stuff on him

The search function of both Citizanslink and FOF websites find no credentials or "biographical stuff" for Jeff Johnston. You're the one who quoted him. What makes him a "gender issues analyist?"

July 01, 2009 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll get right on it, Mr Anon-Bea, sir!

July 01, 2009 12:31 PM  
Anonymous fight the powers that be said...

Turns out Dr Johnston, a leading gender issues analyst, has served on the Boards of many organizations who serve the needs of those suffering from gender confusion, including prestigious institutions like Exodus International and PFOX.

Sounds like he knows what he's talking about!

July 01, 2009 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Thanks for the confirmation he has no degree or formal educataion. He's just another homophobic quack.

July 01, 2009 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thanks for the confirmation he has no degree or formal educataion."

Oh, he's worked with people who have suffered from this mental disease that makes one attracted to dangerous practices.

How many schools give degrees in transgenderism?

Medical schools don't teach about it.

He seemed to be aware of the experience that Johns Hopkins had, however.

Looks like he keeps up with research.

I know you don't read much but a lot of people learn a lot that way.

I guess your "formal educataion" didn't include spelling either.

July 01, 2009 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Serving on the boards of Exodus and PFOX: what a gem that would be on anyone's resume.

July 01, 2009 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Here's the DADT portion of the DOD's transcript of Secretary Gates' June 30, 2009 interview.

Press Conference with Secretary Gates En Route From Germany

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

June 30, 2009

...Q The president yesterday spoke again about "Don't ask, don't tell" and his desire to overturn it. When is the last time you spoke to him about it and the last time you had your staff speak about a timeline or any movement -- (inaudible) --

SEC. GATES: There was some discussion of it among the senior military during our Defense Senior Leadership Conference last week, and I think my last discussion with the president was probably last week as well.

Q And what was the level of that discussion? Was it just the same -- his desire or is it --

SEC. GATES: We were talking about how do we move forward on this to achieve his objective which is changing the policy and the issue that we face is that how do we begin to do preparations and simultaneously the administration move forward in terms of asking the Congress to change the law.

What we have is a law -- be it a policy or a regulation -- and as I discovered when I got into it, it's a very prescriptive law. It doesn't leave much to the imagination for a lot of flexibility.

And so one of the things we're looking at is is there flexibility in how we apply this law in terms of -- well, let me give you an example. Do we need to be driven when the information, to take action on somebody if we get that information from somebody who may have vengeance in mind or blackmail or somebody who has been jilted.

Q Somebody was outed without --

(Cross talk.)

SEC. GATES: Yeah. In other words, if somebody is outed by a third party, we have to -- does that force us to take an action? And I don't know the answer to that and I don't want to pretend to. But that's the kind of thing we're looking at to see if there's at least a more humane way to apply the law until the law gets changed.

Q Is that a legal question that has to be worked out?

SEC. GATES: I think it's a question of legal interpretation, yeah. So we've got the general counsel and others working on it...

July 01, 2009 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Serving on the boards of Exodus and PFOX: what a gem that would be on anyone's resume."

Drop the bias, Robo.

Just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean one size fits all.

Those who are afflicted and get helped by these groups are appreciative.

July 01, 2009 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drop the bias, Robo.

Practice what you preach.

July 01, 2009 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
The guy has no credentials so that works out fine for anon- who was going to presnet us with this faker's credentials. Calling himself Dr. like the psychic surgeons - what a cheat and loser.

Hey, is Richard Cohen still out there cuddling with his male patients?

July 02, 2009 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

PFOX' executive director has written and still has on her website a letter describing me (me, of all people) as a hypocrite, has erroneously described me as bringing my students to a protest of Love Won Out and encouraging them to use obscene language (simply not true; God knows where she got that), and has disclosed my personal medical details given to her privately in an email to her pals at CRC, so they could post them on their website.

One hates to hold grudges (one really does; hatred over time degrades ones personality, as you know well), but PFOX has treated me personally, explicitly, and publicly in a very unprofessional and unchristian way. As I said, having PFOX board membership in ones history is not something I would boast of in my curriculum vitae.

It's not bias, dear. I have specific personal reasons to think less than absolutely kindly of PFOX and their representatives.

July 02, 2009 8:29 PM  

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