Gay-rights protesters gathered outside a fundraiser in Beverly Hills where President Obama appeared Wednesday. (Photo: flickr user goalbert)
In my story today about Dallas’ Day of Decision Rally, I noted that many of the speakers took aim at President Obama for failing to make LGBT issues a top priority. But Washington Blade Editor Kevin Naff accurately notes in this editorial today that much of the blame lies not with Obama, but with Congress. Here’s an excerpt:
Obama doesnâ€™t deserve a pass on gay issues and, as he has repeatedly said himself, we can do more than one thing at a time. His approach to â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ is troubling and disappointing; his administrationâ€™s silence on federal recognition of legal same-sex marriages being performed in a handful of states wonâ€™t win Obama a profile in courage award. And press secretary Robert Gibbs clearly needs to talk to the president about these issues; his amateurish inability to articulate a coherent response to gay-related questions is beyond tiresome.
None of that, however, justifies some of the anger now being directed at Obama over his alleged reluctance to support gay rights. Much of the blame lies, instead, with Congress, which must introduce, debate and vote on hate crimes, employment non-discrimination and â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ repeal measures. The House, for example, passed the hate crimes bill last month, yet no companion measure has been introduced in the Senate. In fact, gay Rep. Barney Frank told the Blade this week that Senate leaders are still debating the best way to pass what should be a no-brainer piece of legislation that is hardly atop the wish list of many LGBT rights advocates.
Meanwhile, Frank said not to expect a â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ repeal this year. A House repeal bill was introduced, but no such legislation has surfaced in the Senate.
â€œPeople have got to start lobbying,â€ Frank said. â€œThey should have been doing that already. They donâ€™t need to lobby Obama. Heâ€™s told the military heâ€™s for it. â€¦ The question is whether we have 60 votes in the Senate.â€