Michelle Obama Reaches Out to Gays

Michelle Obama had these encouraging remarks about her husband's positions on gay rights at a fundraiser this week:

A world where together we work to reverse discriminatory laws like DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A world where LGBT Americans get a fair shake at working hard to get ahead without workplace discrimination.

..... And, a world where our federal laws don't discriminate against same-sex relationships, including equal treatment for any relationship recognized under state law.


A world that recognizes that equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it's about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples. That is why he supports robust civil unions. That is why he has said that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples -- whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. And that is why he opposes all divisive and discriminatory constitutional amendments - whether it's a proposed amendment to the California and Florida Constitutions or the U.S. Constitution. Because the world as it should be rejects discrimination.

....Barack's got the courage to talk to skeptical audiences; not just friendly ones....That's why he went to Ebenezer Baptist Church and said that we need to get over homophobia in the African-American community; that if we're honest with ourselves, we'll embrace our gay brothers and sisters instead of scorning them. And that's why he stood up at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and told all of America that we refuse to be divided anymore.

Reactions at Qwerty, who also notes that McCain is going after the anti-gay vote.

< Obama Shifts to the Center, Adopts Conservative Views | Wreaking Havoc >
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    I have to ask about the Donnie McClurkin (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:44:44 PM EST
    ties....don't think that will win over any gay votes.

    So... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:44:57 PM EST
    I guess Obama cannot be bothered to say all of these things himself? As I recall, his own statements have been considerably more guarded and ambivalent.

    But, I suppose we can always hope he'll not abandon his support (such as it is) for LGBT civil rights like he's been abandoning everything else the second it became even mildly controversial, right? He really, really feels strongly about this, right?

    At least it wasn't an "aide" (none / 0) (#25)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:30:20 PM EST
    this time... :)

    Thank you for bringing this up (none / 0) (#36)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:59:13 PM EST
    Excellent (none / 0) (#72)
    by MightyQuinn on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:29:16 AM EST
    Thank you Michelle!  since Obama is very disingenuously  skirting this issue, having her speak openly about it can only help Republicans.  Gays, Guns, and God--the more the Dems play their same tired tropes, the better for conservatives.

    If Barack is, actually, (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ccpup on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:57:45 PM EST
    a man of "courage", as Michelle claims, why isn't he making these statements himself?

    It seems as if some of that "she'll say and do anything to win" paint they tried repeatedly to drown Hillary in has now landed on him.  In fact, by now he's almost hip deep in the stuff!

    Still not voting for him, though.  I'll sit this one out.

    But but but....Barack goes center right... (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Shainzona on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    and lets Michelle pander to the left.

    What a bunch of bull.

    Anyone remeber when Laura Bush reached (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by tigercourse on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    out to women by saying she was pro-choice?

    She was just being honest (none / 0) (#57)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 05:52:14 PM EST
    and I think she said it in interviews....three times at most.  Did she give a speech on Pro Choice?  I don't think so.

    this is just a little to close to home (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:08:56 PM EST
    so I will choose the prudent path and not even get started.
    I will say this.  I could care less what he/she says.  I am paying attention to what he "does".  and what he has done so far in no way syncs up with this rhetoric.  to a point bordering on offensive.

    Gays are suspect but have learned to hedge (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by Mark Woods on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:11:03 PM EST
    their bets. That's why some are meeting with McCain, too.

    More to the point, why didn't Obama give an interview with the Philadelphia gay press when it mattered during the PA primary?

    This smells like pandering now, and my gay family is not impressed.

    Words do not equal action. We learned that with AIDS.

    I think you mean (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:14:52 PM EST
    gays are suspicious.  and rightly so.  although I have at times been suspect as well.

    Sorry, my korma curry was simmering (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Mark Woods on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:46:36 PM EST
    and I didn't want to let it burn. Suspicious, yes.

    And even circumspect after years of empty promises or from being a political/cultural ping pong ball . . .


    Meh. (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by LoisInCo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:11:39 PM EST
    I see the Obama offering little in the way of change and much in the way of "we won't make it worse for you people".

    as long as the obama campaign (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:11:44 PM EST
    makes their digs at the clinon administration and even worsen the sting by using michelle, i don't plan to give money and will vote the down ticket. unity? i don't call that speech a unifying moment.

    I didn't catch that... (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:22:23 PM EST
    ...but you are right! This is just more Clinton-bashing and equivalating Democrats with the GOP. Nicely done...

    DADT was not Clinton's idea. Clinton wanted to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly (I remember this keenly, as I was in the military at the time). It was his own party that stabbed him in the back by colluding with the GOP on this issue. Still, DADT was an improvement over the previous policy.

    So, if Obama wants to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, let him come out and say it!

    Sam Nunn! (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:30:10 PM EST
    Our perpective VP was the leader of the anti gay pack

    Thank you for the reminder! (none / 0) (#28)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:38:15 PM EST
    Indeed, Dixiecrat Sam Nunn was one of the big DADT cheerleaders. Well, well, well...

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:45:20 PM EST
    He brought  military people to the Senate to condemn the idea. I believe he even had a field trip to show the close living quarters that the "gays" would contaminate. He was very graphic in his description of the orgies that would happen. It was unreal.

    wrong (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:45:52 PM EST
    he was THE DODT cheerleader.  forget Bill who gets the blame from the clueless left.  Nunn is more than anyone in government responsible for DODT.

    Sam Nunn and Colin Powell (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by caseyOR on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:56:38 PM EST
    These two men, more than anyone else, are responsible for DADT. Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time. He and Nunn totally stabbed Bill Clinton in the back on this.

    yup i missed it also then looked at the (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:34:53 PM EST
    comments. clinton bashing again? truth be told i scan michelle's comments and do a quick overview. when i saw that reference to the clinton administration i thought open mouth insert high heel.

    yup, sam nunn was the democrat (none / 0) (#61)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:18:05 PM EST
    who sandbagged clinton. yup and now he is on the short list for obama. hmmmmmm!

    DADT (none / 0) (#73)
    by VicfromOregon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:12:32 PM EST
    In fact, I believe Clinton, being forced to compromise by his own party, gave the press a sniff of blood in the water and galvinized the right under Newt.  His championing of gay rights is also what set him up to get shafted by the left, who claims support for queers, but will left them get steamrolled any day to save their own agendas.   The Left's anger over his placing their agenda in jeopardy for a bunch of queers was more than they could take.  They have hated him and Hillary ever since. Clinton nearly committed political suicide championing gay rights, so of course, Obama is gonna let Michelle take the heat.

    Nosequitor (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:23:51 PM EST
    Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples. That is why he supports robust civil unions.

    Sounds like Plessy v. Ferguson style "full equality."

    Civil unions not the same as marriage (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:54:00 PM EST
    When New Jersy legalized civil unions, one requirement was that a commission be formed to evaluate the effect of the civil unions and determine if they are equal to marriage. The report, which came out earlier this year, determined that civil unions vs. marriage is NOT separate but equal.

     Many things contribute to this. Employee benefits packages required marriage, and employers did not believe civil unions met that requirement. Insurance companies only recognized marriage. Society does not perceive them to be the same and so, responds to civil unions as "less than" marriage. These are just a couple of the things cited.

    When the California Supreme Court issued its ruling on same-sex marriage recently, Obama stated in an interview that he still believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, not between same-sex partners.

    It is all well and good for candidates' spouses to comment on issues, but the only opinion that matters is that of the candidate. So far, Barack Obama's own words and actions (see McClurkin) tell me that the LGBT community should not count on him for anything but "just words."


    There simply are no ... (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:41:32 PM EST
    gradations of equality.  You're treated equally or you're not.

    Not only Obama, but much of the proggy blogosphere has been AWOL on gay rights.

    And I don't understand how you can call yourself a progressive and be either silent or incrementalist on the issue of equality under the law.


    His rhetoric (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:24:01 PM EST
    No way reflects her's. He believes it's a state issue that the Fed's should stay out of. That means no federal rights then, such as taxes, pension or SS. By allowing the question of gays in the military his proposal of leaving the decision to the military will put the matter back to DADT. I've heard a couple of ritired military people speak up for gays but it no way reflects the opinion of the Pentagon.

    sort of like voting present it seems! (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:36:26 PM EST
    This is one issue (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    That shows how so many have given up the thought of thinking. At that fund raiser of 200, Michelle raised over 1 million dollars! I find it unreal that so many gays and gay blogs embraced him without question. And all that came after the McClurkin disaster.

    What a lot of suburban white people felt (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:23:42 PM EST
    after the whole Jeremiah Wright incident, I felt after McClurkin.  Interesting to note that even though the Democratic establishment rushed to his side after February, his campaign from March 4th on sputtered as more people woke up and discovered the real Obama.  He's a phony and he thinks gay people are inferior.  

    "So many gays ebrace him ?" (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by just victory on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:35:57 PM EST
    I find it unreal that so many gays and gay blogs embraced him without question.

    Huh? Where are you getting your information about gays?

    I am not aware that "so many gays" are embracing him "without question." None of my friends are supporting him at all. Hillary Clinton was the choice of almost every gay person I know.

    I hope you don't think Americablog represents the majority of gays and lesbians. I am continually offended by the content of Americablog and the misogyny of Aravosis.


    Not in Illinois (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:48:13 PM EST
    And evidently not the group of 200 she spoke to that donated 1.2 mil.

    I don't think 200 rich people (none / 0) (#64)
    by Valhalla on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 02:30:31 AM EST
    can really be said to be representative of the entire GBLT community.  Probably not even all of the Illinois GBLT community.  

    Those fundraisers aren't a primary (or even a red state caucus), they're a self-selected group.  


    Ditto. Most gays is my speed dial support (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mark Woods on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:55:45 PM EST
    Hillary, even post-fake-selection-by-the-DNC (can't bring myself to say nominee, since I'm 1/2 a voter from Florida and a lot of us are still p.o.'d and not yet interested in so-called 'Unity'.)

    gays don't support Obama (none / 0) (#74)
    by VicfromOregon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:34:52 PM EST
    That's just more disinformation.  Gays didn't support Obama because Obama didn't support gays.  The rewrite history grimlins are hard at work again, this time, from the Left, trying to convince gay people to support someone who has been absent on their behalf and who will keep his distance (and so send his wife to do the job he doesn't want the press to see him doing).  Michelle will get a mention and probably not even make the evening news.  If Obama just made the speech and overtures Michelle has made, well, that would be news he doesn't necessarily want made.

    He won't probably make things worse for gays, but he certainly won't make them better if he receives any static.  As a lesbian, I certainly don't look to him to include gays into any progressive improvements. Hillary was the only "viable" candidate that was even willing to be photographed throughout her entire public life attending gay events such as Pride Marches. Having Michelle do the "dirty work" gives Obama a way to backdown from any inclusion later of gays into civil rights. The LGBT community recognizes when someone is keeping a distance.  And, Obama is not about to make the same mistake Pres. Clinton made by publically taking equal rights for everyone too seriously.


    What I find odd... (none / 0) (#30)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:45:01 PM EST
    ...is that there was initially considerable backlash on many pro-Obama blogs (Daily Kos, AmericaBlog, and others) after the McClurkin affair. But the controversy simply dissipated...

    Me too (5.00 / 0) (#40)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:21:30 PM EST
    I'm still angry over what happenned.  But that anger has turned to sadness now.  People just don't seem to care.

    Long as I can remember (5.00 / 0) (#53)
    by DaleA on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:48:14 PM EST
    liberals, especially religious liberals, have always been the first to desert us when things got rough. They get pushed by AA churches and dump us in a heartbeat. At the great orange Satan, it was especially bad. Open homophobia, screeching disdain.

    Mmmhmmm (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:00:02 PM EST
    She can't help herself.  Neither can her husband.  They're both very Bush like in that way.

    I think it's all talk (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:20:26 PM EST
    Actions speak louder than words.  Between McClurkin and Caldwell, his refusal to meet with the gay press, and his refusal to be photographed with Gavin Newsom says a lot about Obama.

    I think Michelle's pitch is basically to get LGBT people to donate money to the campaign.  

    And Sadly (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by mmc9431 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:33:51 PM EST
    They do!

    Again (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by just victory on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:38:08 PM EST
    Please back up your claim that gays are embracing Obama without question and donating money to him in hordes. This has not been my experience at all. I know so many gay PUMAs who are refusing to vote for him at all.

    I am glad that there is some outreach. (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by lilburro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:44:46 PM EST
    This is good:

    "And that is why he opposes all divisive and discriminatory constitutional amendments - whether it's a proposed amendment to the California and Florida Constitutions or the U.S. Constitution. Because the world as it should be rejects discrimination."

    I wish Obama could be more openly supportive of gay marriage in California, but I understand it's a tricky issue for him electorally.  I am sure he will be asked directly about it sometime in a conversation with McCain.  

    What's a civil marriage? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    How about a legally valid church marriage?

    in most of europe as i understand it, (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:14:26 PM EST
    they have civil unions and then a church marriage if wanted. the civil union being the one the state recognizes. that makes a lot of sense to me.

    personally I have (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:17:53 PM EST
    absolutely no problem with calling them "civil unions" as long as they contain all the rights afforded to straight people.
    I started saying in about 1993 that we were shooting ourselves in the foot by insisting on calling it "marriage".
    it is to loaded and spiritualistic a word.
    who cares what it is called.

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:18:09 PM EST
    The state should not be sanctioning Religious Events that happen within the confines of a church.

    exactly (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by dws3665 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:14:46 PM EST
    marriage sacraments are, and should be, the province of the various churches to make rules about. legal protections of marriage, however, are a political matter and therefore what we should be focused on, not "church weddings," imho.

    We had a civil partnership in the UK (none / 0) (#49)
    by Mark Woods on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:51:21 PM EST
    Straight people get married in the UK, but by law both are equal.

    Gays are not permitted to have a legal 'marriage' in the UK, nor are they permitted to have a religious ceremony, a concession Blair stuck in to appease the churches, even if it denies gays equal religious rights.

    This UK arrangement wouldn't work in the U.S. because marriage is the only work recognized at a fed level that brings full rights.


    Amazing (none / 0) (#15)
    by DaleA on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:15:50 PM EST
    Finally a Democratic Presidential candidate speaks against these noxious state amendments. This is a first. Kerry did not do so. This looks very interesting.

    he "spoke" against (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:20:06 PM EST
    money in politics too until he found out how much he could raise.
    lets see if he does anything besides speak.

    hmm i believe obama is going states rights (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by hellothere on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:22:19 PM EST
    isn't he and effectively removing himself from making a strong stand.

    first? (none / 0) (#75)
    by VicfromOregon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:40:34 PM EST
    Perhaps you are dating yourself?  Nader was one of the first, though I think Gary Hart was also right up there.  Clinton addressed these while in office, not just as a campaign speal.

    Isn't being gay very frowned upon by (none / 0) (#20)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:22:27 PM EST
    many in the black churches?  I am not sure how much this will help obama's agenda.

    very (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:24:09 PM EST
    To Sen. Obama's credit, (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by ahazydelirium on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 06:17:41 PM EST
    he has spoken about the need to address how the queer community is treated and regarded within the African American community. He denounced homophobia to an African American audience. It was one of his stronger moments.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#60)
    by Lil on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 07:17:18 PM EST
    He could really help the gay
    community now, since the black community is squarely behind him. He offers credibilty to the issue, much like a white person does when they confront racism. I'd love to see more.

    He has it both ways (3.50 / 2) (#42)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:25:59 PM EST
    To the gay community and to white liberals, Obama is Mr. Pro gay but for the blacks, Obama will gay bait to no end to win votes.  

    Similar to his position on race relations.  To all the moron pseudo intellectuals and white suburban well to do folks, Obama is all about hope and racial healing.  But for the blacks, he'll race bait to no end.  


    frowned (none / 0) (#76)
    by VicfromOregon on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:43:34 PM EST
    Very, very.  Frowned is a polite euphemism in this case, though there are some African American churches that are from the Rainbow Coalition days and openly acknowledge solidarity with several other oppressed groups.

    It's really tough being black and gay in the black community.


    Love her first words (none / 0) (#65)
    by laurie on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:42:56 AM EST
    Thank you Howard Dean, for all your hard work building our party.

    Has anyone else been receiving viruses? My nick is being used too...

    that would be much (none / 0) (#66)
    by cpinva on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:52:54 AM EST
    more compelling, if it were sen. obama himself saying those things. oddly, everyone but sen. obama seems to have some grasp of what, if anything, he stands for.

    A further comment on Sam Nunn (none / 0) (#67)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 01:51:29 PM EST
    Sam Nunn, let us hope, will not become Senator Obama's running mate, even though touted by the Weekly Standard's  William Kristol.  Unfortunately, Nunn has already been appointed to Obama's august committee for national security,    As previous posters have noted, Nunn, as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, torpedoed President Clinton's proposal to permit gay men and women to serve openly in the military by executive order, much as President Truman had done to eliminate discrimination in the military some 40-years earlier.  Nunn held carnival-like hearings, including camera-ready trips to submarines to demonstrate the "close quarters". With the help of his consultant, the late Charles Moskos, a Northwestern University sociologist, the Clinton's proposal was codified into federal law as DADT. Nunn was enthusiastically aided by the JCS, and its celebrity chair, Colin Powell. It was pay-back time for Nunn, since Clinton by-passed him for Secretary of State, owing to his reputation as a homophobe and evidenced by firing of his own key senate staffers after revelation of their sexual preference.

    On the plus side... (none / 0) (#68)
    by pmj6 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 02:00:32 PM EST
    ...Nunn is a genuine WMD proliferation expert, having done much on the problem in the aftermath of Cold War. He's been active in the field even after his departure from the Senate. If he wants to work that aspect of national security, more power to him, that's a good place for him to be. But on LGBT and gender equality front, he's been a disaster.

    Nunn, I think, wanted to run for President in '92, but his vote against authorizing Desert Shield/Storm pretty much killed that idea.


    Another Side to Nunn (none / 0) (#69)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:09:21 PM EST
    Fair enough.  But concern remains for Mr. Nunn's re-entry into government, as a paid or unpaid advisor to Senator Obama. He does get high marks for his work in WMD proliferation and the destruction of old and/or stray nuclear weaponry, but his record on DADT goes beyond his conduct on this matter and to the kind of politician he is.  Certainly, in 1993 he was not the only senator, yet one representing a southern state, who held similar views, but his deliberate actions undermined the newly inaugurated president of his own party.  In concert with Colin Powell, who insubordinately publicly challenged the president (including a speech to Naval cadets to resist on moral grounds), Nunn, essentially, waged a coup. The media play approached what we would later see in the Lewinsky affair  Moreover, all programs were hobbled until the DADT "compromise" was announced by the president in a humiliating appearance before the military.  Yes, Nunn has since done some good, and yes, he should stick to what he is doing-- and where he is doing it.