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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Short Answer: "No."

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 10:35 AM

NBC's political reporters ask...

Will a memo quiet his critics? Also today, at 5:45 pm ET, Obama signs a presidential memo granting same-sex benefits to federal workers. This move, however, seems mostly about placating gay-rights advocates who have been angered by 1) the administration’s hesitance in overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; 2) its brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which Obama has promised to repeal; and 3) Obama’s invitation of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at the inauguration. In fact, some wealthy gay supporters of Obama have become so mad that they’re taking their names off an upcoming Biden fundraiser. Of course, the Obama White House has been very reluctant to get involved in cultural issues, and it seems intent on avoiding all the early mistakes Bill Clinton made (like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”). Yet today’s presidential memo is a reactive attempt to quell the anger coming from the gay community. But even the memo doesn’t seem to go far enough for gay-rights advocates. For one thing, as the New York Times notes, the benefits for same-sex couples won’t be extended to health care.

Will this memo—which expires with the Obama administration—quiet Obama's critics? Obviously not, NBC, as Obama's critics are now howling mad over this empty gesture. As John says...

The obsession with not repeating the mistakes of 1993 has resulted in a huge mistake in 2009.... There's a part of me that feels like this was a very cynical political ploy—almost as if they want to have the gay community upset with them. It has been one thing after another and we're always told how smart everyone at the White House is. So, it really feels deliberate. They only decided it was a problem when the gay ATM started to shut down.

The slights, the insults—it does feel deliberate. And as I wrote last week, there are only two possible explanations for this White House's actions on gay rights: cowardice or animus. And we know they're not cowards, so...

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