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May 10, 2009


President Barack Obama's exhilarating victory last November seemed to almost instantly inflate a sense of overwhelming pride and indomitable optimism throughout most of this country - and, indeed, the world.

Finally, after eight abysmal years of rampant arrogance, secrecy and stunning disregard for the very constitution that is the heart and soul of this nation, we could see light piercing through the darkness.

For the LGBT community, it was a particularly heady time of real hope for our future. Here we had a man elected President of the United States who had strongly and unabashedly voiced support for our community - for us.

He spoke openly, frequently and eloquently throughout the long, drawn-out campaign about the necessity for fair and equal treatment under the law. And not just for some amorphous group of rights but for GAY rights - specifically! He even went so far as to pledge to be a "fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans."

It is true, Mr. President, that you have done more than any other sitting president to appoint qualified, openly gay professionals as heads of many important departments, agencies and pivotal positions within your administration. Although it is still disappointing that there were no cabinet level appointments even though there were several highly qualified, openly gay candidates.

It is also true that you did issue a strong public statement urging Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard Act. And I'm sure that your comments had a lot to do with swaying some of the undecideds to join the majority when they passed this legislation on April 29th.

It is however, very disappointing that two of the most important actions you vowed to vigorously pursue have yet to show any real progress.

Everyday there are more and more legally married and legally "partnered" gay couples and families establishing their relationships in cities and rural communities throughout this country. And even though this is a very positive trend, everyone of those couples continue to face a myriad of challenges and very real hardships caused by the so-called Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA).

This is something you vowed to "vigorously" work toward the repeal of. So far, there seems to have been no visible effort on your part to help bring about this promised action. Granted, this is something that must be done by Congress but now, with your new, formidable position as President of the most powerful nation on earth, you could certainly push, prod and cajole enough members of both houses to bring this issue to a resolution instead of allowing them to sidestep and doublespeak their way around it.

Also, as you well know, there are still highly patriotic, skilled and exhaustively trained members of the armed services being discharged for no other reason than their status as gay Americans. When this happens, not only is the country itself harmed but good people like West Point graduate, Iraq war veteran, and Arab linguist, Lt. Choi or Second Lieutenant Sandy Tsao (who you wrote to personally) and thousands like them have their lives totally disrupted and their dreams of serving their country honorably and with dignity crushed by this illogical and harmful policy.

This is, to me, probably the most disturbing of all of the gay civil rights issues because this is something that you, as Commander and Chief, have the immediate power to stop. Right now. Today.

Granted, it may take some time to workout the implementation of ending the DADT policy altogether. But, in the meantime, a simple order from the President/Commander & Chief to "temporarily" stop these callous discharges until the details and legalities of ending this policy can be worked out would put an immediate end to the indiscriminate "punishment" of the distinguished, dedicated men and women now serving our country.

This can easily be justified under the auspices of protecting and maintaining military readiness in the midst of two wars being fought in Arabic/Muslim nations. How many missions were botched and how many lives were lost for no other reason than the fact that our forces simply didn't understand the languages and/or cultures within the fields of battle.

This IS something you can do right now, Mr President.

Yes. You can.