Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama calls LGBT rights civil rights

[updated to include quotes]
The news is all over the LGBT corner of the web this morning: Barack Obama has posted his official agenda for LGBT people on his transition web site. has a good overview. Except for the lack of marriage equality, it's a fine agenda and matches his campaign promises, including repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and a transgender-inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

But most commentators are missing something rather important in this seemingly normal post on LGBT rights are discussed on the Civil Rights page. In other words, Obama is declaring that our rights are civil rights. It's stating the obvious, but this is an enormously important distinction. If our rights truly are nothing more than civil rights, then how can anyone oppose them?

By the way, the top of Obama's Civil Rights page includes this quote:
"The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen -- they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs.... We have more work to do."

-- Barack Obama, Speech at Howard University, September 28, 2007

The top of the LGBT section on the Civil Rights page has this quote:

"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

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