It's a tremendous testament to the profound changes that Mr. Obama has effected over the past two plus years in office, and proof again that this president can deliver on his promises.
"Yesterday, that homophobic black president (or maybe not black enough, ask Cornel West) who passed a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, mandated that any hospital accepting Medicare must respect same sex partner visitation rights, expanded federal hate crimes statutes to include protections for LGBT Americans, and did more to advance gay rights than any president ever received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest and most successful advocates for LGBT equality.
HRC President Joe Solmonese had this to say about the endorsement:
President Obama has improved the lives of LGBT Americans more than any President in history. In 2008 we were promised change and profound change is what we got. More remains to be done and ensuring that President Obama is able to continue the forward momentum toward equality for another term is an absolute priority of the Human Rights Campaign.
HRC didn't just leave it at "profound change is what we got." They spelled out the sea change that took place under President Obama's leadership on LGBT civil rights, including the ones I mentioned above plus ending the HIV entry ban, extending all possible legal benefits to partners of federal workers, applied the Family Medical Leave Act to same sex parents, appointing more openly gay and transgender people than ever and so much more. Our very own TiMT wrote a fantastic piece in March outlining these and many other achievements on the equality front in detail.
Solmonese also penned an op-ed in The Advocate.
"As you might notice in the comments for that op-ed, though, for some, clinging to "Obama-is-teh-evil" is more important than actually looking [at] what the President was able to do over, as Solmonese points out, relentless and unified opposition from Republicans. The Republican alternative for gay Americans? They would keep DADT in place, refuse to recognize anti-gay and anti-transgender violence in the nation's hate crimes laws, and yes, would send gay Americans to jail if they could. They would push to write discrimination into the Constitution, as they have in many state constitutions.
I do not say this simply to point out that President Obama is comparatively better on LGBT issues than Republicans. That's a gimme. I say this because those who insist that the President is no different from Republicans run the risk convincing their peers - or even themselves - of that false argument, which does not (as it did not in 2010) help give the President more legislative support in Congress for the additional equality initiatives he has supported and his administration has actively lobbied Congress on. These include the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), a legislative repeal of DOMA, and universalizing federal spousal rights and responsibilities for same sex couples. Each of these efforts, supported by the President, is stuck in Congress. Oddly, the solution for the ideologues on the Left for this legislative logjam seemed to be to discourage the Democratic base so as to increase the number of Republicans in Congress. We can't let that happen again.
President Obama has been a transformational leader on so many fronts. He has been nothing short of an unwavering ally for our community. He has delivered on our issues, and he would like to do more, if we send some more help in Congress."
During the 2008 elections, I didn't get to volunteer for the Obama campaign much, as I was completely consumed with the campaign to defeat Proposition 8 in California, which we failed to do. A lot of Californian activists went to Nevada for the Obama campaign to ensure President Obama's victory there. When they came back and saw the results of Prop 8, some expressed regret, saying that maybe they should have stayed in California and tried to defeat Prop 8 instead, given Obama's landslide victory. I told them two things: first, they could not have known this would happen with Prop 8, and second, President Obama's election was the most important thing to happen to LGBT rights since Harvey Milk. The people who helped turn the swing states blue won an important victory for us, even in the midst of the the depressing news about Prop 8. We could now look forward to an end to DADT, a national hate crimes law, and a federal government that respects, rather than politicizes the lives, struggles and dignity of LGBT Americans. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
There is more to do. The struggle for equality is long, hard, and worth every second of every day. The struggle for equality is not a quick fix where you simply get to throw mud at our best ally just because he hasn't wielded a magic wand. The path to equality will not end until full equality is achieved in every respect. As a gay man, I can tell you that we cannot walk this path alone. We need our straight friends and family to march with us. We need people of every color, gender, economic status and religion to walk with us. We need our fellow Americans to amplify our voices. And we need President Obama.