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COFFEE 618 - Obama's Memorandum--what it means and what it DOESN'T mean.

It may be little crumbs, it may be too little too late, it may be seriously limited by a discriminatory law, it may not be Executive Order, and it may not be undoing any of the issues caused by the offensive language of the DOMA brief, but yesterday the President signed a Presidential Memorandum for the benefit of Federal Employees. Representative Tammy Baldwin called it "limited but very meaningful," and I have to agree. Its important for us to hold the Obama Administration accountable for their bad actions, and more their INACTION on LGBT Equality, but I believe that the gay community is off-base criticizing Obama for THIS ACTION. We're doing the right thing by criticizing this Administration's actions that work AGAINST us--and look at how the main stream media is getting wind, which helps--but its wrong to attack the positive steps--however small. This is misdirected hostility. We're not mad that Obama is conferring rights to Federal employees, so lets grow up and talk about what we ARE mad ABOUT. As LawDork says, we need to recognize this for the good that's in it... even though its missing something.

Here is the video/transcript of the signing, as well as the text of the Memo itself. The White House plugged the passage of Joe Lieberman's/Tammy Baldwin's Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, as well as once again urging Congress to repeal DOMA--which is the law that is boxing the President in. When he was done, the President handed his pen to Frank Kameny--who is one person in the gay community who was most likely beyond excited about this action. After being fired by the Army Map service in 1957, Kameny became one of the outest, proudest advocates and activists in history. 62 years ago this man was fired by the Federal Government because he was gay, and today he's holding the pen that eliminated many of the inequalities that Federal workers in relationships face.

I think the most interesting video from the night, however, comes from these three reactions to the signing of the Memorandum, and analysis of all of the swirling White House controversy.

Anderson Cooper had Dustin Lance Black and Richard Socarides on to react, and I really love how Socarides begins and ends. I agree whole-heartedly with Socarides that this is NOT making me feel better about the situation as a whole, and I hope the administration--and my readers--know that; however, I DO feel good about this action.

While Rachel Maddow had on Rep. Baldwin who spoke cautiously about the Memorandum, and plugged her bill; Keith Olberman had Joe Solmonese on, and he was also very cautious in speaking about the controversy. He did not speak for my feelings as well as Socarides did on Anderson Cooper, but he is bound by his prominent position, and--to be honest--if the President just had you in the White House standing behind him while he signed a bill live on TV, you're going to be a little star-struck and giddy, so I'm not really critical of Joe here. His letter to the President came up and he's not backtracking, which is a lot better than Barney Frank, who has WRONGLY backtracked on his criticism of the DOMA brief. While I totally agree with LawDork that the DOMA brief is being characterized wrongly in the gay media, I also think that the language--while the criticism may be overblown--was totally offensive, and Frank should stick with that.

The awesomely pro-gay, pro-Equality, pro-AMERICAN group, The People for the American Way are taking the President at his word by introducing a "Dump DOMA" campaign aimed at prodding Congress into action. But lawmakers won't be switching their votes unless they know that their constituency is behind them. That's why you need to meet with your U.S. Representative and tell them that they MUST vote for your Equality. I also urge you to talk to your neighbors and get them on your side, and also get them to talk to your Representative in your support. In addition, if you are able, you MUST write Opinion/Editorials for your local newspapers urging your community to support the Equality of ALL Americans.

Its been a long and draining few days for blogging--there's lots more to talk about, but I'll do a mid-day catch up and be done with this Memorandum for now!



Nothing was eliminated with this, he offered long term care benefits, so that's for nursing homes and the like, and sick leave to take care of a partner or a non-biological child. The "action" is akin to going up to a starving homeless person and saying "Want some food?" pulling out a sandwich, breaking off a corner, and handing to them. Because, while it isn't NOTHING, and will come in handy, it isn't anywhere near a real step, and as you have criticized the president for inaction before, I'm surprised that you would praise him for such a feeble attempt.

And I (partly) agree that the DOMA brief is being characterized wrongly, and you can say til your blue in the face "They didn't mean to compare homosexuality to incest," but, having read the brief, it sounds a lot like that to me. There have to be other, BETTER, examples they could use to prove their point. Using incest of any kind in a discussion about homosexuality is irresponsible considering the way the former has been used as an argument against the latter. However, there is no proof that this is an opinion that came from Obama, or that he even knew about it, so I fall short of criticizing him.

The brief was a disaster, and so was the memorandum, in their own unique ways.
Newscrazy said…
Thanks for your comment. Though I disagree with your first paragraph, I totally agree with the second, though I would venture that Obama is unlikely to be able to examine with a fine tooth comb every brief that ever comes across his desk. Therefore I'm SURE that the opinion did not come from him. Thanks for reading the blog--I hope you keep reading it! Also, I see you once kept a blog--I think the world would benefit much more if artfully articulate people such as yourself said more, and the rest of us listened--I would encourage you to pick up that blog and start writing again! Its good for the soul.

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