President Obama Already Working On Change

It's only been 4 days since newly elected President Obama has taken office yet, he and his administration has already updated the official site of the President to reflect the changeover from President George Bush to President Barack Obama within a few minutes of Obama's inauguration.

Below is directly from the site under civil rights:

Support for the LGBT Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."

-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
* Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
* Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
* Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.
* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

For more information

Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Left Out Of HBO Concert Coverage

Jason Linkins
Huffington Post

Sunday's big Lincoln Memorial show was billed as the "We Are One" concert, intended to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama with a spirit of unity. But for those of us watching at home, one participant was excluded -- Gene Robinson, the "first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination." Robinson was on hand to deliver an opening prayer to the event, but this prayer went unseen by anyone watching on HBO, who provided and sponsored the coverage.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for HBO stated that decisions regarding the timing and presentation of Robinson's remarks were made by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and that Robinson was "not a part of our show from the start." Indeed, Robinson appeared minutes before the 2:30pm start time of the concert coverage. HBO's response to the matter has been uniform. A spokeperson offered much the same response: "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."

HBO comes to this controversy without any sort of significant reputation for being a network or a workplace hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In fact, the network is responsible for airing the drama Six Feet Under, which depicted gays in complex relationships unflinchingly. The Obama camp, on the other hand, has courted controversy already with the decision to include in the inauguration Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, a supporter of Proposition 8 in California. The appearance of a snub in the case of Bishop Robinson has successfully raised the temperature among Democratic activists and in the liberal blogosphere, where outrage is being pointed mostly at the incoming administration and the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Calls for comment from the PIC have not been returned. Bishop Robinson is slated to be a guest on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" today at 2pm.

Watch the prayer here:

Prop. 8 Backers Take On AG's Gay Marriage Argument

The Associated Press
Published: Monday, Jan. 05, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- The sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban say Attorney General Jerry Brown is advancing a far-fetched legal theory to justify overturning Proposition 8.

Lawyers for the Protect Marriage coalition on Monday answered the about-face Brown took last month in urging the state Supreme Court to strike down the new marriage law. In a filing with the California Supreme Court, they called his claim that voters lacked the authority to deprive a minority group of a basic civil right "a hoary message" that invites "judicial triumphalism."

The brief comes as part of a series of legal challenges to Proposition 8 brought by same-sex marriage supporters after the ballot measure passed with 52 percent of the vote. Brown initially said he would defend it in his role as attorney general.