Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Obama Tries to Throw a Bone

So this is supposed to showcase our "fierce advocate" for GLBT equality... but as others have noted, since DOMA is in place, provision of substantive benefits (e.g., health insurance) are denied.

And the Hate Crimes legislation has been kicked down the road to August at best.

Barney Frank is "mad" but wants to keep the gay ATM open.

Congressional Leadership: FAIL
Congressional GLBT Leaders (except Jared Polis): FAIL
Obama Administration: FAIL

What I find most disheartening about all this is how much all this is disconnected from today's real world... this isn't 1993, it's 2009!

Over 200 Fortune 500 companies:

  • Forbid harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Include sexual orientation and gender identity in employment non-discrimination policies
  • Provide a full range of benefits to same-sex couples and their families that match what they provide to heterosexual married couples and their families

In short, even in those places that do not have legally sanctioned civil marriage, gays and lesbians are treated with respect and with a degree of equality that is lacking in our civil statutes.

I have, for the last 7 years, completed the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey for Chevron. I'm happy to say that Chevron has a 100% score... although we didn't start there, we quickly got there. That Chevron recognizes the impact of that score in its Corporate Responsibility Report, is a mark of pride for me.

I can also say that the pace at which the business community has moved on GLBT equality is astounding -- and accelerating.

It used to be the norm that it would take years to move from adding sexual orientation to non-discrimination policies to getting partner benefits for same-sex couples -- or adding gender identity into the mix. Not so anymore. Because of the groundbreaking work by many companies (and their GLBT employees), many newcomers to the CEI enacted these policies in one swift move.

That is the playing field we are on... it has been a subtle but seismic shift over the past two decades -- and I fail to understand how the current administration and Democratic Congress cannot (or will not) see that. Until they do, not one thin dime... and I'll be sitting on my hands on the health-care debate as well. (DOMA disallows GLBT families from being recognized as such for any federal benefit plan that might be proposed.)

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