President draws a line in the sand and spits in the eye the religious bigots
that do us harm, says founder of Faith In America
President Obama's speech last evening at the HRC dinner drew a clear line in
the sand for the world to see: this administration believes in and will work
with the LGBT community and our allies to achieve full equality under the
law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. President Obama’s
presence and words represented his recognition that LGBT people are a normal
part of our diverse society.
This speech, in front of over 3000 people attendees and viewed by millions
around the world, made it abundantly clear that we are looking at a new era
for civil rights for LGBT people. We want to highlight one of the most
important parts of President Obama’s speech that might be overlooked in the
policy-oriented and political language of incremental progress and change.
President Obama specifically condemned the lies and divisiveness used by our
opponents – such as those used in anti-marriage equality ads from Maine to
California and from Washington State to the nation’s Capitol. His statements
in this regard were a direct rebuke and rejection of the religion-based
bigotry that causes direct harm to LGBT individuals and families every day.
President Obama called out the “pink elephant” of religion based bigotry
which is the major obstacle to our community achieving full civil equality
The James Dobsons, Rick Warrens, Bishop Harry Jacksons and others of their
ilk are now officially on notice. The religion-based bigotry they use to
harm our families and community every day will have no sway on this White
House. It is now in our hands to continue to educate the public, tell our
stories and stand up to bigotry.
Does this mean I am satisfied by this one speech? Of course not. Does this
mean we have come anywhere close to achieving our goals? Absolutely not.
Nevertheless, in his first speech as a Nobel Laureate, President Obama made
it clear to the world that his administration will do everything in its
power to ensure the passage of federal legislation needed to combat hate
crimes, to protect LGBT people in the workplace, to allow us to serve openly
in the military, and to recognize our relationships are equal to those of
heterosexuals under the law.
As President Obama said himself, LGBT people and our allies have waited far
too long for equality and that we should be impatient. He also renewed his
call on us to continue to challenge our leaders. We have a responsibility in
this ourselves. We must – during today’s National Equality March and every
day thereafter - continue to tell our stories to our families, friends,
communities and our elected officials, to pressure our Congressional
representatives, and to hold this President accountable for his promises.
We fully expect to see historic change in the status of LGBT people in this
country, accomplishments worthy of a people with a Nobel Laureate as our
President. The world is watching and is expecting nothing less.