Newsweek: Obama Will Do Nada for Gays in 2010
By Tony Peregrin in News on Dec 22, 2009 5:20PM
Obama will do nothing for gay rights in 2010, predicts Newsweek, because he would like to avoid the possibility of waging a culture war prior to midterm elections. Coming in at number 9 on its “Politics Predictions 2010” top ten list, the magazine foresees a president that will “do nada” for gay rights in the upcoming year.
What the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community has learned this year is that the president is ultimately a pragmatist. Although his very presence in the White House is the stuff of culture wars, Obama himself is reluctant to wade into one. Moreover, if socially divisive policies have the potential to compromise his legislative agenda, Obama has proven that he simply won’t pursue them. Expect this tension to become more acute as the 2010 elections loom — and for gay rights to be shunted aside again.
“When I read this item in Newsweek, I was not surprised,” says Andrew Davis, managing editor of the Windy City Times and a 42 year-old resident of the Near North Side. “Granted, he’s had to deal with two wars, massive unemployment, a recession and health care reform. However, it seems that when it comes to LGBT rights, the demographic has received mostly lip service (although he did sign the federal hate-crimes bill). I can see him not wanting to “rock the boat.” After all, he expressed his support for same-sex marriage just a few years ago but now he is only behind civil unions—a move, I suspect, that was made to make him more middle-of-the-road (and more marketable).”
Gay rights advocates have been calling on Obama to keep his campaign trail promises for much of 2009. In August, the Advocate published a cover story illustrating Obama’s shortcomings with the LGBT community, including a clever reinterpretation of the iconic Shepard Fairey campaign posters which replaced the cutline “"HOPE"” with the word “NOPE?” The article stated that, during the campaign, Obama had seemed like a hero to the LGBT community, but now “the hero was a player after all.”
“I was surprised when Obama gave himself a “B+” when Oprah Winfrey recently asked him to grade himself,” says Davis. “It might’ve made more sense if he had given himself an “incomplete,” considering the distance he still has to go on a lot of issues. When he used the line “Yes We Can,” maybe he should’ve added the word ‘eventually.’ I hold out hope that LGBTs will achieve equality; unfortunately, I don’t see it happening within the next year.”