Lots of revisionist history courtesy of outgoing HRC head Joe Solmonese—HRC favored waiting on the DADT repeal until after 2011 (when it would've been impossible) and urged teh gays not to be too hard on the Obama administration for the DADT foot dragging and the viciously insulting DOMA appeals (Kerry Eleveld unpacks what really went down over the last two years and why progress was ultimately made on DADT and DOMA)—and HRC's own crowd isn't buying Joe's claim that gay and lesbian Americans have made more progress in the last two years than we made during the previous forty. Off the top of my head: the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas seems pretty significant. And how can we overlook the first-gay-then-bi arc of Billy Crystal's character on Soap way back in 1977? And I'm thinking there were probably a few more notable achievements between 1971 and 2011.
Feel free to skip ahead to the 9:49 mark, which is when Obama's remarks begin. It's a great speech. I particularly loved the part where Obama ripped into the GOPers who stood silent when an active-duty gay soldier was booed at a Republican debate. (Go read John's take—and sign his open letter while you're there). There has been tremendous progress on LGBT issues since Obama took office and he has earned our support going into 2012.
And, again, it's too bad activists from every chunk of the Dem base weren't as aggressive, impatient, and impolite as all those mean LGBT activists who pressured the Obama administration into delivering on DADT and dropping the DOMA appeal. If other chunks of the Dem base had been out there causing trouble in 2009/2010, then Obama would be able to give speeches like the one he gave last night to labor groups, immigration reformers, and environmental activists too.
UPDATE: Says Vince in comments...
The progress we've made will all be undone if the Republican elite that boo our troops and drive our young people to suicide succeed in the next election.
Vince is right. Which is why I'm supporting my often unreliable, frequently maddening friends in the Democratic Party over my reliably malicious, sworn enemies in the GOP. And since passive and limp support for Dems in an election year like we're facing translates into tacit-to-active support for the GOP, I'll be supporting Dems in 2012 actively and, er, erectly.
P.S. Undoing the DADT repeal will be difficult if Dems can hold 41-or-more seats in the U.S. Senate after 2012. Help make that happen.
UPDATE 2: John before the speech, John after:
UPDATE 3: Also... many Dems, from the prez on down, say that they support civil unions for same-sex couples—but they're evolving!—and not marriage rights. So where is the federal legislation creating civil unions for same-sex couples? I'd welcome it: Vermont enacted civil unions and they paved the way for marriage equality; the UK created civil partnerships and they've paved the way for marriage over there. Upwards of 70% of Americans support granting same-sex couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, a slim majority support marriage rights. So why didn't Dems enact civil unions when they had the chance? You know, back before the 2010 midterms? It's not enough to say you're against marriage—for now (evolving! evolving!)—and for civil unions. If that's your position, Dems, then move on it... the next time you have a chance.
We would prefer full civil equality, of course, but in the meantime—while you're evolving—we'll settle for all the same rights and responsibilities, it not the magic syllables.
UPDATE 4: Gee, Chris "Civility" Baron is a vulgar and hypocritical little anal fissure, ain't he?