This week, President Obama officially announced (to no one’s surprise) that he was a candidate for reelection. The following day, I was on a conference call to kick off the LGBT part of the campaign.
First up to voice his support for the president was California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco. Next was the former president of Human Rights Campaign, Elizabeth Birch.
Since they have already vocalized their support, I guess it’s my turn. Or is it?
In 2008, it took a lot of time for then-Sen. Obama to convince me that he was real in his support of our issues. As you might recall, we had a few bumps in that road and many in our community chastised me for not getting onboard sooner.
But Obama did win me over and, in some ways, those of us who were late to get onboard are very proud we went with him, and are even prouder of his record. That record, simply put, is the best record on LGBT issues of all presidential administrations combined.
Here’s the short list: — Appointed the largest number of LGBT people to major administration posts — Ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act — The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — Directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure hospital visitation and decision-making rights for LGBT individuals — Funded studies on LGBT endangered youth — Barred discrimination based on gender identity in federal employment — Funding on LGBT seniors — Reversing the U.S. position, supported LGBT issues at the United Nations and signed the U.N. Declaration on Gay Rights — Lifted the ban on HIV-positive travelers to the U.S. — Established foreign policy that will not accept antigay bigotry — Supports the effort to pass ENDA in Congress
This is only the short list. But it is very impressive. For those of you who might say he didn’t live up to my expectations, I’d say maybe not, but no elected official ever does. What we can expect is a new direction and that it is clear. His accomplishments far outweigh any disappointments. As we often hear, no one is perfect. But this president is the best on LGBT issues in history, and it is my honor and privilege to say I proudly support him for reelection, and hope you’ll join me in that effort.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at [email protected].