President Obama Ally of the Year 2015
for the GLBT community
Thanks to out.com
This president and his administration have ushered extraordinary change into the lives of LGBT Americans.
For someone who at first seemed coy, even awkward, on the subject, President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality has been something to behold. He came to office reiterating that marriage was an institution reserved for a man and a woman, and continued to hold that line throughout most of his first term, even while advancing other important legislation, including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Other signal achievements included an order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, passage of the first federal LGBT law in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, encouraging the end to a ban on transgender military service, and the ongoing effort to create a more diverse judiciary. His nomination of Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army, if successful, will make him the first openly gay head of a military branch.
Yet even as polls suggested that a growing majority of Americans supported same-sex unions, many of us were losing faith that the president would join their ranks. His public conversion, when it came on May 9, 2012, telegraphed just how far the country had moved, and was one that had the encouragement of two important women in his life: the first lady and his senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett. It took a few more years for the president to agree that marriage equality was a constitutional matter, rather than one left up to the states, but by November 2012, Americans were electing the nation’s first pro-gay marriage president. It was an extraordinary contrast to eight years earlier, when President Bush exploited fears of gay marriage to help secure a second term.
From that moment, the wind has been in our sails. Obama’s re-election was followed by two Supreme Court decisions in June 2013: United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which led to the annulling of California’s Proposition 8. In March this year, as the Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges, lawyers for the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, likening them to prohibitions on interracial marriage.
When he was sworn in on January 20, 2009, there were two states where same-sex marriage was legal. Today it is a right nationwide. Many share credit for what has transpired, but there’s no question that without the active engagement of the 44th president of the United States, who has made securing the rights of LGBT Americans a fundamental part of his legacy, we’d still be working to fulfill that dream. On this issue, among many others, he is truly a great American.
I for one think President Obama is a very good President, not only for the GLBT people!!