POTUS Honors LGBT Pride Month by Not Supporting Same Sex Marriage, While Cheney Disagrees

Jun 1, 2009 7:02pm

Saying he’s “proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration,” President Obama issued a presidential proclamation Monday in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

To LGBT activists, however, some of the omissions on his proclamation likely spoke louder than the words included.

Mentioning his administration’s international efforts to decriminalize homosexuality, the President said he would continue to “support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans” — enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for gays and lesbians in the armed services.

“Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” the proclamation reads. “Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born.  During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.”

That equal justice under law did not include, in the president’s recitation, perhaps the highest profile issue on the gadar – same sex marriage, or what LGBT activists call “marriage equality.”

Interestingly, the presidential proclamation came the same day that Mr. Obama’s conservative nemesis, former Vice President Dick Cheney, seemed to say he supported same-sex marriage as long as the rules are determined on a state-by-state basis.

Cheney was asked at the National Press Club, "given recent events in Iowa and elsewhere, is some form of legalized gay marriage inevitable for the United States?"

"I think that freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said.

"People ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish,” said the laconic former veep, whose daughter Mary is lesbian, and has a son, Sam, with her partner Heather Poe.

Cheney said “I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don't support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don't have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that."

President Obama today also made no mention of when or how the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would end, though he said it would be done “in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security.

“As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected,” the president said. “If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit.”

UPDATE: It turns out that Mr. Obama's claim "to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration" isn't accurate, since by April 1993 President Bill Clinton had nominated two openly gay Assistant Secretaries.

-jpt

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