I was going to give a bit of a recap of President Obama’s address to the Human Rights Campaign diners on October 1st- but when someone else already does what you would have done anyway- and probably better, it’s best to just get out of the way.
Over at Towleroad, the recap included some important points:
President Obama was urged this week to come out for gay marriage in his address to the Human Rights Campaign. He didn’t do so last night – not explicitly. But did he imply it? Toward the speech’s end, he cited New York’s marriage law as a triumph of democratic change. Might that be an indirect way of saying, “I’m with you on marriage”?
It’s progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens, who are propelled not just by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard. It’s playing out in legislatures like New York, and courtrooms and in the ballot box. (…) It happens when a father realizes he doesn’t just love his daughter, but also her wife.
It’s disappointing that the president won’t make his “evolving” position clear. But last night’s speech was nonetheless a juggernaut. It opened with a wisecrack: “I also took a trip out to California last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your leader, Lady Gaga.” Snarky, yes: Gaga as Kim Jong-Il. The president throwing shade.
Joking aside, he seemed acutely aware of the complaint he’s getting from the LGBT community: that he’s too slow on civil rights. So he reminded us that he has never counseled patience in the fight, which he conflated with the movement for black civil rights. Then, without sounding triumphal, he went through the stack of accomplishment in his first term: hate-crime legislation, DADT repeal, abandonment of the government’s legal defense of DOMA (whose repeal he backs), lifting of the HIV travel ban, the “first comprehensive national strategy” to combat HIV/AIDS, hospital visitation rights for gay partners. (He didn’t mention the State Department’s new policy that makes it easier for transsexuals to change their passports.) (emphasis mine)
Nothing to sniff at.
Indeed. We may sometimes forget that this president has done more for LGBT equality than every other president before him.