The Obama-Biden transition team posts plans for gay rights

President-elect Barack Obama has posted his plan to strengthen civil rights for gay Americans, and his agenda is more comprehensive than anything proposed from an incoming president.

The Obama-Biden Plan includes:

* Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

* Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees’ domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

* Repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: Barack 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. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma — too often tied to homophobia — that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

10 thoughts on “The Obama-Biden transition team posts plans for gay rights

  • November 19, 2008 at 4:02 am
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    To anyone who tells you that marriage is a religious rite, remind them that marriage pre-dates reliable recorded history, and therefore existed before religion itself. Marriage is used by religion, but is not from religion.

    If you need a source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage#History

  • November 19, 2008 at 12:18 am
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    Marriage is a civil right, and not exclusively religious. That’s the whole point. Civil Unions = Separate but Equal, and separate is Not equal.

    Atheists can currently get married (as long as they marry the opposite sex).

  • November 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm
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    I am not as stalwart as some when it comes to the marriage act; all I really want is equal rights for everyone. To me, it sounds like President-elect Obama and his team have covered all of the bases with his new plan. And hopefully, with a Democratic House, he will be able to accomplish his goals.

    I don’t think most gay men are insistant on calling it marriage. They would be happy with full civil rights under civil unions. However, the ladies generally insist on making their nesting legal and binding. And one day the courts will be full of gay couples getting divorces standing along side of straight couples which are in line right now. Who wins out? The lawyers and the courts — not the gay men and gay women involved. And then I will be forced by the law into a marriage that I really never wanted in the first place. I prefer to stay clear of lawyers and courts. To me they are just blood-sucking leaches getting rich of the dismay of others.

    My first lover died of AIDS in 1989 and I was exceptionally lucky that his parents and I got along and shared a bond of love. They included me in all of their plans for burial services, location of interment, and the decision to terminate the heroic measures used to keep him alive via machines. I was very lucky. Many non-recognized significant others are just left out completely. I have seen family members of the decesed come in and take all of the decesed’s belongings including items that were purchased jointly. And I don’t mean just the personal items like clothes and jewelry, but all items including furniture, cars, etc. One I know even sued forcing the remaining partner to sell the house he had purchased with his lover and give half of the money to the decesed’s family. Many of these had written their gay loved out of their will and refused to see them until they passed away. However, they swarm in at the time of death if there are any valuables or money involved.

    I say go for the civil rights and worry about the other stuff later. I keep thinking about what research could have been funded with the millions that was spend on the Prop8 battle. I truly believe that the California Governor will take care of this problem on his own. At least he indicates that is his intention.

    Marriage is a religious service that incorporates the law. I always thought we had a separation of Church and State in this fair land. What ever happened to that?

  • November 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm
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    Right now there are tears in my eyes… because this in a new posting to his site… this means he heard us this weekend…

  • November 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm
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    Rubbing my eyes…. am I dreaming? NOPE CAUSE CHANGE IS HAPPENING!

  • November 19, 2008 at 2:01 am
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    I’m sorry but honestly this is a joke. If he really heard us he would have actually said something about the past week’s events. Instead Obama has remained silent. I’m tired of separate but equal. And honestly DADT…he’s only going to repeal it if he can get the pentagon on board and make them feel all warm fuzzy about it. They have made that perfectly clear. I believe the changes when I actually see them.

    I think it’s time the LGBT community starts shopping for a new political party.

  • November 19, 2008 at 7:45 am
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    Marriage was originally set for fathers of the brides and grooms-to-be in barter. Basically the father would either exchange his daughter for the groom’s money, cattle, or land. Nice ey? Marriage had nothing to do with Religion – that didn’t come until YEARS and YEARS later (hmm..i was just writing this in another post actually 🙂

    Anyway, if Barack can holdfast and do what is proposed above, we have to do our part by being visible & vocal but we also need to have patience for the President…let’s face it, he has a bit on his plate right now 😉

  • November 19, 2008 at 1:30 am
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    That is great to read your *opinion*–now here’s another: my partner and I were married 10/25/08 and WE both were surpised how much it meant to us, even after 8 years together. We thought it would be no big deal, but it actually was.

    Marriage is a symbol of dedicating one’s life to and with another. Civil Unions are tax and visitation benefits. They are not the same thing, much as toilets for “whites” and separate toiltets for “colored folk” are not the same thing. I say, go for marriage rights. Not all gay people will agree about wanting marriare, but the option should be there for us like any other minority. This issue transcends both your and my individual experiences as this is a civil rights issue. True, Church and State should be separate, that is why prop 8 should never have been let loose to begin with.

  • November 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm
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    There’s HOPE afterall in the wake of PROP 8 !!

  • November 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm
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    It’s a new Day!

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