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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Equality Matters: Kerry Eleveld Says Keep Pressure On Obama

By David Mixner -

Should the LGBT community back off putting pressure on President Obama because of the pending 2012 election? Equality Matters Kerry Eleveld says absolutely not in a post written on Wednesday. The respected investigative journalist dismisses the myth that human rights must be put on hold every two years for the convenience of politicians running for office. She makes a compelling case that not only coming down on the side of full equality (including marriage equality) is the moral position for the President to take but she argues it is also smart politics.
Here are a couple of excerpts from her articulate and must read article but be sure to go to the Equality Matters website and read it all:
"This is not an either-or proposition in my opinion, nor should we feel compelled to surrender our basic humanity to the whims of the election cycle. That type of thinking is a relic of days past when politicians held firmly to the notion that addressing LGBT concerns would undoubtedly be a drag on their electability. What we have witnessed over the past couple years is just the opposite. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" scored huge points with President Obama's target voters -- independent, moderate, and progressive alike - and his declaration that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional reestablished his ability to show bold leadership."
In the long article, Eleveld make five suggestions for the President:
"Rather than assembling a patchwork of progress agency by agency, President Obama should issue executive orders or amend existing ones that set a government-wide precedent for equality in the following ways:
1) Directing the federal government to include LGBT Americans in all federal level data collection efforts.
2) Mandating that all federal contractors must have policies providing nondiscrimination protections for their employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
3) Prohibiting federal funds from being used to discriminate against LGBT Americans.
4) Prohibiting discrimination against military service members on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
5) Adding gender identity protections to President Clinton's executive order 13087, which protected civilian federal workers from bias based on their sexual orientation
She closes with:
"Some advocates will surely say I'm being nit-picky, that I'm simply looking for ways to poke at the administration. But I am not looking to diminish the administration's sizeable accomplishments to date. Rather I would like to hold them and us - as advocates - to a higher standard.
We did not achieve "don't ask, don't tell" repeal by being satisfied with White House Easter Egg roll invitations and passing mentions in a handful of speeches. Now is the time for the president to employ his considerable executive powers to effect a government-wide culture change that will trickle down to every corner of America. Let's not squander this opportunity to squeeze as much goodness out of this administration as possible, which in turn will help President Obama secure four more years in office".

for more from David visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.


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