September 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
White House website could be used to petition Obama on LGBT issues

The White House (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The White House unveiled on Thursday a new addition to its website allowing interested parties to start and circulate petitions to urge the Obama administration to take action — including action on LGBT issues.

The new online engagement feature, titled We the People, enables individuals to create and sign petitions on a range of issues. Supporters of LGBT rights could, for example, urge President Obama to endorse marriage equality or issue an executive order prohibiting federal money from going to contractors that lack non-discrimination protections for LGBT workers.

“When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens,” Obama said in a statement. “That’s what the new We the People feature on is all about – giving Americans a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most to them.”

According to a White House statement, visitors can begin circulating petitions later this month. Those interested in starting a petition will need to create an account and gather names by reaching out to others.

A petition that reaches a certain threshold — which for now has been set at 5,000 signatures within 30 days — will be sent to the relevant policy makers throughout the administration. After review, an official response will be published to the White House website and emailed to all signers of the petition.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said the new online petition would be beneficial to the LGBT community.

“It’s great that there’s another way for members of our community to share their priorities with the white house,” Cole-Schwartz said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Samuel

    There is two sides to this, while the lgbt community can benifit, so can the anti-lgbt “community”

  • Anyone who believes this is anything more than a “shiny thing” distraction given the number of times ACTUAL meetings with Obama and/or his staff IN the White House have accomplished so little is a willful fool. How stupid do they think we are? Michael Cole-Schwartz is one answer.

  • Scott Burkey

    I’m afraid you may be right, Michael. Too often the President has shown himself to be a spineless appeaser instead of a leader, and never have I seen him be the “fearless advocate” he claimed to be. Considering the American electorate, Samuel has a valid point – that this is a tool which could (if even marginally effective) could turn into a double-edged sword. The radicals in the dominionist/facists (a.k.a. “conservative”) camp have proven themselves, repeatedly, to be more organized, aggressive, and pro-active than those of us who still believe in “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Cynic that I am, I see this as yet another occasion where the Obama administration has shot itself in the foot.

  • mery peyis

    Please Go To:!/petition/call-investigation-allegations-prosecutorial-judicial-misconduct-case-sholom-rubashkin/tj7Fx42T

    And Sign

    We petition the obama administration to:
    Call an Investigation into Allegations of Prosecutorial & Judicial Misconduct in the Case of Sholom Rubashkin

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