Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama's Big Gay Rights Speech: Promises, Promises

It was a beautiful speech. Both CNN and C-Span covered it. Obama spoke with fiery passion about the history of the struggle for gay rights, he referenced the famed Stonewall Riots, Mathew Sheppard and the righteousness of the long struggle for justice. Every time the audience burst out into applause or rose to their feet, I was right there with them.

In his passionate speech to the Human Rights Campaign last night, President Obama promised to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, abolish the Defense of Marriage Act, and make ENDA the law of the land.

He forgot to say when. He offered absolutely no timetable. He forgot to say so much as a word about the current struggle for marriage rights in Maine.

Andrew Sullivan sums it up:

[T]his speech was highfalutin bullshit. There were no meaningful commitments within a time certain, not even a commitment to fulfilling them in his first term; just meaningless, feel-good commitments that we have no way of holding him to. Once the dust settles, ask yourself. What did he promise to achieve in the next year? Or two years? Or four years? The answer is: nothing.

J Clifford asks the question on a lot of minds: Would HRC Have Gotten Obama Speech Without the National Equality March? Steven Clemons asks another disturbing question: Why Didn't White House Put Out Obama Gay Rights Speech?