Obama site touts 40 accomplishments for gays
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Perhaps trying to send a message to gay activists who want him to do more, President Obama's re-election website has posted a timeline of 40 specific accomplishments his administration has made for the gay community -- a timeline that no doubt will be referenced both by his supporters and opponents in the coming months.
The rainbow-colored timeline begins in June 2009, when he ordered the federal government to extend some benefits to the partners of gay federal employees, and ends in March of this year, when he announced his opposition to a North Carolina constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. In between, the timeline touts some of his more well-known accomplishments for the gay community, led by the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and his legal opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.
His re-election Twitter account sent out a Tweet April 20 with a link to the website and the message: "What three years of progress for the LGBT community looks like."
Some gay activists are upset Obama has not publicly supported gay "marriage," although many of them say he has taken positions and actions that leave little doubt where he stands. They were further upset when he did not sign an anti-discrimination executive order in April.
The campaign website states: "Together, we've fought for equal rights for LGBT Americans -- and the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is just one example of the progress we've achieved since President Obama took office. Take a look at the timeline below, then share it with your friends."
Following is the text from the timeline, which can be accessed online at https://my.barackobama.com/page/share/progress-for-lgbt-americans:
June 17 -- "Ordered the federal government to extend key benefits to same–sex partners of federal employees."
June 29 -- "Hosted the first-ever White House LGBT Pride reception."
Aug. 12 -- "Awarded the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, to Billie Jean King and Harvey Milk."
Oct. 21 -- "Created a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders."
Oct. 28 -- "Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law."
Jan. 1 -- "Banned discrimination in federal workplaces based on gender identity."
Jan. 4 -- "Lifted the ban that prohibited people with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States."
March 23 -- "Enacted the Affordable Care Act, reforming health care in America by lowering costs, expanding choice, and improving health care quality."
April 15 -- "Ensured hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights for gay and lesbian patients."
June 9 -- "Allowed transgender Americans to receive true gender passports without surgery."
June 22 -- "Clarified the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure family leave for LGBT employees."
June 22 -- "Released America's first comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness, which includes homeless LGBT youth."
Oct. 1 -- "Awarded a grant to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center to work with LGBT foster youth."
Oct. 21 -- "Recorded 'It Gets Better' video to support LGBT youth experiencing bullying."
Dec. 21 -- "Led a United Nations measure to restore 'sexual orientation' to the definition of human rights."
Dec. 22 -- "Signed the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
Feb. 23 -- "Declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and announced the administration will no longer defend it in court."
March 10 -- "Hosted first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in America's schools."
March 31 -- "Completed an Institute of Medicine study on LGBT health, the first of its kind."
May 27 -- "Issued guidance to foster safer working environments for transgender federal employees."
July 19 -- "Endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, a legislative effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."
Aug. 18 -- "Clarified the meaning of 'family' to include LGBT relationships, helping to protect bi-national families threatened by deportation."
Aug. 19 -- "Supported lesbian widow Edith Windsor in her suit against DOMA."
Sept. 15 -- "Ended the Social Security Administration's gender 'no–match' letters."
Sept. 20 -- "Implemented the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
Sept. 30 -- "Permitted military chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages where legal."
Oct. 1 -- "Addressed the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner for the second time."
Oct. 13 -- "Alison Nathan becomes second openly gay appointee to be confirmed to the federal bench under President Obama's nomination."
Oct. 20 -- "Awarded Citizens' Medal to Janice Langbehn, lesbian mother whose story paved the way for hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples."
Oct. 31 -- "Included specific data on health needs of lesbian and bisexual women in the Health Resources and Services Administration's 'Women's Health USA 2011' federal report."
Nov. 1 -- "In his presidential proclamation of National Adoption Month, President Obama called for equal treatment for same-sex adoptive parents."
Dec. 1 -- "On World AIDS Day, recommitted the U.S. to creating an AIDS–free generation."
Dec. 6 -- "Created first-ever U.S. government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad."
Jan. 28 -- "Announced HUD's new rule protecting against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
Feb. 2 -- "Announced White House LGBT Conference Series to address issues affecting LGBT Americans, including health, housing, and safety."
Feb. 7 -- "Promoted equal access to quality health care by enabling searches for health plans with same-sex partner benefits on Healthcare.gov."
Feb. 13 -- "Proposed a 2013 federal budget for an economy built to last, including providing security for the LGBT community."
March (no specific date given) -- "Ensured transgender veterans receive respectful care according to their true gender through the Veterans Health Administration."
March 15 -- "Michael Fitzgerald, fourth openly gay nominee under President Obama, is confirmed to the federal bench in California."
March 16 -- "Came out against North Carolina's Amendment 1, which would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state."
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Read Baptist Press' special story, "Why not legalize gay marriage?" at http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37494.