Connect with us

Gay Rights And Obama’s State Of The Union: Was It Enough?



President Obama’s State of the Union address last night — all sixty-two minutes, all 6820 words — was met with expected mixed success. Most on the Left were pleased, most on the Right were not. Depending on which flash poll you read, anywhere from 50% t0 77% to 92% of the American people thought it was a success. But his merely passing mention of gay rights has left some members of the LGBTQ community, however, are feeling rather… ambivalent.

No one is, and no one should ever suggest that gay rights take priority over all other aspects of American life. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders are all Americans, and are affected by all the challenges our heterosexual brothers and sisters face. Gay or straight, we all need jobs, financial security, protection from enemies — both foreign and domestic — and a safety net should we fall and can’t pick ourselves back up; in short, everything the founding fathers and our United States constitution promises us.

So is it incumbent upon our president to mention us specifically in every major speech? Was it important for Obama to have mentioned the LGBTQ community — more than he did — in this State of the Union? Did he acknowledge us enough?

Some in the gay community think yes, some think no. The Advocate’s Andrew Harmon, in “Obama: Mum on Marriage“ writes that “marriage equality, clearly the holy grail of civil rights advancements for national LGBT groups and an issue at the heart of multiple state battles, was not mentioned. That left some advocates, though perhaps not surprised, wanting more.”

“I thought it was a good speech, aspirational in many ways, as it should be, even though I thought the president missed an opportunity to build on the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and lead the nation forward toward full LGBT equality,” said Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters and a former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton.”

Was it a missed opportunity to send a strong message to America that gay or straight, we all need jobs, financial security, protection from enemies, both foreign and domestic, a safety net should we fall and can’t pick ourselves back up; in short, everything the constitution promises us?

Gay men and lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders are all treated as second-class citizens by our government. We operate at a disadvantage: an economic and emotional disadvantage.

Gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders can be fired in a majority of states just for being who we are.

We don’t have the economic or emotional protections of marriage. There are at least 1138 federal benefits our heterosexual brothers and sisters are afforded by the federal government that we are legally prohibited from enjoining.

That’s not fair, not right, and not American.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey on the issue of equality and Obama’s State of the Union address said, “The president should pave the way.”

“If the president is truly serious about job creation and boosting America’s economic well-being, he must provide leadership and action in helping to pass employment protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and ending the costly and unjust federal marriage ban.”

“Fact is, the state of the union for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people remains largely one of inequality, as we can still be fired from or denied employment in many parts of the country for nothing other than bias, and marriage inequality relegates our families to second-class status.”

Last night, President Obama said, “Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.”

By the way, here are a few words President Obama didn’t say: marriage,  civil rights, DREAM Act, bullying, suicides,  equality,  lesbian,  climate change,  global warming, sexual orientation,  ENDA,  DOMA,  guns,  gun control.

Should our president have done more during the State of the Union address than mention he signed into law the bill that repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?”

Should he have mentioned ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would protect LGBTQ people from being fired for who they are?

Should he have mentioned his stated desire to repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that makes it illegal for the federal government to recognize married same-sex couples?

These issues are at the heart of financial, economic, emotional, and societal discrimination of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders.

Some say that there is no way Obama will be able to give life to these critical pieces of the gay agenda with a Republican-controlled House, so why offer empty words? Others say that having a president keep these words and ideas alive is important. Both are correct.

On the issue of marriage equality not being mentioned in the State of the Union, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart writes, “Stand in line, folks. He didn’t mention gun control, either. Would anyone suggest he didn’t really care about that issue or the folks who care about the issue?”

Saying, “Evolutions require as much patience as persistence,” Capehart adds, “When it comes to Obama and marriage equality, gays need to take a page from Obama and his handling of DADT repeal. Richard Socarides, former adviser to President Clinton and the new head of Equality Matters, told the Advocate, “Press him at every turn,” he said, “and do so creatively and strategically.”

Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen writes, “If the election were held today, Barack Obama would capture an overwhelming majority of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender vote. Indeed, I believe that the LGBT community will be his most loyal block of supporters other than African Americans — and maybe Latinos if Republicans insist on passing more Arizona-type immigration laws.”

Besen goes on to say “the state of the union with most LGBT voters — following a two-year rocky relationship — remains quite stable, although not entirely satisfying.”

Make no mistake. No other president has ever done more for the LGBTQ community than Barack Obama. He is fulfilling his promises to us. Some think just not fast enough. Others think we risk alienating those in the White House who are trying to make things better for us.

What do you think?

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo



Authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department responded to an anti-LGBTQ protest outside a Texas church on Saturday.

“First Christian Church Katy is hosting a drag bingo fundraiser benefiting the ministry’s Transparent Closet, a free boutique aimed at helping young people in the LGBTQ community in the largely conservative west Houston suburb,” Jay R. Jordan reported for Axios on Friday. “Protect Texas Kids, led by North Texas’ self-described “Christian fascist” Kelly Neidert, plans to protest outside the church, according to a Facebook event from the group.”

The report noted anti-fascist activists were planning a counterprotest.

“Neidert’s protests have drawn support from neo-Nazis and other anti-LGBTQ groups,” Axios reported. “Men in Nazi regalia and alleged Proud Boys wearing Buc-ee’s masks joined Neidert’s protest outside a drag brunch at Hamburger Mary’s downtown in July.”

On Saturday, Jordan posted a video clip from the scene.

“Proud Boys and Kelly Neidert’s Protect Texas Kids are in Katy, Texas, protesting a drag bingo fundraiser at First Christian Church. PB and Houston antifascists just clashed. Heavy police presence dividing the two groups now,” he reported.

He noted “Houston’s Nazis” had arrived and police formed a line between the two sides.

“The group of Nazis appear to be leaving the protest, sporting for the first time today a flag with a swastika. Proud Boys and Patriot Front have also left,” he reported.

Watch below or at this link:


Image: Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. (Johnny Silvercloud /

Continue Reading


‘Pretty Big ‘A-Ha’ Moment’: J6 Staffer Reveals White House Switchboard Called Rioter’s Cell Phone During Insurrection



On Friday, 60 Minutes revealed that Denver Riggleman, a key staffer for the House Select Committee on January 6, discovered the White House switchboard patched through to the phone of a Capitol rioter — while the attack was in progress.

“Riggleman, an ex-military intelligence officer and former Republican congressman from Virginia, oversaw a data-driven operation for the January 6 committee, pursuing phone records and other digital clues tied to the attack on the Capitol. He stopped working for the committee in April,” reported Keith Zubrow.

“You get a real ‘a-ha’ moment when you see that the White House switchboard had connected to a rioter’s phone while it’s happening,” said Riggleman to 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker. “That’s a big, pretty big ‘a-ha’ moment.”

He added that “I only know one end of that call. I don’t know the White House end, which I believe is more important. But the thing is the American people need to know that there are link connections that need to be explored more.”

This comes after a series of damning revelations about the involvement and support of former President Donald Trump in encouraging the people storming the Capitol.

One of the biggest allegations to come out of the public hearings by the select committee was the claim by former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson that Trump demanded the rioters be allowed onto the premises because “they’re not here to hurt me” — and that he lunged at his security detail in the car after they refused to take him to the Capitol to join the attackers.

Continue Reading


Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’



Far right wing extremist, Christian nationalist, antisemite Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab, the social media platform that is popular with white supremacists, is telling the Republican Party that “80 percent” of its base is Christian nationalists, and warns them to not “condemn” or “disavow” them.

Torba has ties to far right Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican party’s nominee for governor of Pennsylvania. Torba has also “endorsed” Arizona GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem, an election-denier and member of the far-right antigovernment group Oath Keepers, and election-denying Arizona GOP state Senator Wendy Rogers.

“We have the numbers, we are the majority. And we are done being the footstool. We are going to wake up the body of Christ in this country. And we’re going to do something about you castrating our children, about you sexually indoctrinating them in the schools, about, you know, taking over our culture and taking over our government and sending all of our money to foreign countries and allowing our border to be invaded,” he says in video published by Right Wing Watch.

READ MORE: ‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’

Gab is home to QAnon and “great replacement” conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, MAGA and ultra MAGA extremists, white Christian nationalists, white supremacists, antisemites, and anti-LGBTQ extremists.

“We’re done,” Torba continues in his rant.

“We’re done with it, and we’re going to step up and we’re going to rebuild this fallen and corrupt society from scratch, just as Christians have done many times before. And yes, we absolutely are going to get involved in public discourse and in politics, and you’re not going to shut us up,” Torba declared.

“And it’s a message to the Republican party too that they are not to disavow us,” he warned. “They are not to condemn us, because we are 80% of the Republican Party. Christian nationalists are the Republican Party, and they’re going to start doing the will of God,” he says, appearing to order the Republican Party to meet his demands.

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

“And they’re going to start, you know, supporting biblical policies, and they’re going to start, you know, fighting back against this and not being complacent or they’re going to get out of the way and we’re going to go in there and we’re going to do it ourselves. Those are their two choices.”

Torba has appeared on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch show. Perkins is the longtime head of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Last week Jewish Insider reported on an “obscure new book calling for the construction of ‘a parallel Christian society’ to replace ‘the failed secular state'” that seemed to be “performing surprisingly well on Amazon.”

That book, Christian Nationalism: A Biblical Guide for Taking Dominion and Discipling Nations, was written by Torba.

Last month the House Committee on Oversight sent Torba a letter “regarding your company’s response to the surge of online threats against law enforcement following the execution of a court-authorized search warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

“We are concerned that reckless statements by the former President and Republican Members of Congress have unleashed a flood of violent threats on social media that have already led to at least one death and pose a danger to law enforcement officers across the United States. We urge you to take immediate action to address any threats of violence against law enforcement that appear on your company’s platforms,” the letter reads.

But that letter also said, “On August 15, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with making threats of violence against FBI personnel. He wrote on the social media platform Gab, ‘If You Work For The FBI Then You Deserve To Die.’ He also wrote, ‘Every single piece of shit who works for the FBI in any capacity, from the director down to the janitor who cleans their fucking toilets deserves to die. You’ve declared war on us and now it’s open season on YOU.'”

Watch below or at this link:




Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.