Jonathan Stein was poking around the new WhiteHouse.gov web site (which we've already pointed out is pretty darn sexy) and noticed something interesting, which he forwarded to me: the "Civil Rights" page under "Agenda" features a surprisingly large section on gay rights. "Support for the LGBT Community" takes up fully half the page, more than all other civil rights proposals combined, and while some of the eight points have been made by Obama before (repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," fight workplace discrimination), others are eye-opening:
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.
Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
Other bullet points include expansion of hate crimes statutes, opposition to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and AIDS prevention. It's quite a list, which may help to to assuage us queers who were appalled by Obama's choice of Rick Warren for the invocation at today's inauguration ceremony, and disturbed by openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson's speech somehow being scheduled before the TV broadcast began and the guests of honor were there to hear it. It's been rough going around the gays, to be honest. Personally, while I supported Obama from the beginning, I was nearly alone among my gay and lesbian friends, who supported Hillary Clinton almost unanimously. With both the Warren and Robinson situations, I got a barrage of "I told you so" emails, and my response has always been to offer a hopeful hypothesis that Obama would offer inclusive nods to people like Warren but make up for it with aggressive pro-LGBT moves on actual policy. If the administration follows through on even a few of these ambitious proposals, my admittedly optimistic theory may turn out to be correct.