In the conclusion of our exclusive audio interview with openly gay Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson asks the essential questions about the future of our LGBT civil rights in the Obama administration. When asked what progress Obama has made for LGBT civil rights since he’s been in office Baldwin honestly answered “There has been some encouragement and some setbacks.” In June Obama pledged his support for Baldwin’s Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act during the signing of an Executive Memorandum permitting domestic partners to purchase long-term care insurance and allowing employees to use their sick leave to care for domestic partners and non-biological, non-adopted children. At this signing Obama also stated that he would personally like to see the Domestic Marriage Act (DOMA) repealed.
The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley have both filed individual lawsuits against the U.S. government challenging the constitutionality of DOMA to seek federal marriage benefits for gay and lesbian couples who have legally married in Massachusetts since 2004. Baldwin expressed that she thought these actions were well-conceived strategies. As for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in the military, an inclusive gender identity Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, Obama has also called on Congress to support this legislation. Baldwin states that we should see motion on these bills in the Fall.
So, is this a matter of patience or are our LGBT civil rights being dragged through the bureaucratic system at a snail’s pace? In either case, this is definitely a crucial time to stay on top of the Obama administration to ensure they stay true to their commitment to equality for all Americans.
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