Connect with us

Politics

Obama on marriage: ‘attitudes evolve, including mine’

Published

on

President Obama on Wednesday suggested that his position on same-sex marriage may “evolve” over time during a news conference with progressive bloggers.

“But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine,” Obama said. “And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships.”

The president said he’s a “strong supporter of civil unions” and has been “unwilling to sign on” to support for same-sex marriage because of his “understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.”

Obama, who opposes same-sex marriage, made the comments in response to question from Joe Sudbay, deputy editor of AMERICABlog, was among the bloggers invited to the news conference. Read the complete transcript of Sudbay’s question-and-answer session on LGBT issues with Obama here.

Discussion of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” also made up a significant portion of the conference. Obama sidestepped a question on whether he thinks “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is constitutional. The president said “it’s not a simple yes or no question” because he’s not sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the president deemed the law unconstitutional, he could discontinue enforcement of the statute, although the courts would have the final say in the matter.

“Here’s what I can say,” Obama added. “I think ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act.”

Emphasizing that his “hope and expectation” is that Congress can repeal the statute, Obama said he’s been “as systematic and methodical” as he can in trying to move forward with mitigating the impact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” given his legal constraints.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued new guidance on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that limits the authority on discharges to the civilian service secretary of the department concerned. Further, these secretaries can only make discharges “in coordination” with the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and the Pentagon’s general counsel.

Obama said he would “be involved” in pushing the Senate to move forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation this year after Election Day, but declined to comment on whether support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates would be part of this process.

“I’m not going to tip my hand now,” Obama said. “But there is a strategy.”

Referencing the Log Cabin Republicans’ litigation against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Obama said he doesn’t “understand the logic” of the lawsuit and said he needs the organization to find Republican votes to move forward with legislative repeal in the Senate.

“You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate,” Obama said.

Obama also took at dig at those who don’t think he’s doing enough on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and other LGBT issues and said he doesn’t “think that the disillusionment is justified.”

“So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing, but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong,” Obama said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Salty

    October 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Tradition? It’s funny (not) and weird that a man who is part Black uses the word “tradition”. Traditionally, Black people in America were slaves and after slavery the U.S. Constitution had to be amended so that Black people were considered citizens, etc. Then (and now) Black citizens had to take to the streets to be treated like American citizens. Opposite-sex marriage didn’t mean anything to slave owners or Congress or the church because Black families were split apart by selling spouses and children away from each other. So much for “marriage tradition” and “family values”. Now homosexuals have to take to the streets and wait until heterosexual “attitudes evolve”.

    How come Congress are not asked questions so that the people will know the names and faces of national lawmakers who, based on their personal bias and religious beliefs, deny certain citizens equal rights?

    • Chris

      October 29, 2010 at 3:21 am

      You’re an white arrogant queen Salty….Your point is????

  2. AJ

    October 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    What a fucking fraud. Obama ran on arrogance and empty rhetoric and most were too stupid to see it. Well, we’re now getting what we deserve. When you elect as obviously narcissistic and ego driven as Obama, you kind of have to expect to get burned.

    • Chris

      October 29, 2010 at 3:22 am

      Just like Hillary and Bill now crazy queen go take some Meth and shut up.

  3. Salty

    October 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I’m not arrogant or white. I like President Obama but he should just really say what he thinks because he can’t satisfy everyone, which he seems to want to do. I’m not a queen and Obama is not a king who has total power, so he can’t do it all by himself. Obama is a hetero-male, religious and uses words like “tradition”. USA leaders are not very progressive and drag their feet on every issue that doesn’t even need to be an issue. I am an American citizen and should have the same rights as heterosexuals to marry the person I love, etc, without my neighbor voting on it. The US military is not the only place of employment that has DADT. Gay people in USA should not have to deal with “tradition” that makes it harder to pursue happiness and live freely. I don’t use illegal drugs and so far in USA, I still have the right to speak my mind whether you like what I say or not.

  4. Doctor Whom

    October 29, 2010 at 6:43 am

    If it’s all about “traditional definitions of marriage,” then I assume he’ll affirm my right to multiple wives, concubines, and POW sex slaves. Anyone who knows about the *real* traditional definitions of marriage will know what I mean.

  5. Peter the saint

    October 30, 2010 at 12:47 am

    We are all being patronized by President Obama… imagine, holding equality and “sameness” in front of us like a carrot stick before the horse. TYPICAL politicization of each and every one of our lives, this time for the democrats to exploit into the future ad infinitum. THAT’S NOT CHANGE! THAT’S SAME!

    Every other person but Obama would be called a bigot today, this week, who would tell the nation’s LGBT kids and teens that they should not expect to be able to get married, and raise a family in dignity and equality, like those “other” Americans. “Tradition!!!!!!!!!!” he is explaining. Sort of.

    Wow, I hate to be used, don’t you? Using you and me and our friends and families as voting bait? Like every other politician has before him? Yes, of course he is and yes of course the Democrats are… just like the Republicans did, and still do… just like Republicans…

    So. What to do, what to do. Where to turn and what to do… hmmm.

    I’m afraid that possibly Joe Wilson was right about him when it comes to our well-being, and our place in this nation/world. Oh, “but this is how it’s DONE”?? Is that it, HRC? Well, then, again, that is NOT change; so I can no longer “believe in” it if it’s just same. And quite possibly we were fools yet again for ever having believed it in the first place. Of course we were: if CHANGE equaled SAME/NO-CHANGE, then epic fail. Better than Bush? Yes, but that’s not what he promised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Biden recognizes 10th anniversary of end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Pete Buttigieg, Gina Ortiz Jones named in White House statement

Published

on

President Biden recognized in a statement on Monday the tenth anniversary of the end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that once discharged service members from the military for being openly gay or bisexual.

“Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members,” Biden said. “The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all.”

Biden recognized high-profile openly gay appointees in his administrations who are also veterans, naming Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Biden also names Shawn Skelly, assistant secretary of defense for readiness, who would have been discharged from the military under President Trump’s transgender military ban.

“On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation,” Biden said. “We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.”

Technically speaking, the anniversary of Obama signing repeal legislation was in December. Today is the anniversary of defense officials certifying the military is ready, which put an end to the policy.

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joe Biden on the Tenth Anniversary of the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. It was the right thing to do. And, it showed once again that America is at its best when we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Despite serving with extraordinary honor and courage throughout our history, more than 100,000 American service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity—including some 14,000 under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Many of these veterans received what are known as “other than honorable” discharges, excluding them and their families from the vitally important services and benefits they had sacrificed so much to earn.

As a U.S. Senator, I supported allowing service members to serve openly, and as Vice President, I was proud to champion the repeal of this policy and to stand beside President Obama as he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law. As President, I am honored to be Commander-in-Chief of the strongest and most inclusive military in our nation’s history. Today, our military doesn’t just welcome LGBTQ+ service members—it is led at the highest levels by brave LGBTQ+ veterans, including Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly, who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was gratified to appoint the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Afghanistan veteran who joined the military under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And during my first week in office, I proudly delivered on my pledge to repeal the discriminatory ban on open service by patriotic transgender service members.

On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation. We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.

Continue Reading

News

HHS awards more than $48 million to HRSA centers in effort to beat HIV/AIDS

Biden campaigned on beating epidemic by 2025

Published

on

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra hailed the contribution of more than $48 million to beat HIV/AIDS. (photo public domain)

The Biden administration has awarded more than $48 million to medical centers under Health Resources & Services Administration in localities with high incidents of HIV infection as part of the initiative to beat the disease, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services, said in a statement the contributions are key component of the initiative, which is called “Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.” and seeks to reduce new infections by 90 percent by 2030.

“HHS-supported community health centers are often a key point of entry to HIV prevention and treatment services, especially for underserved populations,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am proud of the role they play in providing critical services to 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Today’s awards will ensure equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination, while advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025.”

The $48 million contribution went to HRSA centers 271 HRSA-supported health centers across 26 states, Puerto Rico and D.C. — areas identified with the highest rates of HIV infections — to expand HIV prevention and treatment services, including access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as outreach and care coordination, according to HHS.

The Ending the HIV Epidemic was set up under the Trump administration, which made PrEP a generic drug after an accelerated effort and set a goal of beating HIV by 2030. Biden has continued the project, after campaigning on beating HIV a full five years earlier in 2025. Observers, however, are skeptical he can meet that goal.

Diana Espinosa, acting HRSA administrator, said in a statement the $48 million will go a long way in reaching goals to beat HIV/AIDS.

“We know our Health Center Program award recipients are well-positioned to advance the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative, with a particular focus on facilitating access to PrEP, because of their integrated service delivery model,” Espinosa said. “By integrating HIV services into primary care, and providing essential enabling services like language access or case management, HRSA-supported health centers increase access to care and improve health outcomes for patients living with HIV.”

Continue Reading

News

Melania Trump announced as guest for Log Cabin Republicans’ annual dinner

Former first lady Melania Trump is set to be a special guest at the annual “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner hosted by Log Cabin Republicans.

Published

on

Former first lady Melania Trump is set to be a special guest at the annual “Spirit of Lincoln” dinner hosted by Log Cabin Republicans, the organization announced on Tuesday.

The event — which will take place Nov. 6 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., marking a change of tradition in holding the dinner in D.C. — will likely mark an attempt for Melania Trump to develop her image as an LGBTQ ally and tamp down the reputation the Trump administration was hostile to LGBTQ people.

Charles Moran, managing director for Log Cabin Republicans, hailed Melania Trump in a statement for her work as first lady and breaking barriers for the Republican Party.

“Melania Trump’s work as First Lady, from helping children reach their full potential to championing a more inclusive Republican Party, has been historic,” Moran said. “Her vocal support of Log Cabin Republicans has been a signal to Republicans everywhere that it is possible to simultaneously be conservative and support equality under the law for all Americans.”

According to the Log Cabin Republicans, Melania Trump at the dinner will be awarded with the 2021 Spirit of Lincoln Award. Other high-profile Republicans in the past who have appeared at the annual event are Carly Fiorina, Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Mary Cheney.

Moran, in response to an email inquiry from the Washington Blade, said Melania Trump will not only be an award recipient, but is set to deliver remarks at the event.

It won’t be the first time Melania Trump has collaborated with Log Cabin. During the 2020 election, she appeared in a video for Outspoken, the media arm for Log Cabin Republicans, saying “nothing could be further from the truth” her husband, former President Trump, is against LGBTQ people.

Among the anti-LGBTQ policies under Trump were a transgender military ban, religious freedom carve-out seen to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination and the U.S. Justice Department arguing against LGBTQ inclusion under civil rights law when the issue was before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, Trump connected with a certain faction of LGBTQ people and his administration included high-profile LGBTQ appointees, such as Richard Grenell as the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet role.

As first reported by the Washington Blade, Melania Trump said in 2020 she wanted to light up the White House in rainbow colors similar to the display during the Obama years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage nationwide. However, the vision never came to pass at a time when White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had a role in quashing an symbolic support for LGBTQ people in Pride Month.

The Log Cabin announcement comes at a time when Melania Trump is facing new scrutiny over her response to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and whether she erroneously believes, like her husband, he was the winner of the 2020 election.

According to a preview in Politico, former White House press secretary and Melania Trump aide Stephanie Grisham says in her upcoming book she texted the former first lady on Jan. 6 to ask: “Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?”

A minute later, Melania replied with a one-word answer: “No,” Grisham reportedly writes of her account. At that moment, Grisham writes she was at the White House preparing for a photo shoot of a rug she had selected, according to Politico.

The Blade has placed a request in with the office of former President Donald Trump to confirm her appearance at the dinner and comment on what went into the Melania Trump’s decision to appear at the event.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular