People

LGBT Community

Progress in the LGBT Community

2013

June 26

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, an act President Obama previously declared unconstitutional and refused to defend.

February 11

The Obama administration’s directive on same-sex domestic partner benefits opened the door for the Defense Department to extend legally available benefits and allowances to same-sex domestic partners of members of the Armed Forces.

2012

July 19

The Obama administration announced nearly 80 million in additional grants to fund HIV/AIDS care and end ADAP wait lists.

June 26

The Pentagon celebrated LGBT Pride month for the first time.

May 3

Under the directive of the Obama Administration, our prison system added an LGBT representative to the diversity program at each of the nation’s 120 federal prisons.

May

President Obama and Vice President Biden announced their support for same-sex marriage.

May 17

The Obama administration finalized rules implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act providing specific protections for LGBT Americans.

April 23

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extended the gender-based employment discrimination protections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to transgender employees.

March

The administration ensured transgender veterans receive respectful care according to their true gender through the Veterans Health Administration.

March 16

President Obama came out against North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which prohibits same-sex marriage in the state.

March 15

Michael Fitzgerald was confirmed to the federal bench in California, becoming the fourth openly gay nominee under President Obama, and second confirmed, after Alison Nathan.

February 7

The Obama administration promoted equal access to health care by enabling searches for health plans with same-sex partner benefits on healthcare.gov.

February 2

The White House announced an LGBT Conference Series to address issues affecting LGBT Americans, including health, housing, and safety.

January 28

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new rule protecting against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

2011

December 6

President Obama issued a presidential memorandum that directs all Federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.

December 1

On World AIDS Day, President Obama recommitted the U.S. to creating an AIDS-free generation.

November 1

In his presidential proclamation of National Adoption Month, President Obama called for equal treatment for same-sex adoptive parents.

October 1

President Obama addressed the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner for the second time.

September 30

The Obama administration permitted military chaplains to officiate same-sex marriages where legal.

September 20

The Obama administration implemented the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

September 15

The Obama administration ended the Social Security Administration’s gender "no-match" letters.

August 18

The Obama administration clarified the meaning of “family” to include LGBT relationships, helping to protect bi-national families threatened by deportation.

July 19

President Obama endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, a legislative effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

May 27

The Obama administration issued guidance to foster safer working environments for transgender federal employees.

March 31

The Obama administration completed an Institute of Medicine study on LGBT health, the first of its kind.

March 10

The White House hosted the first-ever Conference on Bullying Prevention in America’s schools.

February 23

President Obama declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and announced the administration would no longer defend it in court.

2010

December 22

President Obama signed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell"

December 21 p{The Obama administration led a United Nations measure to restore “sexual orientation” to the definition of human rights. October 21

President Obama recorded "It Gets Better" video to support LGBT youth experiencing bullying.

October 1

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded the largest grant ever to an LGBT organization, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. The funds went toward combating discrimination against LGBT youth in the foster care system.

July 19

Under the leadership of the Obama administration, our representatives successfully fought for UN accreditation of IGLHRC (the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission).

June 22

The Obama administration released America’s first comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness, which includes homeless LGBT youth.

June 22

The Obama administration clarified the Family and Medical Leave Act to ensure family leave for LGBT employees.

June 9

The Obama administration allowed transgender Americans to receive true gender passports without surgery.

April

The Justice Department issued guidance stating that federal prosecutors should enforce criminal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act in cases involving same-sex relationships.

April 15

The Obama administration ensured hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights for gay and lesbian patients.

January 4

The Obama administration lifted the ban that prohibited people with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States.

January 1

The Obama administration banned discrimination in federal workplaces based on gender identity.

2009

November p{President Obama sent an administration official to the Senate to testify in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the first time any official of an administration has done so. October 30

President Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.

October 28

President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into Law, which extends the coverage of Federal hate crimes law to include attacks based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

October 21

The Obama administration created a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders.

August 12

President Obama awarded the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, to Billie Jean King and Harvey Milk.

June 29

President Obama hosted the first-ever White House LGBT Pride reception.

June 17

President Obama ordered the federal government to extend key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

June 19

The Census Bureau ended a policy that kept LGBT relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way and urging transgender Americans to identify their true gender.

Recent Updates
  • 50 years later voting rights still threatened

    Nearly 50 years ago, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, to outlaw discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and more. The law strengthened voting rights and pushed for an end to racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and in public places. The law passed with bipartisan support -- in fact, Republicans helped lead the charge and break the filibuster.

    Unfortunately, today's GOP retreats headlong from the battle towards greater equality. In fact, many Republican are trying to sabotage or undermine crucial protections in the Civil Rights Act.

    One of the critical goals of the Civil Rights Act was “to enforce the constitutional right to vote.” But instead of ensuring this right, today’s Republican Party wants to make it more difficult for people to cast their ballots.

    Republicans are engaged in an aggressive and sustained campaign to make voting harder for millions of Americans. Across the country, Republican controlled legislatures enact laws that put barriers between voters and the ballot box. Apparently, Republicans have decided that if voters reject their ideas at the polls, they'll just rig the system by decreasing participation and making it more difficult to cast a ballot.

    • In Texas, Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas, they have passed strict photo identification and proof of citizenship laws. The result: voters who change their name because they get married or can't provide an original birth certificate find it more difficult to have their vote counted.
    • In Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina, the GOP is restricting early voting periods.
    • And in Minnesota, Republicans are trying to sue the Secretary of State to stop that state from implementing online voter registration.

    Voting restrictions like these impact all Americans, but they disproportionately hurt African Americans, Latinos, working people, seniors, young people, and women – the very groups the Civil Rights Act has been helping for fifty years.

    Meanwhile, Democrats are committed to our mission of ensuring that every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote, and that every vote is accurately counted. Because we know that our nation has never moved forward with less participation. So as we mark 50 years since the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land, it is more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to protecting and expanding the franchise for ALL Americans.

    And it’s not just on voting rights that the GOP is standing on the wrong side of progress:

    • Republicans made clear this week that they do not support legislation that would move us closer to equal pay for equal work and address the persistent discrimination that millions of American women experience in the workplace.
    • On rights for LGBT Americans, the GOP blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and in many states authored legislation to enshrine discrimination in the legal code.
    • Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take us back to the days where insurance companies could deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions, or even for just being a woman.
    • The GOP continues to oppose and obstruct efforts to raise the minimum wage and ensure folks who work full time don’t remain in poverty.
    • Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform, dividing families and leaving millions of people stuck in a broken system.

    When it comes to civil rights, equality, and progress, Republicans are not only on the wrong side of the issues, their positions stand in stark contrast to the views of the American people. As Democrats, we will keep fighting to move our country forward, and work to get even closer to the ideals embodied in the Civil Rights Act over the next 50 years.

     

    Donna Brazile is the Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee.

     

  • Steve Walker: “ENDA Deserves A Vote”

    Deputy National Political Director Steve Walker sent this email to supporters asking them to call on Speaker John Boehner to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for a vote on the House floor. Here's what he had to say:

    Friend --

    In 33 states, it is perfectly legal for employers to fire their employees for being LGBT.

    You read that right. For many of us LGBT members in the workforce, the fear that we could lose our livelihood because of who we are is all too real.

    Here's what you can do about it: Tell Speaker Boehner to bring the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act to a vote in the House.

    ENDA, which the Senate just passed, would make it illegal to discriminate against workers based on who they are. That probably sounds obvious to you. But Speaker Boehner has called lawsuits to prevent discrimination "frivolous." His colleague, Rep. Steve King, has said ENDA "is the homosexual lobby taking it out on the rest of society and they are demanding affirmation for their lifestyle, that's at the bottom of this."

    There's nothing frivolous about equality. Tell Speaker Boehner that ENDA deserves a vote:

    http://my.democrats.org/ENDA-Vote-Now

    Thanks,

    Steve

    Steve Walker
    Deputy National Political Director
    Democratic National Committee

    P.S. -- John Boehner didn't want to go against the Tea Party, but thanks to calls, emails, and petitions from people like you, he finally called a vote on the bill that ended the government shutdown. Let's join our voices together again, and tell John Boehner that it's time for equality in the workplace right now.

  • DOMA Decision in Tweets

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Obama: It Gets Better
Recent Action
Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
The majority of the Armed Forces is comprised of Young Americans volunteering to defend this nation and its ideals. However, a sect of the population was forced to hide their sexual orientation in order to do so. President Obama lead the charge to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allowing gay and lesbian members of the Armed Forces to serve openly for the first time in American history.
Strengthening enforcement of human rights laws
Democrats passed the Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009, creating a special section in the Justice Department to enforce human rights laws, specifically addressing genocide and child soldier recruitment.
Strengthening protections against hate crimes
Democrats passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, giving law enforcement officials the power and tools to prosecute those who commit hate crimes.
Milestones