Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Presidential proclamation on Pride month and the remaining items on the equality checklist


President Obama has issued his proclamation of June as Pride month. After detailing the actions his administration has taken, which are far more than his predecessors though themselves fraught with compromise, he lays out remaining issues to be addressed as we move toward full equality:

"Much work remains to fulfill our Nation's promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits. We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment. I am also committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal."

I am glad to see repeal of DOMA, adoption rights, ENDA (vaguely) , and safe schools mentioned. These are all advances that would help Tennessee's GLBT community given the constant fight we have over adoption, the lack of employment protections, ongoing challenges with bullying, and our state constitutional amendment that enshrines marriage discrimination. I think the President's remarks also acknowledge that what the Senate Arms Services Committee and the full House have passed is not yet a real repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The President's proclamation is hopeful. The questions that remain are how hard the President is willing to work to advance these proposals and how hard the community is going to have to work to bring pressure to bear on him and the Congress to cross the finish line.