I'm sure this will quell rising LGBT anger with the administration...
Reacting to a rising tide of anger from gay and lesbian supporters at a series of slights and deferred promises, President Obama will tomorrow extend some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
The move, which begins to mirror the policy of many large corporations, will have an immediate effect for many workers, but it is a deeply reactive response to a core Democratic group whose concerns have been festering for six months. The presidential memorandum -- scheduled for signing tomorrow at 5:45 p.m., may in the short term, give Joe Biden something positive to say at a June 25 fundraiser that has seen prominent guests drop out, a host sharply attack the administration, and which is expected to be marked by protests.
However, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from extending health and retirement benefits to same-sex couples, so the benefits are more likely to be marginal -- like relocation assistance.
Yup. Relocation assistance ought to do it! Wait, you mean it's not?
No one is buying a partner benefit plan that doesn't include health insurance, for god's sake. Will he announce an effort to send Congress something to act on? Uh, keep dreaming - his DOJ just wrote up a brief that uses defenses against incest and underage marriage to claim our relationships are unworthy of equal treatment under the law. They can't unring that bell.
Scrambling to do damage control re: the DOMA brief the Obama administration is throwing us a pathetic bone.
So, because of Obama's inaction on his main presidential campaign promises to our community - DOMA and DADT - we have a scenario in which gays will get fewer benefits than their straight colleagues, and some gay federal employees will get benefits (civilians) while others (military) will not. See how complicated it gets to do anything when you fail to keep your basic promises?
I guess no one could've ever predicted that relocation assistance wasn't going to be enough to placate those fighting for equal treatment under the law. I admit it, it totally caught me by surprise.
Yes, there's a lot on Obama's plate. But apparently, people in his administration have the time to write an insulting and denigrating legal brief in defense of bigoted legislation. As the NY Times said,
The administration has had its hands full with the financial crisis, health care, Guantánamo Bay and other pressing matters. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.
But let's remember, gay anger isn't stemming from administration inaction (though that's fueling it). It stems from action -- the submission of this hateful brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act (which, by the way, totally failed to protect Sen. Jon Ensign's marriage). That anger is well justified.
The DNC needs to reschedule next week's gay fundraiser until after the administration gets its act together on its plan for gay rights. I'm pretty confident the administration eventually will, but until it does, out of simple common courtesy, it should refrain from treating the gay community like an ATM.