As President Obama gears up for reelection, his administration has begun actively courting the LGBT vote by touting his accomplishments for the community. And while Obama has started the process of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, stopped defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and taken important steps to prevent discrimination of LGBT people in the federal government, he has fallen short of full equality. In fact, Obama’s cautious and hesitant political manner has — at times — left LGBT advocates to push him toward advancing important legislative initiatives.
This afternoon, the Washington Blade published “A Pride Wish List For Obama,” in which LGBT leaders spell out what the administration could and should be doing better to support the community. The list includes the following:
– END JOB DISCRIMINATION: The president could issue an executive order prohibiting the federal government from contracting with companies that don’t have LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies.
– CERTIFY REPEAL OF DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL: It’s been six months since Obama signed the repeal of DADT became law, but the repeal has not yet been certified.
– SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Though he supported full marriage equality in 1996, the president has been “wrestling” with the issue in recent years. Speaking out in favor of full equality as president would be a big boost of support for the many states still struggling to resist oppression.
– PROTECT BI-NATIONAL COUPLES: A moratorium on deportations of foreign nationals in same-sex marriages would protect those couples from being separated.
– SUPPORT ANTI-BULLYING LEGISLATION: Though the White House has taken steps to support anti-bullying initiatives, Obama has been mum on the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act that have been introduced in Congress.
This list is just a small sampling of the many changes the president could make without approval from Congress. Act On Principles documents the New Beginning Initiative Redux, a list of about 90 policy recommendations that the administration could have started enacting on its very first day of office to support the LGBT community. Most of the list remains incomplete.