President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

Out singer Catie Curtis tonight at Uncle Calvin’s

She’ll folk you up

Boston folk singer Catie Curtis brings a new set of tunes to town. Promoting her latest album Stretch Limousine on Fire, Curtis says this album has pushed her to her musical boundaries. So her live show must be just as inspired.

DEETS: With Melissa Greener. Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, 555 N. Central Expressway. 8 p.m. $15–$18.

—  Rich Lopez

Sally Kern: Gays (and Gaga) are the real haters!

Rep. Sally Kern

In case you missed Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern’s appearance on Tim Wildmon’s American Family Radio, she was on promoting her new book, The Stoning of Sally Kern.

Wildmon is the president of the hate group the American Family Association. Kern is the legislator whose district includes a large number of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, but who says that homosexuals are a bigger threat to this country than terrorists.

On the show, Wildmon said, “Nobody hates the individual homosexual.”

That’s great to know.

“To me what is hateful is when those people who say ‘you’re born this way, there’s no hope in change, you’re stuck in this, deal with it,’ that is hate,” Kern responded. “There’s no hope in that.”

—  David Taffet

Even World Nut Daily is promoting Obama’s opposition to marriage equality

World Nut Daily’s Joseph Farah, pictured here, has become the leading conservative voice against marriage equality. Pam reports Farah will be debating marriage with GOProud’s Chris Barron will be debating Farah at a right-wing conference later this month.

Today, WND prints an “Open letter to Conservatives who support same-sex marriage” from David Kupelian. Here’s how it starts — with one of the favorite talking points from marriage opponents:

“I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman.” – Barack Obama

“Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage always has been, between a man and a woman.” – Hillary Clinton

To my conservative friends and colleagues,

Just two years ago, supporting homosexual marriage was such an extreme, politically radioactive position that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – both Alinskyite progressives and long-time gay-rights supporters – saw fit to publicly and repeatedly declare their opposition to same-sex marriage.

Today, as the homosexual newspaper the Washington Blade puts it, “conservatives have taken the leadership role in achieving marriage equality.”

Yes, they have. Now, even WND is using Obama to challenge the conservatives who are more progressive on marriage than the Prsident.


—  John Wright

Dr. Alveda King hijacks the King legacy while promoting equality for some

NOTE FROM JOHN: Perhaps if our groups were a little less skittish about the topic of “r-a-c-e and the gays,” they’d have embraced long ago Coretta Scott King’s comments – repeated comments – about how gay civil rights are part of the larger civil rights movement. Call me crazy, but what could be more helpful than the revered wife of America’s most revered civil rights leader? Yet, you never hear about Coretta’s comments, even when the religious right is using a relative of MLK in an effort to subvert the cause.

It is tragic to me that this woman is tied to the King last name.  In the interview below, Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., attempts to imply a position for her uncle based on shared DNA and simultaneously puts down the position of Coretta Scott King, who stood for marriage equality, based on a lack of common DNA.

Beyond all of the emotional undertones that this interview carries, what I find most striking is that even after having had her rights protected by a court despite public opinion, she is unable to recognize the fact that no minority should ever have their fundamental rights voted on by society. Joe wrote earlier on the pitiful attendance at this rally (despite the headliner), but I had to chime in on the interview below.

This interview was conducted by Arisha Hatch who is with the Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker.  Hatch has done a fantastic job calmly interviewing NOM’s Brian Brown and Larry Adams (who suggested lynchings as a cure to homosexuals).  But this one is beyond the pale.  I respect Alveda King’s work in the civil rights movement of the ’60s, but the gaps in her logical, lack of empathy and unwillingness to look beyond her own experiences are truly disturbing.


—  John Wright