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There has been a lot of commentary by Obama supporters on the reaction of the queer community to Obama's decision to have a fanatical bigot like Rick Warren give a blatantly unconstitutional invocation at the inauguration. Many Obama apologists have seen the furor merely as leftover rage at the passage of Prop. 8 in California and Warren's role in helping it to pass.

That certainly plays a role for many people, but the outrage, disappointment, and disgust among lgbt Americans at this goes way deeper than that. When someone has devoted an enormous amount of time promoting discrimination and violence against queers and women, giving them such a prominent role in an important government ceremony sends a viciously misogynistic and heterosexist message.

Such bigoted and divisive behavior from Barack Obama is seen among queers quite legitimately as a bait and switch. Obama had marketed himself as a supporter of lgbt issues and had made "change" his main campaign theme. Yet, Obama hasn't appointed even one openly queer person to his cabinet, following in the footsteps of Bush and Clinton. The involvement of a dangerous religious extremist like Warren is vintage Karl Rove politics...divide, divide, divide. Queers voted for Obama overwhelmingly, but we are getting Bush instead.

Those of us who have followed politics longer remember the betrayals, homophobia, and triangulation we experienced under Bill Clinton, a far right Republican who pretended to be a centrist Democrat. We have learned that you never "give him a chance" when "him" is a politician that has behaved as a heterosexual supremacist early on. We have learned the hard way that we have to fight bigots every step of the way.

Learning from history is a sign of political maturity in the queer movement. Obama, like Bush, has tried to pretend that history doesn't matter. It makes it easier for them to get away with doing whatever they want.

We know better.

The loss of lgbt support cost the Democrats a lot of House and Senate seats in 1994. Many of us stayed home. Very few of us volunteered for Democratic campaigns or made contributions to Democrats. Some of us voted Green instead of voting for a party that acted as if even treating us as second class citizens was too good for us. During the last Congress, we saw the efforts of Pelosi, Frank, and Reid to sabotage ENDA and hate crimes legislation. Now, with Obama's frighteningly homophobic behavior of late, we are a constituency the Democrats have lost.

They will have to do a lot at this point to win us back.

 

2 comments

  1. Mauigirl Says:
  2. Agree - he needs to do something major to make up for this.

    As for the appointments - I agree I don't understand why he couldn't have found one openly gay person to serve but on the other hand remember Bush appointed a lot of diverse types of people to key posts (Condi Rice, etc.) but his policies were not in keeping with the image he was trying to portray by those appointments. It didn't mean the GOP wasn't still the party of old white men.

    Fingers crossed that Obama will still come through on LGBT issues. If not then this may be his biggest mistake and it could cost him and the Dems dearly in future election years.

     
  3. CJ Says:
  4. He's also destroying the "hope" of non-religious people for a president that enforces separation of church and state.

     

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