I just heard Harry Knox from the Human Rights Campaign on CNN state that Barack Obama has just told gays and lesbians that they are not welcome. This is not only obnoxious and silly, but factually it is not the case:
Barack Obama and Gay Rights in Illinois:
Barack Obama supported gay rights during his Illinois Senate tenure. He sponsored legislation in Illinois that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Barack Obama in the United States Senate:
Every two years the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay and lesbian organization, issues a scorecard for members of the Senate based on their sponsorship and voting on key issues of importance to gay and lesbian citizens. Barack Obama scored 89 out of 100% in the 2006 scorecard. Here’s how HRC rated Barack Obama:
Barack Obama on Hate Crimes:
Barack Obama co-sponsored legislation to expand federal hate crimes laws to include crimes perpetrated because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes it should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – Gays in the Military:
Barack Obama believes we need to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. His campaign literature says, “The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve.”
Gay & Lesbian Adoption:
Barack Obama believes gays and lesbians should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexuals.
Barack Obama and Gay Marriage/ Civil Unions:
Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”
Barack Obama did vote against a Federal Marriage Amendment and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.
He said he would support civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as letting individual states determine if marriage between gay and lesbian couples should be legalized.
“Giving them a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn’t cause discrimination,” Obama said. “I think it is the right balance to strike in this society.”
Blade: You have called for the full repeal of DOMA. If elected president, will you introduce legislation calling for its repeal during your first year in office?
Obama: I have long been on record opposing DOMA, and an Obama-Biden administration will work hard to ensure that we can pass a repeal of that law as soon as possible.
Blade: Do you think repeal of all of DOMA would, in fact, prompt Congress to strongly consider and possibly pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage?
Obama: Again, I think this issue ties in to who controls Congress. And a Democratic Congress that enacts a repeal of DOMA would not be likely to pass a Constitutional ban on gay marriage — partly because our party rejects enshrining discrimination and divisive distinctions among citizens into our founding documents.
Blade: If DOMA is repealed fully or in part, the federal government most likely still could not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships performed by states. Would you ask Congress to pass federal enabling legislation that would require the federal government to recognize civil unions and/or domestic partnerships performed by states so that same-sex couples joined in civil unions or domestic partnerships could obtain the same federal rights and benefits of marriage that you have called for?
Obama: I support the notion that all people — gay or straight — deserve the same rights and responsibilities to assist their loved ones in times of emergency, deserve equal health insurance and other employment benefits currently extended to heterosexual married couples, and deserve the same property rights as anyone else.
If elected, I would call on Congress to enact legislation that would repeal DOMA and ensure that the over 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.
With all due respect to Kos, the outrage the past two days has not woken up Obama- he has not wavered at all, and his record on these issues has been steady and true for over a decade. Additionally, the bigger story to me would also be this:
An Atlanta civil rights icon will play a very visible role in the historic and star-studded inauguration of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.
A congressional committee announced late Wednesday that the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a stalwart of the civil rights movement and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, will deliver the benediction.
Someone who is not supportive of gay marriage or wholly receptive to gay rights is not something new- Billy Graham was no champion of gay rights, and I seriously doubt there has ever been anyone giving the invocation that openly supported gay marriage or gay rights. On the other hand, an open advocate for gay marriage is giving the Benediction, and that has never happened before.
This is not a slap in the face to gays, and despite what that buffoon at the HRC says, this is not Obama telling homosexuals they are unwelcome. This is what progress looks like- the last Democratic President signed DOMA and passed DADT. Again, I completely understand why some may be upset at the selection of Warren to give a one minute speech, but it just looks like this is not a big deal to me. What Obama has done in elected office in the past and what he does after the inauguration are the things we should focus on, not a small nod to the evangelical right in the spirit of inclusiveness.
To close on a humorous note, this made me laugh out loud:
I’m hoping that the Revererend Wright parachutes on stage just as Rick “Pus-Driven Life” Warren is about to give the invocation, and then he says “THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINE, BITCHES” and starts spraying machine gun fire. Then he and Hopey make up over Warrens bullet-riddled corpse and they start handing out guns to the crowd from big ass crates marked USSR and “Fidel Forever.” The end.
*** Update ***
All it took was two glasses of wine, and I am ready to have hot gay man on man sex with Joe Klein:
I have no problem with Barack Obama asking Reverend Rick to deliver a prayer at the Inauguration. It will have zero–repeat, zero–impact on the policies of the Obama Administration. And it may do some good, especially if it gives pause to all those people who think that I–and the crypto-Muslim Barack Obama–are going to hell…If it causes those folks to give the new President just the slightest credit for appreciating their worldview, if it causes them to give him the benefit of the doubt on controversial stuff like talking to the Iranians or universal health insurance, then it’s worth it. If it causes evangelicals to say, “Well, he’s not demonizing us, maybe we shouldn’t demonize him,” it’s worth it. If it makes Rush Limbaugh’s toxic blather about our next President seem even the slightest bit ridiculous and over-the-top to his idiot legion of ditto heads, it’s worth it.
The thing is, Obama is trying to change the nature of public discourse from the raw blast it has been for the past 20 years to something more civil and tolerable. You sense that every time he opens his mouth. He’s all for opening doors. I don’t know how many of ultra-conservative evangelicals will walk through the door he is opening by having one of their most popular leaders join the inaugural celebration, but I appreciate his inclusive intent. Even if I think there is an insurmountable roadblock to heaven–I’d guess it’s about like the relationship between a camel and the eye of a needle–for those who make blanket judgments about which of us is going to hell.
After Edwards went down, progressives flocked to Obama for many reasons, one of which was his rejection of the 50+1 strategy of the Clinton campaign and failed previous Democratic endeavors. Now, Obama is reaching out, giving a symbolic nod to the right, and people are freaking the fuck out.
More here. Pay attention to the last paragraph.