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Thread: Obama administration starts backing off gay civil rights promises, gee surprise..

  1. #1
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry Obama administration starts backing off gay civil rights promises, gee surprise..

    Policy change, or poor editing?

    In a move that many people I've spoken with see as a shift in policy, and a backward step from a clear campaign promise that was reiterated during the first days of January of this year, the White House has changed the language on its "Civil Rights" page, as it concerns gay civil rights. The changes were first noted yesterday by gay blogger JoeMyGod. And while most of the deletions noted yesterday have since been un-deleted, the new language on President Obama's commitment to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy appears to indicate a significant change in policy.

    Prior to yesterday, approximately one half of the White House Web site's Civil Rights page was devoted to gay civil rights. It specifically included 8 promises:


    Including sexual orientation in America's already-existing Hate Crimes law.
    Passing ENDA.
    supporting Civil Unions and explicitly repealing DOMA.
    Opposing any constitutional amendment on marriage.
    Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.
    Expanding Adoption Rights to include gay parents.
    Promoting AIDS Prevention.
    Empowering women to prevent HIV/AIDS.



    As of yesterday, that list of promises was distilled into two sentences, and included only 3 promises:


    Passing ENDA.
    Supporting Civil Unions, but no longer a mention of repealing DOMA.
    Opposing the constitutional amendment.



    In spite of yesterday's change in language, a White House spokesman assured me last night that no change in policy was intended:


    "As is the case with most websites, periodic changes are made to WhiteHouse.gov. Recently we overhauled the issues section to concisely reflect the President's broad agenda, and will continue to update these pages. The President's commitment on LGBT issues has not changed, and any suggestions to the contrary are false."



    At around the same time last night, the Civil Rights page was updated to include many of the previously omitted promises. Hate Crimes was now included as a news update, since the bill just passed the House, and AIDS is now included elsewhere on the White House Web site - all of which is fine.

    There was, however, one bit of new language that caught the eye of a number of observers with whom I spoke last night:


    [President Obama] supports changing Donít Ask Donít Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security... [emphasis added]


    Obama has repeatedly stated that he is for a full repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. During a presidential forum held by the Human Rights Campaign in August of 2007, Obama said the following about DADT:



    I will task the Defense Department and the senior command structure in every branch of the armed forces with developing an action plan for the implementation of a full repeal of Donít Ask, Donít Tell.... America is ready to get rid of the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy. All that is required is leadership.


    And as late as January 10 of this year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the following during a video Q&A on the transition Web site:


    Gibbs reads a question from Thaddeus in Lansing, Michigan. Thaddeus asks: "Is the new administration going to get rid of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy?"

    Gibbs answers: "Thaddeus, you don't hear a politician give a one-word answer much, but it's 'Yes.'"



    Here is what the Web site used to say about Don't Ask Don't Tell:


    President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.



    The language changed from a commitment to "repeal" DADT to a commitment to "change" the discriminatory policy in a "sensible" manner. While the White House has assured us that this is not an indication of a change in policy, the language, on its face, appears to be a clear change in policy. Changing DADT is not repealing DADT. It is a commitment to keep the discriminatory policy in place, albeit with some alterations.

    If the White House is still in favor of "repealing" Don't Ask Don't Tell, albeit in a "sensible way" - and we're happy to take them at their word - then say just that. Change "change" to "repeal" and be done with it.

    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth
    How the fuck do you CHANGE a discrimminatory policy so that it's more sensible? LOL

    Idiot.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    It's okay, he doesn't really mean it, you know?!

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    This is why I said I would be watching about 20 times.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    What does DOMA mean?

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    This is why I said I would be watching about 20 times.
    That's cool. I will be watching as you start to dislike him for it, too.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I already dislike him for a lot of things. He balances it out by doing a lot of things right.

    DOMA - Defense of Marriage act, a piece of legislative bullshittery Clinton put in place to appease the Newt Gingrich rethugs
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member cynic's Avatar
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    ....yeah, just wait until he bombs Canada.....

    ....he spends money like a girl in a shoestore.....

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ He certainly loves to travel, that's for sure.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Yeah, cus you know Presidents never need to really go anywhere.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    There have been a few updates on this:
    Friday, May 01, 2009 White House reiterates its commitment to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell

    by John Aravosis (DC) on 5/01/2009 06:12:00 PM
    It's been a disturbing 24 hours. But the White House has just updated its Web site to indicate that it continues to support the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

    There was some concern that the Obama administration was backing off the President's repeated promise to lift the ban after the White House Web site yesterday changed its commitment to "repeal" DADT to a promise to only "change" the policy in a "sensible way." This lead many observers, including the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, to worry whether the White House was backing off of its repeated commitment to, as President Obama himself promised, "fully repeal" the DADT policy.

    The White House Web site has now been updated, again, and the "repeal" language is back. And while it's couched in the same terms about being done in a "sensible way," I would assume that all administration policy is implemented in a "sensible way," so this should have no bearing on whether President Obama will keep his promise to fully repeal the ban.
    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth: White House reiterates its commitment to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell

    Also:
    UPDATE: The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has responded to my email.
    Hi Joe,I wanted to let you know that Rea Carey contacted the White House directly about the issue today after you alerted us to your post. Rea was told that they are changing the White House Web site to turn it into a more governance-focused site to reflect progress, as opposed to a campaign and transition site. They said they have taken out many such points throughout the site (not just on LGBT policy issues) as part of this changeover, and are apparently modifying the site over the next few weeks. We will be keeping an eye on it, but if you see changes before we do (or a lack thereof), please let us know. And thank you for calling this to our attention.

    Warm regards,

    Inga Sarda-Sorensen
    Director of Communications
    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

    Joe. My. God.: White House Shrinks LGBT Rights Commitments List On Official Site

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