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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Barack Obama’s Open Letter to the Gay Community

posted by on February 28 at 13:13 PM

Full text, via Towleroad, after the jump. But here’s a taste…

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples—whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The rest, again, after the jump…

Open Letter from Barack Obama to the LGBT community

I’m running for President to build an America that lives up to our founding promise of equality for all a promise that extends to our gay brothers and sisters. It’s wrong to have millions of Americans living as second-class citizens in this nation. And I ask for your support in this election so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.

Equality is a moral imperative. That’s why throughout my career, I have fought to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans. In Illinois, I co-sponsored a fully inclusive bill that prohibited discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity, extending protection to the workplace, housing, and places of public accommodation. In the U.S. Senate, I have co-sponsored bills that would equalize tax treatment for same-sex couples and provide benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. I have also called for us to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system.

The next president must also address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When it comes to prevention, we do not have to choose between values and science. While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. We should have age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception. We should pass the JUSTICE Act to combat infection within our prison population. And we should lift the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. In addition, local governments can protect public health by distributing contraceptives.

We also need a president who’s willing to confront the stigma too often tied to homophobia that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. I confronted this stigma directly in a speech to evangelicals at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and will continue to speak out as president. That is where I stand on the major issues of the day. But having the right positions on the issues is only half the battle. The other half is to win broad support for those positions. And winning broad support will require stepping outside our comfort zone. If we want to repeal DOMA, repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and implement fully inclusive laws outlawing hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace, we need to bring the message of LGBT equality to skeptical audiences as well as friendly ones and that’s what I’ve done throughout my career. I brought this message of inclusiveness to all of America in my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. I talked about the need to fight homophobia when I announced my candidacy for President, and I have been talking about LGBT equality to a number of groups during this campaign from local LGBT activists to rural farmers to parishioners at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.

Just as important, I have been listening to what all Americans have to say. I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary.

Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

RSS icon Comments

1

None of those words mean anything to me.

Fuck Obama.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 28, 2008 1:17 PM
2

Bull.

"I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system."

It doesn't need "improvement" - It needs his vote to pass it.

So far Obama is all rhetoric and no action - I'd be a lot more impressed if he didn't keep opposing our right to marry

Posted by Patrick ONeill | February 28, 2008 1:18 PM
3

What part of this letter makes you think he opposes gay's rights to marry?

Posted by clarkj | February 28, 2008 1:23 PM
4

Ugghh. not like Clinton would be better and since HRC it taking the credit for her husbands work as part of his administration (her words BTW) that administration GAVE us DOMA and BILL CLINTON SIGNED THE FUCKING LAW!!!

No candidate will ever get elected by supporting same sex marriage in the country at this point and time.

This is going to be about the best GLBT's can hope for.

Posted by Andrew | February 28, 2008 1:25 PM
5

Well maybe I am now officially an Obamatron. I would like to know from Mr Poe why these words mean nothing to him. Heck, the fact that he would even say these words is a watershed event in my book. It sure beats getting thrown under the bus as we seemed to be in SC last fall.

@1 So what are you looking for in a candidate Mr. Poe? Just curious here...

Posted by RichardZ | February 28, 2008 1:26 PM
6

Ugghh. not like Clinton would be better and since HRC it taking the credit for her husbands work as part of his administration (her words BTW) that administration GAVE us DOMA and BILL CLINTON SIGNED THE FUCKING LAW!!!

Exactly my argument against Clinton from the start. If you're going to campaign on name recognition, understand that many progressives just don't think that Bill Clinton fucking walked on water.

Posted by bma | February 28, 2008 1:30 PM
7

I find it interesting that he would take this step now, with the Democratic nomination all but sewn up, when it might have helped him a lot about two months ago.

Going into the general, this would seem to help him very little and hurt him possibly a lot. Perhaps he really believes it?

Posted by MHD | February 28, 2008 1:33 PM
8

@4, I agree with you. A smart presidential hopeful learned from 2004 that mentioning the words abortion and gay marriage spark the republican value voters out in larger numbers than democrats. I'm gay and I'm willing to put the gay marriage issue to the back burner for this election to make sure the Republicans don't continue to fuck up this country for another 8 yeras. As for others in the GLBTC community, I would recommend to them that they do the same. There are more important issues at stake that affect the GLBTC community besides gay marriage.

1. health care - We all know people who have HIV/AIDS and see them sacrificing their incomes to the HIV/Aids medications.

2. The education/jobs/economy - these all tie into one. As a 28 y.o gay male, I'm sick of seeing 22-30 y.o gay guys working in retail and not getting an education. We as a community need to get it through their heads that going to college for that bachelor's degree is better for you them than who'll they sleep with the next day and saving their little earned money for clubbing and the newest designer clothes. The reason I say this is because the "gay areas" that we've come to know are losing GLBTs due to skyrocketing rents and apartment/condo conversions. If more gay boys actually went to school to get their degrees and get prospering jobs, then we wouldn't be seeing a massive exodus of gays and lesbians leaving those areas and the historical "gay ghettos" being populated with more str8s.

----

ok i know i'm going to get flamed for this. so i'm all ears :)

Posted by apres_moi | February 28, 2008 1:38 PM
9

In reality, Sen Clinton would find a way to triangulate this, and do nothing - just as she's always done.

At least Sen Obama would do it.

Unless you believe President Clinton was helping you when he signed DOMA and made the Don't Ask Don't Tell wussout that caused a TRIPLING of Lesbians kicked out of the Armed Forces and a DOUBLING of Gays kicked out of the Armed Forces.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 28, 2008 1:40 PM
10

I am in tears over this.

Unlike Clinton Obama doesn't pretend that achieving this agenda is entirely within his hands. He acknowledges the difficulty of the process, instead of just dangling the goods in front of us.

Call me a fool, but I believe him. For the first time we're not being lied to or treated like children.

Posted by CCSea | February 28, 2008 1:42 PM
11

Finally - people who get it!

And I will note, before the momentum of Obama's campaign when he visited Seattle the first time, he PROMISED as president he would DELIVER legal gay marriages. And while I believe such a promise is in the spirit of the direction to which we need to be moving, it is unrealistic and irresponsible, it is more important that we recognize that he has changed positions.

He's in the business of promises. Wake up, Obamanoids! There's a fine line between a movement and craze and we need a president in the business of solutions.

The United States is a turning point. We can either continue down a deteriorating and destructive path or we can invest in a candidate who we can rely on: Hillary Clinton.

Let's not gamble on rhetoric and promises. Let's count on what we know.

Posted by David | February 28, 2008 1:50 PM
12

@4--a clarficiation. Bill Clinton's "administration" did not "give us" DOMA, but his failure to veto is to be condemned. But don't talk like he wrote the legislation when he didn't; DO take him to task for lacking the political backbone not to veto it (and remind Patty Murray that she voted FOR it).

And I would remind us all that HRC is only for repealing PART of DOMA, NOT ALL of it. Obama wants DOMA completely repealed.

Don't Ask/Don't Tell/Don't Pursue--both candidates want it gone. Let's credit HRC and Obama both for saying so--but then let's ask ourself who's more likely to get it repealed? Who's got longer coattails to elect more Senators and Representatives? Who attracts more Republican and Independent support? Who can't be tarred with the brush "well your husband supported it"?

But before we get ahead of ourselves and start sniping over who's going to have better drapes in the Oval Office, we have to get elected, so, yes, @4, let's be pragmatic and work on issues that appeal to everyone, because this time "It's The War AND The Economy, Stupids." Kerry's defeat was sealed by the numerous Same Sex Marriage bans on the ballots of key states (especially in Ohio, which decided the race).

Both HRC and Obama are for full marriage equality RIGHTS without the word "marriage" because they know that's political arsenic (at least at this point). Everyone take a breath and remember back only a decade or so ago when a "liberal" Democratic candidate like Dukakis barely uttered the word gay in public. We've made strides, but we didn't get any help from Dukakis or Kerry as President because they never got in office.

Obama and HRC supporters alike, let's applaud Obama's outreach to everyone, and challenge HRC to match it. But let's also work on the other issues that are going to appeal to all voters regardless of who they fuck or marry or divorce, and put a Democrat in the White House. Otherwise, fighting among ourselves just plays into the hands of those who DO want to oppress queers, people of color, the poor, and so many others.

Posted by Andy Niable | February 28, 2008 2:00 PM
13

@8: As far I know, the proportion of gay men and women with college degrees (and especially graduate degrees) is much higher the the proportion of straights with these degrees. These degrees lead to better jobs, and coupled with very few kids to support, the gays tend to have a lot more money to spend on real estate. First the gays, then the hipsters, then the yuppies...

Posted by mary-kate | February 28, 2008 2:02 PM
14

As a gay man who lives in Iowa, I have seen both candidates up close and in person. Months ago Barack Obama invited the LGBT community to an open forum where he addressed his stance on issues that are most important to our community (unlike the Clinton campaign.) He didn't tell us what we wanted to hear, he told us the truth - that full equality would be an uphill battle that may not be realized in his administration, but rather it's a process, a process to achieve a goal that he believes in and will work to achieve. Telling a room full of gays and lesbians that it may not happen in the next 8 years was a potential pitfall that could have driven LGBT support to Hillary but he did so because he believes that we deserve to be told the truth. In the end he won the LGBT vote here in Iowa because of his honesty and true belief in equality for all.

#7 - you're right, this is not the best time for him to be addressing our community but he has been talking about it from day one - and it doesn't seem like he plans on stopping (even if it costs him votes) once he's won the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

BTW - At our pride parade last year, his campaign was the only one that had pride specific stickers, banners and other giveaways - a little detail but why not if it's only a small detail.

Posted by EG | February 28, 2008 2:07 PM
15

@5

I said they mean nothing to me.

I'm looking for a candidate that isn't full of fucking shit.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 28, 2008 2:08 PM
16

All well and good. But not helpful to us queers that think putting our national security and foreign policy in hands of a leftist rookie is a very bad idea.

Posted by raindrop | February 28, 2008 2:10 PM
17

@13 What the heck are you talking about? I know more gay men in public health or nonprofit or hospitality jobs (all low paying) than I do in cushy corporate office jobs. The fact is that the most stridently out and vocal gay people may in fact be affluent and well educated... that is how they can afford to be out. But you are just not noticing a whole raft of mostly or somewhat closeted folks who are scared of losing their jobs... especially those in public sector jobs in conservative states.

Posted by RichardZ | February 28, 2008 2:11 PM
18

@13-- "as far so you know"? While what you say might make sense, do you have actual census data to back it up? Prove it.

But what's your point, ultimately? That without children we somehow don't deserve equal rights because we make more money? I don't think so, but I'm trying to parse the meaning behind your comment in the context of this discussion...

Posted by Andy Niable | February 28, 2008 2:11 PM
19

i'm happy to see i'm not the only one who recognizes what a big deal this is. obama stands to gain very little from speaking out on gay issues. in fact the risk he is taking is far greater - the gay vote is only a small percentage of the electorate, while those who oppose gay rights are in far greater number.

the dem candidate would not have to say *anything* on gay issues and would still get the majority of the gay vote in november. even if you take only a passing interest in gay issues, you should still recognize what a bold move this is. i'm not a single issue voter by any means, but this underscores why i think he is the best candidate the democrats have had in my lifetime.

Posted by brandon | February 28, 2008 2:11 PM
20

No, I think he's just pointing out that while work needs to be done on civil rights, it's not true that gays are disproportionately economically deprived. Quite the opposite. Gays are on average better educated and have higher incomes than straights.

Pointing out a few personal examples is meaningless when you're talking about 300 million people.

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2008 2:16 PM
21

@7 - Yes, I also find the timing of this interesting, and perhaps he really does believe in what he's saying. Personally, I'm waiting to see if he sticks to his guns once the GOP spin machine attacks him on this statement in the general (c'mon, you know they will, because they'll want to take shots at his crossover appeal). When that happens, if he stands by his words doesn't back down, then good for him.

Posted by Hernandez | February 28, 2008 2:17 PM
22

Mr Poe, My dear Mr Poe: We are sorry that AL GORE could not get off his fat ass and fucking run for the White House LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE DONE!!!!

Damn, is anyone else actually pissed at him for not running? Instead of him having the nomination locked up by now (which he would have) we have to sit through these god awful fucking stupid debates!!!

I have been wanting to get that out for awhile now......

Posted by Andrew | February 28, 2008 2:18 PM
23

@8 and @13 - I think there IS a gay-specific education problem, and it's the fact that anti-gay parents of kids who turn out to be gay feel perfectly fine about kicking them out on the street and refusing to pay for college (I think we have all seen this happen to friends, if not ourselves). Or just physically abuse them so they run away to the streets. How is that problem getting resolved?

Anyway I agree that Obama's statement is the best we can hope for. He's vindicated in my book for the touring-with-ex-gay-preacher incident.

Posted by Sister Y | February 28, 2008 2:18 PM
24

@22. No I'm not mad at Al Gore, disappointed maybe, but not mad. He's practically transcended the office at this point as they are running out of awards to give him. I'm upset for not fighting harder in 2000 for the recount--but then Reagan and Daddy Bush's Supreme Court Justices kinda put the kabosh on that anyway.

But I'm glad you got that out. Now take some cleansing breaths.

Time to move on, look forward, move forward, and drag this country away from the edge of Empire where it's currently headed thanks to Lil Bush.

Posted by Andy Niable | February 28, 2008 2:23 PM
25

David @ 11,


The only thing we know with absolute certainty is that Bill Clinton stabbed every Democratic constituency in the back (ouchie, ouch!), and Hillary will throw us all under the bus the instant that it's politically convenient. Her senate career should be called the Pandering Express; anyone care for a constitutional amendment to deal with the nation's epidemic of flag burning? That more than anything crystallized her philosophy for me--to her, it's just a game to throw our rights away.


In the closing days of the 2004 election, Bill Clinton called John Kerry and implored him to come out forcefully in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. Kerry--to his eternal credit--refused. I don't want that sleazy, duplicitous fuck anywhere near the oval office again.


This letter is a powerful, positive statement that would have been unthinkable even four years ago. I agree that we have far more pressing issues to deal with at the moment, and Im supporting the candidate that has the courage, character and integrity to seal the deal.

No more Clintons.


Obama '08!

Posted by Original Andrew | February 28, 2008 2:29 PM
26

So @4 and 12, the GBLT community should shut up about GAY MARRIAGE because it's it is the reason that Bush is president, the economy sucks and we're stuck with a war in Iraq. Yes, you're right, GAY MARRIAGE is the One Thing that caused the Democrats to be defeated in the last two elections. Of course, there is the fact that Gore was cheated and Kerry was pathetic, but no, it was definitely GAY MARRIAGE - and although neither candidate supported it, it was definitely GAY MARRIAGE. And when the right wing decides they need a new threat, like PROTECT THE CHILDREN, then we'll just have to be pragmatic and give up GAY ADOPTION. Because it is always, always our fault, you see, that Democrats can't get elected, and because the LGBT community is just so selfish to want the rights that everyone else takes for granted. You know - the ones about the pursuit of happiness and all that. After all, we've got jobs, and money, and aids. What else do we need?

Posted by crazycatguy | February 28, 2008 2:40 PM
27

Pander pander pander pander, pander pander. Pander pander? Pander pander pander pander.. pander pander. Pander pander pander pander, pander pander. Pander pander? Pander pander pander pander.. pander pander.

Posted by Chris | February 28, 2008 2:41 PM
28

@26--

Shut up? Of course not.

Put it in perspective, sure.

Read the political landscape realistically. Support the candidate most apt and able to 1)understand your demands, expectations, and rights (see above letter) and 2) best able to get things done but be realistic about how hard that might be (see above letter and subsequent comments) and 3) least likely to throw you under the bus (see 1990s).

Posted by Andy Niable | February 28, 2008 2:50 PM
29

whether or not his campaign promises are bullshit isn't something we can determine until he has actually occupied office. thus far he has pressed gay rights much farther than any presidential candidate in history, even in circumstances where it was not politically expedient for him to do so. that's not pandering, that's taking a stand on something he believes in, and it deserves some respect.

Posted by brandon | February 28, 2008 2:50 PM
30

I can see why people might think Clinton, once elected, would push the gays under the bus for political convenience....but I don't understand why people think Obama will be any different. What makes him so different from all the other politicians who didn't or couldn't cash all the political checks their mouths wrote on the campaign trail?

Posted by Unoriginal David | February 28, 2008 3:04 PM
31

It's interesting to me how the "who's supporters hate whom" dynamic has pretty much flipped in the last month.

I'm an Obama supporter, but a month ago i was getting really put off, not so much by the "obamaniacs" and their fury for their candidate, but by the number of people (Obama supports and otherwise) that had what seemed to me a really irrational hatred for HRC. But now it seems to have completely changed direction. I suppose the major difference in the haters' critiques is that now (anti-Obama) they seem to echoing Hillary's talking points, whereas before (anti-Hillary) the statements I heard were more diverse and diffuse, but closer in feel to GOP talking points (even when coming from non-GOPers).

But the bottom line is that no candidate for major office in this country has ever issued a statement that is even close to this one. Yes it's "just words", but let's remember that during an election, words are all we're ever going to get (and I would like to see, #27, how this statement could be phrased that would not be labeled by you as pandering). Whomever you support, this is a very strong statement and it should be welcomed and applauded as such.

Posted by quilsone | February 28, 2008 3:07 PM
32

@30-- Is it possible Obama will prove to be just as much a professional politician? Yes, it's possible.

Have we seen it before with the Clinton? (See above phone call to Kerry for example) Yes. Has their political behavior then AND during the current primary season shown a desperate willingness to do continue to do so? Yes.

I'll risk it and vote Obama. If Hillary gets the nomination, I'll vote forher. John McCain--a guarantee of queer-hating legislation and horrible anti-progressive Supreme Court nominees are assured.

On Jan 20, 2009, SIX members of the Supreme Court will be older than 70...

Posted by Andy Niable | February 28, 2008 3:09 PM
33

I know it's been said before, but it's important to remember that if you pay attention to polls, the nation as a whole still isn't behind equal rights for gays. Most of the current two youngest generations certainly have that majority, but we still have old people and the entire South and the plains states to contend with.

Posted by The CHZA | February 28, 2008 3:09 PM
34

@19: There are straight folks (I assume I'm not alone) who very strongly support LGBT rights, too. Apparently not enough to counter the numbers on the other side, but we do exist :)

Posted by A friend | February 28, 2008 3:09 PM
35

What I meant to end with was that we can have a president promise all they want and try as hard as they can, but we can't expect promises to equal results. At the same time, so long as the president does what they can in the face of congress in the supreme court, they shouldn't be blamed for that if it's the outcome.

Posted by The CHZA | February 28, 2008 3:11 PM
36

34 - tres true. it's nice to know the gay vote isn't only limited to teh gayz anymore. thank you for your support :)

Posted by brandon | February 28, 2008 3:16 PM
37

Did Obama say anything you haven't heard before? No. He promised a few speeches on your behalf and maybe some half-hearted proposals to Congress which he will use as leverage to get different bills passed and then tell the LGBT community he tried his best.

IF Obama really wanted to fight for you he would sick the Justice Dept. and the Attorney General on those anti-gay states and have real justice and equality given to all people living in the United States. But Obama won't do this.

Did you forget he had anti-gay reverends on his campaign trail and at his rallies?

Posted by robot2501 | February 28, 2008 3:28 PM
38

If I had to mentally undress either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama, I'd go with Obama.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 28, 2008 3:30 PM
39

Let me add that I know we can't know what Obama will do in office and I don't hold that against him, but I would be impressed just to see Obama have to defend this statement in the media the way HRC has had to defend every breath she takes.

If the pundit class picked up on some of the things in this statement (as they very well could if they wanted to; e.g., lifting the federal ban on needle exchange = OMGZ CONDONING DRUG USE!!1!) and pushed Obama on it -- ginned up a fake scandal like they did with Clinton and the drivers licenses -- how would he respond? Would he stand behind it? If so, that right there would impress me considerably...but I'm not sure we'll get to find out (as the media is, for the time being, in the tank for Obama inasmuch as his candidacy furthers their goal of choking the last breath of life out of HRC with their bare hands).

Posted by Unoriginal David | February 28, 2008 3:39 PM
40
IF Obama really wanted to fight for you he would sick the Justice Dept. and the Attorney General on those anti-gay states and have real justice and equality given to all people living in the United States.

And how would that work exactly? Until the federal government passes anti-discrimination legislation, it doesn't have a leg to stand on in forcing the states to do anything.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 28, 2008 3:52 PM
41

Whiners about Obama's comments are like the "Lincoln was a racist" crowd. Lincoln moved race relations forward for his time. Not to a level that's satisfactory today, but a real accomplishment. Clinton moved gay acceptance forward with "Don't ask, don't tell", over the previous "ferret out and destroy" (which is still the Air Force's policy toward atheists). Recall Colin Powell was strongly anti-gay at that time. Gay acceptance has happened really fast by historical standards and DADT now seems hopelessly outdated to anyone with brain. Obama deserves credit for talking about the acceptance process. Those who dismiss the necessity of this process are children.

Posted by butterw | February 28, 2008 4:11 PM
42

Andrew @ 25

You are absolutely right. How could I be so wrong. You have made a completely solid, intelligent, and compelling case based not in rhetoric but facts.

I stand corrected by someone with the intellectual capacity to really challenge my deep-seated beliefs.

Right on Andrew! Way to make politics about reality...

Posted by David | February 28, 2008 4:39 PM
43

@40

How about the civil rights act of 1964? Or the 14th Amendment equal protection clause? Why do you need specifically new legislation with the words gay or LGBT when there has been powerful acts and amendments created with equally powerful supreme court decisions?

Posted by robot2501 | February 28, 2008 7:26 PM
44

@8: I also feel like I know more gays in low-paying and hospitality jobs but at least in New Jersey:

Among the two-thirds (70 percent) of same-sex couples in New Jersey who are not raising children, the median household income is $73,400 (table 2). This is slightly higher than the $71,500 median household income of heterosexual cohabiting and married couples without children. This differential can be partially explained by the educational levels attained by same-sex couples (52 percent have at least one partner with a college degree) compared with those attained by heterosexual couples (42 percent).

I've seen similar statistics for other states. Not sure if it follows across the country.

Posted by Mike | February 28, 2008 7:27 PM
45

On the other hand from GLBTQ.com:

One of the most consistent findings from demographic studies of gay men and lesbians has to do with education and income. Nearly all studies (both in the U.S. and internationally) find that gay men and lesbians have higher education levels than other men and women. Most studies also find that gay men earn less than other men and lesbians earn more than other women, even when differences in age, education, and occupation are taken into account.

One study (using data primarily from the 1990s) found that the wages of gay men were between 14 and 16 percent below the wages of other men, while the wages of lesbians were 20 to 34 percent higher than the wages of other women. It should be noted that lesbian wages were on average still lower than the wages of gay men. The same study found that gay men and lesbians had higher education levels than their heterosexual counterparts. Both gay men and lesbians had on average 14.3 years of education, compared to 13.9 years for heterosexual men and women. Findings from census data on same-sex couples show similar patterns.

Posted by Mike | February 28, 2008 7:31 PM
46

How about the civil rights act of 1964? or the 14th Amendment equal protection clause?

Why do you need new legislation when there is powerful precedence about rights already written?

What are you looking for legislators to do exactly?

Posted by robot2501 | February 28, 2008 7:31 PM
47

Please tell me why current anti-discrimination legislation does not or cannot be used to help LGBT people...

Please tell me why I am an idiot?

Posted by robot2501 | February 28, 2008 8:02 PM
48

Mike @44, 45: You're right that studies consistently show that "gay" and "lesbian" individuals have higher incomes and education levels than the general population (though may have lower wages than people of the same education level). The idea @8 that the gay ghettos (Castro, Cap Hill, etc) could be saved if only those 'mos would get a real education and a real job is misguided. The real estate in gay areas used to be artificially low because the mere presence of all those gays made the majority of potential buyers/renters unwilling to move there, lest they catch gay cooties or get caught in a meteor shower a la Gomorrah. Now that the public is coming around to the idea that having gay neighbors isn't bad--and in fact may be a bonus, since with that extra income they can support better nightlife and culture than the average straight--it is unsurprising that prices are rising and forcing people out. We should welcome the bigger point that gay no longer equals evil, and as for affordable housing, that's a major issue for everyone, not just the LGBT community.

The studies you cite, however, are based on self-identification as gay or lesbian. I think RichardZ @17 makes an important point that many of the people we should be concerned about helping won't be captured by these studies. Men who have sex with men, but come from a poor community or certain ethnic communities, don't tend to identify as gay. And even some who might identify as gay in private may not do so for a census-taker or pollster.

Posted by Exile in West Seattle | February 29, 2008 1:55 AM
49

Both Obama and Clinton fail to get perfect marks on LGBT issues because both have failed to co-sponsor UAFA (the same sex immigration bill). Speaking as someone who is currently living outside the US because my partner's visa could not be renewed, I know their positions on this intimately.

Both use vague words like "trying to improve" the bill -- behind this is a drive to 'reduce fraud'. However, the fraud protections in UAFA are exactly the same as they are in the current immigration system for heterosexual relationships, if not stronger!

This tells us that Obama and Clinton still don't get it -- they still think that our relationships are less equal than hetero relationships, that they are more likely to be fraudulently used for immigration purposes.

The truth is the bill won't move until there are more cosponsors (there are 10 now in the Senate, 90 in the House), so delaying co-sponsorship is just a way to make sure that the bill never moves and they never have to vote on it.

There are 30,000 same sex bi-national couples in the US. We're being torn apart from our families, having to leave our jobs and our friends -- or are having to end relationships because of US government policy that rips our loved ones from our arms. I can't think of another government policy that has the power to force Americans to chose between their personal relationships and living in their own country.

Posted by exiled | February 29, 2008 7:55 AM
50

Exile in West Seattle: I completely agree with your points. I also think a number of those studies rely on census figures of assumed gays/lesbians in domestic partnerships which also skews things.

Maybe we should work to perpetuate that whole MRSA is the new gay plague thing and save Capitol Hill for the homos.

Posted by Mike (also exiled in West Seattle) | February 29, 2008 8:22 AM
51

While abstinence education should be part of any strategy, we also need to use common sense. WTF is that about?
Abstinence education DOESN'T WORK and it's been proven so - why does it "need" to be part of any strategy?! Why is he pandering to the Right in this letter - because he's sure they'll be reading this? Or does he actually believe that abstinence education is a good idea?

That one sentence is enough to prove to me that it's all style, less substance. He's just throwing shit at a wall to see if some of it will stick.

Posted by Fort Collins, CO | February 29, 2008 8:42 AM
52

The man has had one legislative accomplishment in 3 1/2 years. He sure is making a lot of promises that he has no record of being able to keep. If he can only pass one law in over 3 years, how do you expect him to force a controversial law through Congress (on top of fixing the economy, changing health care, child eduction, the war in Iraq, etc, etc, etc)?? He'll be seeking re-election soon after possibly taking office; these are empty promises that he won't keep. Wake up people. I "HOPE" you get what you deserve!

Posted by Derwood1962 | February 29, 2008 9:09 AM
53

Obama had nothing to gain by advocating for equal immigration rights for gay and lesbian Americans. My partner is Taiwanese and I am American, but I cannot sponsor him to come to the US. If I were a straight man and "met" an online mail order bride , I could immediately get her a "K" fiancee visa which would give her the right to eventually get a green card even though we had not yet met. Clinton has never raised gay immigration equality on her own initiative, and none of the other presidential candidates are raising anything gay related without being asked first. Obama has everything to loose (general election attacks from homophobes and religious nuts) by taking this position, yet he takes it with principle. This deserves respect.

Clinton, a "progressive" voted for the war, went along with Bush bankrupting the country and only supports a "partial" repeal of DOMA.

Obama is not a saint or a hero or perfect for GLBT equality, but he has taken the most decent, fair and politically risky position on equality I have seen in my lifetime. My vote goes to Obama.

Posted by Trisha | February 29, 2008 10:40 AM
54

#27 FTW.

While all of what he says here is very inspiring and everything, how I can really trust someone who says "equality for all" in the same breath as "civil unions are good enough"? I realize that his official position is probably for political reasons, and that he may well truly believe in marriage equality, but this inconsistency really makes me question how strongly he believes in the rest of it.

I voted for Obama, but not very enthusiastically.

Posted by julia | February 29, 2008 12:12 PM

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