Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obama Expresses Support for DOMA Repeal Legislation. And... ?

Every time I checked my FaceBook status on Tuesday, I saw posts and reposts of stories with headlines like "BREAKING: Obama Supports DOMA Repeal", with comments hailing the news as if it were the second coming of God's number one son.

Queerty, reported it this way:
"Just so you know, sitting Presidents don’t normally endorse bills that have yet to pass first in either the Senate or the House, which means he’s slowly coming through on the afore-promised 'fierce advocacy.'”
Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend writes:
"Killing DOMA -- in fact passing difficult pro-LGBT legislation -- really requires the President to step up and use his bully pulpit to urge Congress to take action. To say again that DOMA must be repealed -- with a specific bill in mind -- is perfect timing with tomorrow's hearing coming up. Yes he can, and yes he did this time." 
Uh... guys? Obama has always supported legislative repeal of DOMA. What he hasn't done is made it a priority or taken a leadership role the way he did last year with DADT repeal, when he appointed Sen. Joe Lieberman to oversee the effort.

True, the administration announced in February that it would no longer defend DOMA in court, but how much effort does it take to do nothing?

Even if the bill passes in the senate, it will never make it through the GOP-controlled House, so the president will not have to lift a finger... again! So when Pam writes,  "Yes he can, and yes he did this time.", with all due respect, I have to ask, "did what?"

It's senators Nadler, Feinstein and Leahy who took the lead by sponsoring the bill, scheduling the hearing and gathering the witnesses. They are the ones who will give marriage equality the public forum it deserves and put anti-equality bigots, like Focus on the Family's Thomas Minnery on the stand so the world can watch him lie to a senate committee.

Nadler, Feinstein and Leahy are the ones who will give voice to people like Andrew Sorbo, who lost his partner, a retired federal worker, to pancreatic cancer in 2009. Sorbo is now losing his home, because of his reduced income. DOMA prevents Sorbo from receiving surviving spouse benefits. The surviving spouse in an opposite marriage is entitled to the social security benefits of the deceased spouse and to retirement benefits as the surviving spouse of a retired federal employee.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Obama has done more for us than any other president in the history of the U.S., but what Mr. Pragmatic fails to see is that the American people -- even Republicans --  have left him in the dust on the subject of LGBT equality. It's bad enough that he won't lead on our issues, but this guy won't even follow.

The senate hearings get started at 10:00 this morning. You can watch the live webcast here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. The pres still does not support gay far as I know. He still has everyone baffled...jumping back and forth. I agree with you that it really takes little-->no effort to endorse a bill. Problem is, he thinks that is enough to get him off the hook for something else he recently did (against) us. He further thinks that he needs to somehow get our support for his campaign, while not really looking like he fully accepts us so as to not turn other supporters away. Such a quaundry for him.


Please keep comments relevant and civil. Comments attacking other people will be deleted.

Subscribe in a reader