Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some Thoughts on Tim Kaine's Statement on PRIDE Month

As many of you may already know, June is PRIDE month. Although many people associate this with PRIDE parades or the current debate over marriage, the true meaning of this month comes down to the fact that members of the GLBT community shouldn't be ashamed of their sexual orientation or gender identity and should take pride in who they are as people. With that in mind, Gov Tim Kaine issued a statement regarding PRIDE.

Kaine's statement was in good spirit and rightfully pointed out that this is an opportunity to celebrate the work that members of the GLBT community have done and to remember that the Democratic Party should stand for "equality for ever American." He then went on to address how the Obama Administration is supposedly taking steps towards making sure that people are not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The cause of ending discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans has taken a giant leap forward. With a Democrat in the White House who is committed to equality and justice, we have reached significant milestones. The Obama Administration is the first to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in its first 100 days and it has partnered with the international community at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.

“The Administration is concentrating on a number of measures to ensure equality for all—such as supporting civil unions, Federal rights for LGBT couples, stronger hate crimes laws, ridding our military of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in a way that both ensures national security and strengthens our Armed forces, banning discrimination in the work place, fighting HIV/AIDS and ensuring adoption rights.
While I agree that the current administration is a lot better than ones we've had in the past, I do take issue with some of what was said in this statement. In regards to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, for instance, the Obama Administration has an extremely spotty record. During the campaign Obama said that he would work towards repealing the horrible policy that has resulted in our country being deprived of highly qualified soldiers during a time when their skills are truly needed. After being sworn into office, however, Obama has refused to issue an executive order banning investigations into the sexual orientation of our service members. There has also been a lot of questions about how hard he's actually pushing for Congress and the Pentagon to prepare for getting rid of this policy.

There's also the fact that unless all marriages are going to be turned into civil unions, civil unions still represent a second class status for GLBT relationships. That is simply unacceptable and doesn't represent true equality for all Americans.

So while the Obama Administration has taken some steps to be a more inclusive Administration, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. I hope that this PRIDE month Obama takes some time to reevaluate his stance on certain issues and realize that there is still more that he can do to ensure that all Americans are treated equally and don't have their basic rights violated.

No comments:

Post a Comment