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June 6, 2009


On May 10th I posted a blog article chastising President Obama for not taking any visible action to end the DADT policy despite overwhelming public support to repeal it and his numerous and clearly stated intentions to do just that when he was elected.

Two days later, on May 12th, I posted another story about the new study published by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that said the President does, indeed, have the authority to end DADT on his own authority.

The study said that the Commander-In-Chief already has the statutory authority to halt military separations under 10 U.S.C. § 12305, a law which Congress titled, “Authority of President to suspend certain laws relating to promotion, retirement, and separation.”

More importantly, the study also said that the provisions of the "stop-loss" law, which are granted by Congress, give the President authority to "suspend laws relating to separation when a national emergency has strained personnel requirements.” This is something that can be done immediately by the President alone.

So, given the fact that it has been almost a full month since this new information was made public, why hasn't Obama issued that order?

Well, according to a video piece (see below) posted at The Daily Beast by award winning gay journalist Jason Bellini, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other "mainstream" gay rights organizations had reached an agreement with the White House to support delaying action on the DADT repeal until some of the other pressing GLBT rights legislation has been passed. To lend credence to this has been the HRC's somewhat milquetoast efforts to hold the administration's feet to the fire to get this repeal accomplished as promised.

Of course HRC immediately issued a statement denying that any deal was made. But despite that denial, many people in the gay community, especially the newest and youngest activists and activist organizations felt that there might be some truth to the accusation because blogs and websites burned up the internet with condemnations and accusations against HRC for not truly representing the goals of the now more fervent, in-the-street, activist movement.

In response to this growing maelstrom, HRC President Joe Solmonese finally came out and publicly called on President Obama to at least suspend DADT to stop the unwarranted and unwise discharges of sorely needed military personnel.

Gay News Net reported yesterday that when Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball last night asked Solmonese whether he believes Obama has the authority to sign such an order and whether he should do so, Solmonese said, "Yes he can and yes I do." Matthews repeated the question, asking "Do you think he should?" Salmonese confirmed, "Yes I do."

Solmonese also said that Obama should sign the executive order immediately to halt further firings like that of Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate who speaks Arabic. "The president has the opportunity to stop that from happening," Solmonese said. "We've asked him to do that and pressed him to do that and hope that he will."

If, in fact, the HRC did reach some kind of agreement to delay an all-out push for the repeal of DADT, I'm absolutely positive that there were no sinister, underlying motivations. I'm sure that they thought that strategy would be the most effective in securing all of the rights we're seeking. It's possible that they didn't even know about the recently revealed Presidential powers that Obama has to effect this change completely on his own authority.

Whatever reasons were behind HRC's past inaction, I'm glad to see them now using their substantial political capital to pressure Obama to suspend the firings. They're a good organization that has done a whole lot in advancing our causes in towns, cities, states and municipalities throughout the country. So let's not, as the saying goes, "throw the baby out with the bath water."

One thing for sure at this point - it is now almost impossible for the President and his administration to ignore the importance of immediate action on DADT. We're all watching Mr. President.

Below is Jason Bellini's video piece referred to above:

June 4, 2009


I'm a couple of days late with this but I didn't want to let it go by without a comment.

Lately, many in the GLBT community have been expressing growing dissatisfaction with President Obama's seeming non-action on many of the issues we consider to be of paramount importance to our community. I myself have expressed my own frustrations over this in several of my more recent posts.

Although these feelings certainly do seem to be justified considering the high expectations for action that were fueled by Obama's many strong and positive statements about ending DOMA, DADT, anti-gay discrimination in the workplace and housing, passing hate crimes legislation, etc., etc.. Let's not forget that in just six short months, he has appointed more openly gay professionals to high level, high profile management and advisory positions throughout the government and his own administration than any president before him. He is also the first president to endorse and speakout for an end to anti-gay discrimination throughout the world.

Yes, he hasn't moved as fast as we wanted him to but I think it's important to recognize the impact that the words a President speaks to us and to the rest of the world have not just on policies but on the thoughts and beliefs of tens and hundreds of millions of people.

It's easy to dismiss what someone says by loudly protesting that they're "just words." But what makes a difference is what the specific words are and who says them. Entire armies have been moved to against-all-odds victories and whole civilizations have been built on nothing more than words. The reality is that, like it or not, words are what change everything.

On Monday, President Obama issued the following proclamation declaring June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month:


Obama Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Obama is the first President to ever even acknowledge our transgender brothers and sisters in a national/international speech. That's important.

Thanks to Towelroad.com for the text of the proclamation.

June 2, 2009


I ran across the following video, titled "Talking Equality," at the Feast Of Fools website. It was posted by FOF member Wesley from California and it's an excellent repudiation of the lies and gross distortions that the fanatic right-wing keeps trying to ram down people's throats.

Take a few minutes and watch this. It's definitely worth your time and it will give you some excellent talking points whenever someone tries to use those idiotic arguments around you.

BTW - I had some trouble getting this mounted so if the video doesn't play, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSTv7Xao93I

May 31, 2009


This has to be one of the most bizarre and disgusting attempts by a college president to take back a GLBT student non-discrimination protection - ever.

It all started when Andrew Doherty, a gay employee of Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood, PA who was legally married in Massachusetts, was denied health insurance for his spouse. His union filed a grievance on his behalf referring to the schools own non-discrimination policy that has been published on the school's website as well as in its catalog and student handbook. The statements published in all of the school's materials clearly say that the school will not discriminate against individuals based on their “sexual orientation” and “union membership.”

Well, in response to that grievance, newly appointed President Daniel J. Obara (pictured above) decided that the only way to handle the situation was to declare that the policy was an "accident" and shouldn't have included sexual orientation as a protected class.

The only problem with this absurd claim is that the policy has been used as a recruitment tool and touted as an incentive to join the college staff since it was adopted in 2000 - NINE YEARS AGO!

Obara at first tried to claim that the original policy wasn't supposed to include "sexual orientation" and then accused "the one who is not here anymore" of slipping it in without his "informed approval." But, of course, there's a real problem with those claims as well.

LezGetReal.com has reported that "the one who is not here anymore," who turned out to be the schools now-retired affirmative action officer, Mary Stubbs said that she was not happy about being rolled under the bus and has publicly stated that any revisions to the catalog and website she proposed would have been forwarded for review to the public relations staff and others, including the then vice president for academic affairs and student services - the one, the only - Dr. Daniel Obara.

“I would never take it upon myself to change a statement in the college, and anyone who told you that ought to know better,” Ms Stubbs said. “Of course not — not without having it approved.”

Asked about Stubbs' statement, Obara was forced to admit that the proposed wording change might have crossed his desk and that he may have signed off on it without noticing it.

Give me a break! He's either grossly incompetent or a pathological liar.

Doherty, who has been an employee for nearly five years, said it doesn’t make sense, “why now after nine years? How many institutions do you know that are taking people out of a non-discrimination policy?”

None of this seems to bother Obara though. He's clearly a member of the infamous Reagan/Bush/Cheney/Rove cabal - if history doesn't suit your purposes, well then - just ignore it or rewrite it.

Obara chose to rewrite it and has ordered the IT Department to remove all references to sexual orientation from the college's non-discrimination language, including the college’s Web site and all printed materials. No small undertaking - not a cheap one either. When all is said and done and court costs and legal fees are paid (because he WILL LOSE his case) and all of the materials are rounded up and disposed of and then reprinted and redistributed, it will probably cost the college in the neighborhood of tens of thousands of dollars - at least. This at a time when virtually all educational institutions are already desperately strapped for cash.

Obviously Obara believes that personal ideology is far more important than sound, intelligent and compassionate academic leadership.

I totally agree with Zemanta of LGR:

"You know if I were Mr. Doherty or any other gay facility member or student at Westmoreland County Community College, I’d be telling my attorney... to look into suing the school for false representation… because the original non-discrimination policy was the only reason I came to WCCC in the first place."

This joker has to be one of the biggest bozos in the entire country!