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Barack Obama President of the United States


Barack Obama

Barack Obama

© David Lienemann/Getty Images

Barack Obama -44th President of the United States:

President Barack Obama is running for re-election against Mitt Romney in 2012. He has a pretty impressive record of support for the LGBT community in his first term in office. In fact, President Obama has done more for LGBT rights than any other United States President. Here is a summary of some of the legislation President Obama has supported and enacted into law for the LGBT community.

President Obama Supports Marriage Equality:

President Barack Obama is the first United States President to support full marriage equality while he is still in office. In an interview with Robin Roberts on CBS News in May 2012, the President said, "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

The official Democratic platform states: "We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples..."

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Gays in the Military:

In September 2011 President Obama signed legislation to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." For the first time ever, gays and lesbians can serve openly in the United States military. The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell took effect on September 20, 2011 and now gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans can serve openly in the United States Armed Forces without fear of losing their jobs for their sexual orientation and who they happen to love.

No Longer Defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

President Obama announced in February 2011 that the Department of Justice would no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The White House also announced that President Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act which repeals DOMA and gives gay and lesbian couples the same federal rights as straight couples.

From the Democratic Party Platform: We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act ...

Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation:

President Obama helped with the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law extends the coverage of federal hate crimes law to include attacks based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hospital Visitation Rights:

After learning of the story of a lesbian couple who were denied access to one another as one lay dying in a Florida hospital, President Obama passed a mandate that ensures no other couple will have to go through what Janice Langbehn and her partner Lisa Pond did.

The President passed a mandate that any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funds (almost every hospital in America) is not allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. The same visitation rights for opposite sex couples must be extended to gay and lesbian couples. Hospitals must also respect patients' choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them.

Employment Non-Discrimination:

From Whitehouse.gov: 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 Official Democratic Party Platform backs this up: We know that putting America back to work is Job One, and we are committed to ensuring Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gay & Lesbian Adoption:

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.

Sources: Chicago Daily Tribune, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Whitehouse.gov

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