Yay! We got a “Gay!”: State of the Union Round Up

On the surface it seems a bit underwhelming.

The big “gay” moment in this year’s State of the Union speech came with the President’s predicted nod to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”…

“When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight,” said the president. “When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.”

The main focus of his speech was the economy.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director, Rea Carey, issued a press release reminding the president that the economy includes millions of hard-working LGBTQIA individuals….

“President Obama spoke pointedly tonight of the need to get our country’s economy moving again, of getting people back to work, and of tackling the huge economic disparity that is hurting and hampering families everywhere. We couldn’t agree more and urge his administration and Congress to work together to ensure that everybody — including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — have an opportunity to offer their unfettered best to America.”

Carey went on to point out that those Americans are still being hurt by federal polices,”If the president is truly serious about job creation and boosting America’s economic well-being, he must provide leadership to pass federal employment protections for LGBT people and end the costly and unjust federal marriage ban. He must also retain the safety net of services that so many people and families depend upon for their survival.”

Meanwhile, a headline over at the Gay Report blared,”Obama Has Not Evolved Tonight.”

“After one hour and fifteen minutes, President Obama did address ANY lgbt issues tonight in his State of The Union address. He has also not stated whether or not he has “evolved” on the issue on gay marriage and to come out in support for marriage equality as many gay supporters of the President touted that he might come out for gay marriage during his speech.” wrote the site’s editor.

America Blog’s John Aravosis wrote that the speech,”just feels like an awful lot less than I expected. And I wasn’t expected marriage or the ENDA executive order. But I was at least expecting him to brag about, and take credit for, lifting the ban. It almost feels like they didn’t want to talk about it. Why?”

Not everyone seemed to be expecting more, however.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director, Army Veteran Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement,“Tonight, SLDN was pleased to hear President Obama acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of our service members, including gay and lesbian Americans who wear our nation’s uniform. The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ would not have been possible without his vision and determination. And at SLDN, we are encouraged by his announcement of a new initiative to hire veterans, who are coming home to a very difficult job market.”

While it would have been great to hear the President at least acknowledge the struggle for marriage equality, especially in a  year where two states are about to become battlegrounds,  you have to admit, he’s done more the LGBTQIA community in the past four years then past presidents have done in the past two hundred and thirty-five.

The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, requiring hospital visitation rights for same gender couples, signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, not to mention the refusal to defend DOMA and a half a dozen other advancements, all happened during his administration.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Bottom line? We’ll take the “gay” tonight and have the faith that the President will go back to work on more action tomorrow.


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