No American president has ever been elected on a more progressive agenda for GLBT equality than Barack Obama -- but unless that agenda is actually implemented, the victory will be an empty one.
We're now five months into the Obama administration, and unfortunately, we still haven't seen the platform begin the transformation to policy. Sure, there's been a nice handwritten note about DADT, but then again, there was also Rick Warren. And most importantly, no major policy changes.
Against this backdrop, earlier today AMERICAblog published a legal brief from the Obama DOJ defending the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (which should be called the "Bash Same Sex Marriage Act").
According to the Obama administration, the administration is compelled to defend federal law, whether or not it agrees. Indeed, this isn't the first time it's defended a law the President does not support. (And despite RW conspiracists, Eric Holder has made it clear that the DOJ would defend Dick Cheney in court were he ever to be charged by a foreign government.)
But whether or not it was appropriate to defend DOMA, the DOJ did so with extraordinary zeal, making arguments that could only make Pat Robertson smile. (If you're looking for a bright side, at least the legal brief didn't compare same-sex marriage to bestiality.)
This legal brief probably wouldn't be the biggest deal in the world if there had been more progress -- indeed, some progress -- over the past few months. But when you factor in the backlash against Prop. 8's passage -- and the increasing mobilization not just of GLBT activists, but all Americans who support equal rights, gay, straight, or otherwise -- the pressure is just going to keep on mounting until this country finally takes the step forward that we need to take, and the pressure won't just be understandable, it will be warranted.
Purely as a political matter, this is a campaign promise that it makes sense to keep -- and the quicker the administration takes concrete steps forward, the better.
More importantly, as the President himself said during the campaign, this is about doing the right things. You can't have half-equal rights. Everybody knows we might not get there overnight, but until we're moving in the right direction, it won't feel like it's happening at all.
It's time to start delivering on those campaign promises.
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