Monday, October 05, 2009

To the disappointment of LGBT Americans, Obama will not be attending the National Equality March

More than 30 speakers, representing the diversity of the LGBT community and its straight allies will be featured at the National Equality March. Scheduled to speak are two civil rights icons: Cleve Jones (left) and Julian Bond (right). Bond likens the National Equality March to the Civil Rights March of 1963. “We had a dream and marched on Washington to demand our rights; I am proud to stand with the LGBT community as they march for theirs,” he said.

One person not attending the National Equality March is the president of the United States. Instead, Obama will be speaking at the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner on Saturday. Obama becomes the second sitting president (Clinton was the first back in 1997) to ever address a national gay rights organization such as the Human Rights Campaign and that is significant. Or is it? I guess it depends on how great the speech is. Will Obama commit his administration to eliminating all and any legal barriers currently preventing LGBT Americans from achieving equal citizenship?

Obama to attend the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner

New York Times reports:
President Obama will speak to a gathering of gay rights activists this weekend, a day before thousands of people are expected to march on Washington in a demonstration calling for greater legal protections for gays, lesbians and transgendered Americans.

Mr. Obama’s appearance on Saturday at the annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, represents a significant show of support for gay rights at a time when many prominent gay and lesbian activists have been questioning the president’s commitment to their issues.

Many gay rights activists have become increasingly vocal about their frustration over what they see as tepid support from Mr. Obama. While the president has professed support for overturning the ban on gays in the military and called the law that precludes federal recognition of same-sex marriages discriminatory, he has not engaged on gay rights issues as actively as some had hoped. While it remains to be seen what Mr. Obama’s appearance at the dinner will do to his standing in the eyes of gay rights activists, his speech may mollify some of their concerns. READ MORE