What Obama Actually Said Saturday Night

The short version: Nothing new.

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See the speech here at C-Span

The speech was a real Obama barn burner. It hit all the right notes. It was a classic campaign speech. But he’s in office now and that changes what people expect to hear. Except for most of the people in that room. What amazed me most about his speech to the Human Rights Campaign is how positively giddy the crowd was. Had he said, “Vote No on Question 1,” no doubt everyone there would have passed out. But he didn’t.

He did reiterate his support for passing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes legislation. He said he would sign it. The president also voiced support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And he also emphasized his support for repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He spoke passionately about full equality.

President Obama mentioned all the openly gay senior White House staff by name. He also recognized his openly gay nominee to be ambassador to New Zealand and American Samoa. He spoke of lifting the ban on entry to the US by people with HIV and having extended some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

There was nothing to indicate perceptible movement towards any of the items still to be accomplished and a more than cursory observation of those items would indicate none as well.

He knows that the LGBT community has nowhere else to go. He can invest the 90 minutes it takes to throw on a suit, head 10 blocks from the White House to the Convention Center, deliver a 25-minute speech, and return home – all while offering platitudes, something all candidates do, and glossing over the details of governing.

As to my earlier post? Well, as I mentioned above, he did speak passionately about full equality for all Americans. He did speak of marriage equality. If he was sending a message to Maine voters, it was really oblique. Also, as mentioned previously, he did refer more than once to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And he was strong in his views. While one could infer, there was no mention of a big push in 2010.

Anyway, lesson learned. Though I did consider it carefully before sharing a rumor with you, I’m going to be even more cautious before doing THAT again.