The GLBTQ community's concern about Obama failing to keep his campaign promises has me worried. I have faith that he's going to keep his end of the bargin, but for days I've had no way to articulate that except with the old-fashioned earnestness of, "Come on! Give him a chance!" I also have felt a bit uncomfortable under the stares and the implication that Hillary would have done differently. I finally decided to talk to someone who's political experience and opinion I could trust to help me make sense of the conflict.
Roey Thorpe - GLBT activist and current political director of Planned Parenthood - had this to say: "What president in history has ever done anything for the gay community? Only Barack Obama." She kept going: "What president has even said the word gay? Bill Clinton did, then he looked us in the eye and signed DOMA."
In five months, Barack Obama has already done more for the GLBT community that any president in history by extending benefits to domestic partners. By all measures he seems to want to keep going. He has never stopped saying that he'll work to repeal DOMA and he continues to say the words "gay" and "lesbian" without lowering his tone of voice or looking away from the camera. Obama went as far as penning a personal letter to a solider - discharged for coming out - saying he would do something about Don't Ask Don't Tell.
I don't want the pressure to let up on President Obama, but I don't want committed GLBTs and allies to give up on him either. Our voices need to encourage him to keep going in the quest for complete equal rights under the law. We will remind him that we are here to defend him from attacks from the Right as he makes way for GLBT freedoms and support him as he kicks down the walls. We also need to remind our members of Congress that we want them to give Obama a bill to sign.
Watch Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin talk to Rachel Maddow about what it's going to take, congressionally, for futher action: