People for the American Way:
"During the campaign, then-candidate Obama spoke eloquently about the importance of ensuring that all Americans are treated with dignity and respect. He made specific pledges to pass hate crimes legislation, enact laws to prevent workplace discrimination, end Don't Ask Don't Tell and repeal DOMA. Since then, we've been waiting for concrete results. Today's presidential memorandum is a very small step in the right direction, but it's a token, and tokens are no longer enough."
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
"This presidential memorandum today will extend some selected protections to the same-sex partners and families of federal employees. The federal government is the largest employer in the country and this represents a positive result for thousands of employees and their families; it also inches our federal government closer to nondiscrimination both in word and in policy, which is a good thing.
"This memo is one building block toward full equality, and much more remains to be done in order for the administration to live up to the promises of equality the president made as a candidate on the campaign trail. These promises include working toward passage of inclusive hate crime and employment nondiscrimination legislation, and repeal of the discriminatory military ban and the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act.' We also call on the president to [reverse] the standing policy of the U.S. Census Bureau to manually un-marry any same-sex couple who lawfully states they are married on the 2010 census, extending employment protections to federal employees based on gender identity, and reversing the regulations that continue to throw roadblocks in the way of HIV-positive individuals who want to travel to this country."
National Center for Lesbian Rights:
"The policy announced today by the President committing to a federal workplace free from discrimination, is a step in the right direction but inadequate and long overdue. It leaves out millions of Americans who do not work for the federal government and fails to include key benefits including health insurance. When running for office, then candidate Obama called equality for LGBT people a 'moral imperative.' We will continue to demand this administration live up to the President's promise of achieving "full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country."
Lurleen at PamsHouseBlend:
Obama also said he would work with Congress to repeal DOMA, but of course gave no indication that this was going to happen in our lifetimes. He used vague words such as "in the months and years ahead." He failed to say anything even vaguely resembling "I'm going to be pounding on Reid & Pelosi's desks until we get those abominations DADT & DOMA repealed!!!"
John at Americablog:
It's just terribly frustrating when the White House insists on putting out misinformation in an effort to defend the president, and thus simply inflames things further. The president today noted that: "Now, under current law, we cannot provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples." We were told the same thing on the conference call with OPM chief John Berry.
It's not true.
I've talked to several gay lawyers, including Richard Socarides who worked in the White House, and they say that it is patently untrue that DOMA prevents gay federal employees, or anyone else, from getting health benefits. President Obama could have granted full health benefits to domestic partners - not to spouses, not based on civil unions, but to "domestic partners" - and DOMA would not have prevented it.