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LGBT Equality: Accomplishments of the Obama Administration

posted Sep 28, 2010, 7:28 PM by Rich Bailey   [ updated Sep 28, 2010, 7:55 PM ]
“Every day, so many of us working in the Obama Administration ask: How can we ensure that
our time here makes the lives of LGBT Americans living across the country safer, fairer, and a
little better?” – Brian Bond, Deputy Director, White House Office of Public Engagement

I know you, like many in the LGBT Community, were disappointed when the Senate, led by all
41 Republicans and 2 Democrats, voted down the Defense Authorization Bill and with it the repeal
of DADT. Many in our community basically said "A pox on both your houses" after this vote and
I can understand that frustration. However we cannot lose sight of the fact that this Congress and
this administration have moved forward on a number of LGBT issues (listed below).

LGBT Equality: Accomplishments of the Obama Administration - January 2009-August 2010

• Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding
federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, or gender

• Supported legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—which has passed the House and the
Senate Armed Services Committee—including sending the Secretary of Defense and the Joint
Chiefs of Staff chairman to testify before the Senate in favor of repeal.

• Lifted the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status.

• Ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to guarantee medical decision making
and visitation rights to LGBT couples.

• Expanded the Family Medical Leave Act to ensure that LGBT parents and partners can take
leave from work to care for their child, parent, or spouse just as any family member could.

• Committed to ensuring the Housing and Urban Development Department’s core housing
programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and clarified the
department’s definition of “family” to include LGBT people.

• Removed a common barrier to safe housing experienced by those in the LGBT community by
including gender identity and expression in the Fair Housing Act.

• Led a successful international effort to gain recognition of LGBT organizations at the United

• Reversed an inexcusable U.S. position by signing the United Nations Declaration on Gay
Rights, which condemns violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity worldwide.

• Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.

• Changed State Department policy so that transgender Americans can more easily obtain
passports that reflect their true gender.

• Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the federal government.

• Endorsed the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 to provide full
partnership benefits to federal employees.

• Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept LGBT relationships from being
counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way and urging
transgender Americans to identify their true gender.

• Hired and appointed a record number of qualified LGBT Americans, including several
transgender appointees— the first president ever to do so.

• Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Billie Jean King and the late Harvey Milk.

• Sent an administration official to the Senate to testify in favor of the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act, the first time any official of any administration has done so.

• Hosted the first LBGT Pride Month Celebration in White House history, and after eight years
of silence under the Bush administration resumed the tradition of issuing Presidential Pride
Rich Bailey,
Sep 28, 2010, 7:31 PM