Activists carry a rainbow flag on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building during a protest. The group gathered to push Pres. Obama's administration and Congress to live up to promises to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to advance civil rights. (PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama doesn't have any shortage of critical issues to deal with right now, from health care reform to the economy and job creation to possibly sending more troops into Afghanistan.
But the president is choosing this moment to wade into yet another heated debate - that of gay rights. In a speech to an advocacy group - Mr. Obama promised to end the military's policy of "don't ask-don't tell." But he neglected to say when or how.
Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he expects the ban to be lifted... but that it's critical for military leaders to agree on the policy change.
President Obama is also calling on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
The 1996 law signed by President Clinton defines marriage as being between a man and a woman... and makes sure that states don't have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
President Obama doesn't support same-sex marriage and has said he thinks marriage is between a man and a woman. But - he backs civil unions that offer similar rights to gay couples; and just this weekend called for a law to extend benefits to domestic partners.
Meanwhile - Some gay rights activists are getting impatient with the president... saying they've heard his promises before and now want a timeline.
Here’s my question to you: Is now the right time for President Obama to wade into the issue of gay rights?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Sam from Tempe, Arizona writes:
Of course it's the right time. We're talking about equal rights for American citizens. There's never a wrong time to weigh in on whether or not our laws are treating every American citizen equally and fairly. That being said, I'm glad the president didn't commit to a definitive timeline. All he'd be doing is setting himself up for failure.
R. from Griffith, Georgia writes:
Personally, I believe the president should focus on higher priority matters, such as the economy, jobs, the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and health care reform. I don’t think gay rights are a priority for this country... However, “don’t ask, don’t tell” should be repealed. All Americans should be able to serve during war-time and they should be able to serve openly.
Hi Jack. I am a gay man, but there are greater issues and problems that our president must confront… I want my rights as a gay man to be recognized, but at the same time I want the other problems our country is facing to be taken care of first.
Brandon from Ithaca, New York writes:
When is it NOT time to wade into civil and equal rights? While I'm encouraged by recent discussions on health care, what's the point if my partner can't be added to my health coverage because we're not married? Although, I voted for Obama, I'm sad that the issues he promised to light a fire under Congress on are quickly fizzling out.
Michael from Dallas writes:
While opponents claim that he is taking on too much, President Obama has little choice but to address all of these problems if we are to maintain our way of life and our respect in the world community. Wading in to assure that our Constitution is enforced is a no-brainer.
How about we work on private sector jobs so we can get this country rolling again and leave the social agenda to wait for another day? He can even create jobs for gay people, too. It's the economy, stupid.
No, not yet. While these are very important issues and need to be addressed, what needs to be top priority are those issues that are effecting ALL Americans right now. Health care, two wars, a still struggling economy and JOBS. If he focuses on these items, everyone will benefit. Gay or Straight, Male or Female, Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc...
If we are going to ask him to give gay rights priority then how about having him specifically address the more than double digit unemployment in the African American community, illegal immigration, etc.
Everything can't be first. Somethings and some persons will simply have to wait.
Don't you just love it when Obama promises things he can not deliver on his own. Like he is going to change don't ask don't tell. Why it works well and who wants to know your sexual orientation anyway?
Nothing against gays but them not being able to marry right now does not seem to be a priority. I also think it is selfish on their part to even bother the President with thier issues right now.
Makes as much sense as arranging deck chairs on a sinking ship.
Both my husband and I think that Gay issues touch on all the other issues that Obama has to deal with. " Don't Ask, Don't Tell" keeps gays from serving or demands they lie so they can. DOMA denies same-sex partners the same rights to be at their partners hospital bedsides that other couples enjoy. Why should my sister not have the rights I do?
I am a little ticked off by the Gays, now don't get me wrong. They are human and Americans like me, but my point is that these are hard time for all of us including the Gays. Lets not get the Congress and the President off track, lets wait till we get this country back on track.
We should not have to discriminate anyway. When I was in Vietnam I saw people die and I noted we all die the same, color, religion, sexual orientation did not matter, we all die the same. Why can't we all live the same.
I am beginning to think that Obama has been following a plan that purposely keeps refilling his plate. In doing so, he makes it difficult for us to see exactly what is being hidden under the table. One could say that much on his plate has been going to the dogs.
I can tolerate don't ask don't tell but if he thinks for one minute that openly gay couples in the military will fly he is ignorant of the soldier mentality. This is what happens when you try to go along with something you are moraly against. Give an inch they want a mile. The gays need to wake up and realize most people still don't approve of their lifestyle choice but in the name of civility we tried to accomodate them, no more this will take them back years and they will lose the ground they have gained.
Yes, unfortunately, considering how insane people get over this subject, he needs to convince the military that its a good idea before he changes it.
After years of neglect, we have serious problems in almost every sector of America, including Education, Health Care, Financial Regulation, Energy usage and Civil Rights. It is now past the time to set our country on a new path. While opponents claim that he is taking on too much, President Obama has little choice but to address all of these problems if we are to maintain our way of life and our respect in the World community. Wading in to assure that our Constitution is enforced is a no brainer.
Sure, why not. He just won the Nobel Peace Prize because the committee was betting on what they thought he was going to do – an interesting concept. Isn't it obvious, just wave the magic wand of charisma and things happen. I think he will lift "don't ask, don't tell" over the military's objection just as tends to ignore them on other issues. Time will tell if it effects unit cohesion, you know , showering with a gay guy. However, this is a smoke screen issue ( notice that military term?) for the gay community who will push him or some future president until they endorse gay marriage. I really hope gay folks get full rights but I wonder what's next. Can I marry my dog? After all, I love her. Sounds crazy but so did gay marriage 50 years ago.
NO WAY JACK!
In a time our Insurance Companies are being discriminated by the congress, and President, it is time to deregulate the insurance
Companies and fight for conservative rights in Congress, by
the Socialist democrat Party and Our Kenyan President.
We need to free Glen Beck, and Listen to him.
ask not for whom glen cries, for Glen cries for Thee jack.
When it comes to the rights of human beings any time is the right time.
We cannot justify inequality and discrimination with the excuse of being to busy. How inane is that?
Now is not the best time for this, but they need to remember it is not up to just the President to change this it will take allot of other people in government as well to agree to the rights of the gay community.
Welcome back Jack!
Yes, and he has to play basketball with them!
Marriage is a covenant with God. If Jesus approves of same sex marriage then I'm good as well. The goverment should not sanction any marriage and they should stay out of welfare as charity. Taking our money as tax then returning half as charity never made good logic.
It's time to catch up with the rest of the world.
President Obama better wade into the issue of gay rights, jump into the water with the sharks and pass the Healthcare Bill, end 2 wars, cure cancer and part the Red Sea if he wants to earn that Nobel Prize.
I think he is in on it but not with the vigor of more pressing up front issues such as Health Care, the economy, Iran, North Korea and the many other things on his plate. His is not an easy task with the opposition attempting to obstruct his every move. I believe if the opposition realized that the President was left handed, they would try to introduce a resolution requiring that he switches to his right hand. Anything to slow him down and drag things out. The is also the fact that congress moves slower than molasses in the winter time.
Why not? Is there ever any time when you have too many irons in the fire? It's not like the President has to be personally involved in every bit of minutia of a topic. He has a staff that can take care of the details.
And what better way to keep the country engaged than to keep the slate of changes changing.
I believe that this will be an issue for his second term when he does not have to worry about re-election. He has too many controversial items on his plate right now to worry about like health care reform, Iraq, and immigration reform. He saw what happenned to Bill Clinton when he tried to allow gays in the millitary so he will be wise enough to wait.
Is it time yet?! It's past time! The lives LGBT individuals are passing them by and they are unable to take advantage of simple rights that so many Americans take for granted. It's time for us all to set aside our prejudices and insure happiness for ALL Americans!
If we're going to add more troops to Afghanistan, the armed forces are going to need every butt they can get there, gay or not. The sooner he gets rid of 'don't ask, don't tell' the sooner the ranks of troops can be added to.
No. President Obama has enough on his plate without having to approve who will sleep with who legally. Why has this type of stuff become so important. This can wait!!! And it need to be remove from television.
Any time is the right time to do the right thing. NOW sounds good!
In a word...no. We have a war in Afghanistan, health care reform, and an economy that's still in trouble to deal with. I support gay rights, but that should not be a main focus right now. In other words, there are bigger fish to fry.
Is there a "right time"? I don't know. Anyway, he seems to be doing it. We'll see if he follows through.
When is there a wrong time to tackle gay rights issues? Gay right issues are human rights issues, and they should have been addressed long before now. The President needs to step up and keep the promises he made back when he was an Illinois State Senator, you know, when he supported same-sex marriage. Stop basing policies solely on expected political consequences. You have capital Mr. President, time to start spending it.
Personally, the President should focus on higher priority matters, such as the economy, jobs, the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and healthcare reform.
Personally, gay rights are not a priority for this country, although it may be for self-centered individuals. However, DADT should be repealed. All Americans should be able to serve during war-time and they should be able to serve openly.
Absolutely! If the president can take time to debate where the next world Olympics can be held, he can certainly take time out to wade into the issue of lifting the ban.
it is always time for human rights. it is time for gay rights in the military . then we need to deal with other gay rights in the near future so it can be done right with no misconseption on all sides.
Yes, it is about time that the president steps up to the plate and keeps his promises that got him elected. But I disagree with the Gay Marriage, Civil Unions YES. Gays do not need to denegrate the institution of marriage, we can do that without their help.
But they deserve to be recognized as a valid part of this country.
Dispite what the toothless old queen, Barney Frank says, we gays are making a difference with our marches. Otherwise, I doubt that CNN would be covering our fight for equality so closely. President Obama put it best when he said "The urgency of now". This implies that he understands the need to stop kicking qualified soldiers out of our military for being gay, and the need to secure our jobs and prevent hate crimes against us wherever possible. It's not the urgency of later. Now is the time to keep his promises before another gay man or woman is rejected from fighting in either of these two wars and before my partner of 17 years is hospitalized and I get denied visitation rights
I think the president should wait for a bit to wade into this issue as we have enough problems right now. It is just something that is going to divert our attention away from the other issues. I don't care one way or the other but I just think that President Obama has enough to deal with right now. He is going to be in office for three more years and there is time for this to be handled the best way.
Yes, this is something activists shouldn't even have to push on the president gay rights should already be accomplished but they are not and we can not wait any longer its now or never
Gays should have equal rights. None of us should care about this and it should be a non issue. Give them their rights and all the noise will go away.
Why not, he is clearly capable of multi-tasking. That's a good thing. Otherwise, what would he do in those very long pauses while Congress does nothing?
This is the PERFECT time for Obama to put the spotlight on gay rights. Republicans will get all riled up and so distracted by their self-righteous "Adam & Steve-" style Bible-thumping that they won't notice a comprehensive "Medicare for All" bill get passed. It could be just what we need to end the corporate takeover of our basic health care.
Now is not the time for him to wade into this. He needs to pass healthcare reform now! Even if it doesn`t have the public option, it can always be added later when republicans realize they are making a mistake. If he does wade into it, it`s fine with me if they serve in the military. But, it is not ok with me for them to have legal marriages. It not only goes against the laws of man and religion, it goes against the laws of nature!
Yes, the President does have a lot on his plate. However, it is his job to handle many things at once. The gay community waited out 8 LONG years with that disaster of a president. Even using his hatred for gays to get re-elected. DISGUSTING!.
The time is now. Don't ask, Don't tell was a ridiculous policy in the first place and everyone knows it..
Answer me this, was there a "right" time for Brown V. Board of Education, or the Civil Rights act of 1964 or open housing laws or any other civil rights decision or legislation? When people are being oppressed or denied equal treatment under the law, the right time is always NOW!
Right time for this, way past time those who serve in the military some who are in critical positions have been discharged not for their behavior in uniform but for something they do off duty. It is wrong always has been. I believe pre 2000 that Gay's should be kicked out but I have mended my ways and believe now more than ever we are all alike in many ways - every day people, just doing our every day life and trying to do the best we can each and every day. the fore fathers said all men are created equal and that doesn't mean just old white men having the say for the rest of us. God Bless America. Time to go forth and remake our nation in the tone for which it was meant freedom for everyone.
It's not the right time. The right time was years ago. It's just long overdue. Basic human rights can't take a backseat to politics, no matter how bag the issue is (e.g. health care, the economy).
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The time is always right to do what is right." Our President is everyone's president and even though he has a lot on his plate, this issue was a campaign promise and he has taken steps to address every promise he made. Rome wasn't built in a day and this president isn't a magician, but he is always thinking about what the right thing to do is on every issue he faces. It is a nice change I'd say.
Absolutely. This President knows that the more controversial issues he brings up, the more the Republicans are going to look like a backward party, the party of "no" and not a progressive, modern, forward thinking entity.
Hi Jack, I am a gay man but my thoughts are given the greater issues and concerns/problems that our President must confront, inherited and now on the forefront, he must give thought and action to those issues and the concerns of gay rights need to wait a bit. I so want my rights as a gay man to be recognized but at the same time I want the other problems our country is facing to be taken care of first. Thanks.
Yes Jack it is a perfect time to change policies regarding human rights!
Maybe then President Obama won't have to feel so guilty about his Nobel Peace Prize, and he will still have the same amount of enemies!
Of course it's the right time. We're talking about equal rights for American citizens. There's never a wrong time to weigh in on whether or not our laws are treating every American citizen equally and fairly. That being said I'm glad the President didn't commit to a definitive timeline. All he'd be doing is setting himself up for failure. A timeline would only galvanize the opposition to prevent the President from meeting his timeline in an effort to weaken his credibility. Just look at health insurance reform.
YES! It is time for the President to fix the gay rights issue. This is the first minority to be elected to be President of the United States and it is time for us to show that we believe in equal rights for ALL people as our constitution states. I find it sad that there aren't more people these days on board for equal rights for all people.
Jack, I don't support Obama ending that, right from my kindergarten I learn that marriage is a union of MAN & WOMAN, why can't gay brethren settle for civil union which practice and well know all over the states, why must they wanted MARRIAGE!!!?? This is a question that America has to answer.
From Newark, NJ
Welcome back Jack!
Well when asking a question like this you need to be thinking of the concept.
The concept is that many Americans feel like they are second-class citizens and not receiving the rights promised to them by the constitution. In my opinion, they have a case, however; with the wars in the middle east, our foreign oil crisis, our domestic energy crisis, infrastructure crisis, and economy crisis, I would still say yes, it needs to be addressed.
The one thing we need to try and guarantee at all times in the United States, is that you are free to live your life, so long as you don't infringe on the rights of others. And if the government is infringing, it should be addressed immediately.
There is no wrong time to fight for gay rights – or any rights for that matter!! It is always the right time!! Karen Reynolds, Greenfield, MA
I feel as though that same sex marrige should be a top priority for the Obama Administration but I fee that right now that there are more critical issues at hand right now. With managing the conditions in Afghanistan and fighting for healthcare for all Americans I feel though that Homosexual Americans should be slightly more patient.
I think that there are more pressing issues at the moment than gay rights, Jack. We are engeaged in two wars, we are trying to reform healthcare, and we are trying to recover from a recession all at the same time. The president, and Congress for that matter, have enough to deal with than trying to pass gay rights legislation as well. Its not that gay rights aren't important, its just that now is not the right time. We should deal with that when we have less on our plates.
Yes, gay rights is a human rights issue, just like equal rights for women, etc.
Yes, now is the time. It is true that the President has a plate full of complex issues. The gay issues, however, are not complex at all. A few small actions from the administration and Congress can easily (and finally) put an end to this era's largest issues of discrimination.
Is there ever a "right time" to ensure that all people are considered equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights? Pres. Eisenhower in an Amicus brief filed in Brown v. Board of Ed. called de-segregation a national security issue and pushed for an end to separate but equal. Are we unable to call the loss of thousands of Patriotic service members to "don't ask, don't tell" policies a threat to national security?
wait no more, enough this president promised to end these polices
and with a strike of a pen he can begin this process, the gay community will no longer be a poster child for the democratic party when they want our votes. we want action ,equal means equal !
You cannot legislate morality nor make behavior a protected class of citizens. You can change who you have sex with but you cannot change your ethnicity. To legislate based on people's emotions or mindset at any particular time, is very dangerous. Sexual acts are just that 'acts'. To give certain people special rights for activities they engage in is not based on equality and makes no common sense. We have already seen aggressive gay rights activist cross the line without punitive damages. It's time for the president to stay out of the issue. Marriage is and always has been ordained by God between one man and one woman in part to keep society going. You open this door and anything else goes. Sad commentary on the debased morality this country has sunk to.
First people say the President is taking on too much. They they complain he is on tv too much. Next he has not been in office long enough to get a Nobel Peace Prize (even though it is not relevant)
This issue surely comes after: The War in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, Healthcare, the Economy, unemployment, closing GITMO and global warming.
Complain next year after he gets one of the other more important issues finished~
The time is now. America is divided in so many ways but taking away an American's right to serve in the military and defend our country or the right to commit to someone for the rest of their life is unconstitutional. It is simply ridiculous that the "Free Country" is not what it seems. In the tough times we have ahead, no one should be treated as an undeserving individual. As a young lesbian I demand change. Lt. Dan Choi said it best at the rally.
Now is the perfect time for President Obama to get involved in gay rights. He is attempting to accomplish what he was elected to do in the first place. That is, to fix the United States and to offer change. Sure, he could only focus on one major issue at a time, however the next thing you know people would be bickering amongst themselves about he isn't getting anything done.
Is it time to move forward on equal civil rights for gay American families in the areas of marriage and military equity? It's past due. Did Truman put to a vote his decision to end racial segregation in the armed forces? No – he lined up the allies he had, explained his reasoning to his opponents, and then moved forward to do the right thing. And history is on his side.
Obama or any other elected official should stay out the bedrooms of Americans.Both parties love to use these wedge issues to rally their base but seldom do anything to advance the ball.
Social issues should be left to the courts where they are not prone to public sentiment of the moment.
It is long past time for him to be focusing on gay rights. The issue of gay marriage in this country boils down to this: most people who object to gay marriage do so because of their religion, but we have a seperation of church and state in this country. If marriage is a religious institution the government should either recognize none of them at all or recognize any that any legitimate religious group is willing to perform. It is unconscionable that, based only on the religious beliefs of a few people, we are denying people the rights they deserve.
As a 20 year Navy veteran (retiree) and my domestic partner of 35
years being a Vietnam veteran, we say that it is well past time for movement of the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
There is never a wrong time to work towards equality for citizens of our great country. But, there are greater issues. Our countrymen are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, our fellow citizens are dying from a lack of health insurance and our country is in the deepest levels of debt ever seen. When people can't find work to feed their families, I would hope the GLBT community would have enough respect to voice their concerns but respect the priority of other national issues. We should be talking about a timetable for employing our citizens and saving our soldiers not a timetable for the special interests of a single group. Isn't President Obama the one who said special interests wouldn't dominate his presidency?
Jack....I'm not so sure that Obama is wading into the gay issue–it was smart on his part to speak out in support of gay rights last Saturday–but let's all get honest-does anyone informed really believe this issue came out of thin air? The jerks in the health insurance industry are at it again–and Obama is smart to speak out–but postpone any change until after healthcare reform is completed-–IMHO
No, not at this time. The country is in the middle of the biggest debate of the year and also their are too many other problems that must be taken care now. The Gay rights rights issues would turn Pres. Obama attention away from the Health Bill and the differance wars that this country need to pay more attention too. Good saying in the military, Keep your eye on the ball.
There will never be a "right" time for a human right to be available to all. The President will get a lot of flak for doing the right thing, but how long must this part of our population be treated in this fashion?
Without a shadow of a doubt. Equality is everyone's business. Anybody remember when the army didn't want to give equal protection and rights to African-Americans? Same story, different year. Same hate, same fear. Equal rights didn't come about in our country because everyone wanted it; they came about because we have a responsibility, both to each other and to ourselves, to prove that the notion that all people were created equal has no "except those guys" clause.
Yes, it is time for the President to deliver on his promise. The gay/lesbian community was instrumental in getting him elected based on his promises during the campaign. In return for the support of the unions and the trial lawyers, he has helped them as promised. Now he must honor his promise to the gay and lesbian communities. No more excuses.
How can we ever expect to regain the respect of the free world as leaders when we have an entire class of people who are discriminated against in employment, housing, taxes, military and every other facet of American life.
No body is asking for special rights, Gays just want the same rights that their neighbor has. No more and certainly no less..
Let's free our nation of this albatross of shame which has so divided us and distracted us. Let's spend the money on education, taking care of the poor, generating jobs, instead of divisive religious based wedge issues.
I think Obama's trying to make Rush Limbaugh's head explode.
I say enough is enough. Many other countries allow the GLBT Community to serve and not a single country involved had any backlash, etc. Losing highly qualified service members due to DADT is a slap in the face of equality for all humankind!
DOMA is a joke as it states the government of this country says who can and cannot get married. There are so many in the GLBT Community that have very productive lives including children, pay taxes, but have to stay seperate, which is not equal.
About time Equality for ALL becomes real & not just hot air.
Thank you kindly.
P.S. Keep up the subjects mentioned and sooner than later we will gain what everyone else already has in this great country of ours.
The gay community needs to understand that there are issues that are going in the US that are more urgent, such as fixing the economy, ending the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and health care reform. The reason he didn't set a timeline to deal with the gay rights issue is because he is probably not sure how to approach it, or when he will get a chance to do so. They need to so some patience and realize that isn't all about them.
Absolutely not. We are in the midst of knotty discussions of how to get people healthy without having them pay through their nose, and how to quickly end a protracted war that keeps draining our national coffers, adding to our national deficits and killing more of our young ones. People's right to certain sexual orientation SHOULD NOT be in the list at this time. It is only distracting from important issues, at best.
As long as he's working on health care and the war he might as well take on gay rights because they are linked to eachother. Just think that if gays are allowed to openly serve we might have the numbers that the generals are asking for, and getting the insurance companies to recognize dommetic partnerships should aslo be adressed.
Jack, isn't it ALWAYS time to address discrimination in any of its forms? I applaud Pres. Obama for elevating the challenges GLBT people face to the national stage. It takes leadership like this to begin to counteract the ignorance and bigotry that has historically faced any minority in its pursuit of equality. As long as the governor of a state (like the one in Texas) can say that gay people should "go someplace else" if they don't like the way they are treated here, we have work to do.
At the very heart of our system is the central belief that all people have the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that we are all equal under the law. There is no inappropriate time to insure that those most central and moral goals are met. And Obama should continue to push toward those goals. That said, my gay friends and neighbors need to remember that this man needs to be pragmatic - not for pragmatism's sake - but because he knows how to win. If you continue to push and push and insist on timeframes, you, and we - because the fight for equality belongs to all of us - are likely to end up waiting much, much longer for the very change you are desiring. The high road is the shortest road to any moral victory.
No! Get healthcare passed first. Gays need healthcare too.
Perhaps someone once told FDR that his plate was full with the threat of Germany and the economic problems in America, and that it was not the right time to worry about expanding the defense of Pearl Harbor.
It's the perfect time! The main stream media has slowly stopped talking about olympics and the nobel peace prize. The white house needs another distraction for the media to get a hold of and this is it. Meanwhile, congress will push through an unpopular public option behind closed doors and without proper coverage and scrutiny. This is just another highly opinionated but unimportant news story so the white house can keep our attention off the key issues.
There is no time better than right now at this very moment. The momentum is building and the President needs to act. There will always be people that find a reason not to address the LGBT civil rights issues. These rights are not only civil but human rights. I as well as my two sisters are gay. My oldest sister and her partner of 12 years recently welcomed a baby boy, Jude, into the world. Their family is based on love and hope. I would love to hope that the world will finally take off their religion stained glasses and see this issue for what it truly means. When it says "All men are created equal", that my friend means ALL..including LGBT people. Please Mr. President, help us out. We stood behind change and believed in you and your hopes. Now it is your chance to stand behind us in the changes we so desperately need. Don't kill our hopes because of bigoted politics. Thanks from Nathan Clark, 29yrs old in Nashville, Tennessee.
I think Obama shoud stay out our bedroomr and work more on getting jobs for Americans so they can afford this insurance that is about to be shoved down our thorts.
It's beyond disgraceful that this country still has lawful second class citizenship.
And Jack, Id love for CNN to find out for us the total price tag for all the service men and women trained to served and then dismissed! The amount of money and national security that's wasted with DADT should offend everyone, gay or straight.
An end to this debate is past due. The people against this issue are uneducated on the facts and fail to realize that homosexuality is not a choice. It's time that we end this childish debate and give all Americans the same basic rights.
He should absolutely wade in on every issue that comes across. This is why we voted him into office.He represents hope and change for everyone across the board, no matter on who you are, but on what we all need from health care to equal rights. GO OBAMA!
Jack, when is there a right time to give these people their rights? There is always going to be something on the President's plate. The time for doing what is right is always NOW.
From the tar heel state, North Carolina, I say, yes, gay rights is a human rights issue, just like equal rights for women, etc. No one should be discriminated against, and that inclujdes everyone including homosexuals. The military is expelling excellent people just because they learn they are gay. How awful.
Not at this time, His main focus should be on Economy, without jobs every other issue becomes insignicant. I live in Austin, Texas and have been looking for work the longest time ever and Austin has always had a healthy job market. The situation is bad and that is where the primary focus needs to be. I am losing sleep at night worrying about paying bills not if Afghanstan, Iraq can be a democracy or gays in the military can come out of the closet.
Of course he should move forward on providing equality for the LGBT community. Would you even have to ask this question if it was rights for African-Americans, Hispanics or other historically discriminated class. Of course not! Equal rights for ALL Americans is what Obama should strive to achieve.
Shirley Mesquite October 13th, 2009 4:13 pm ET
No. President Obama has enough on his plate without having to approve who will sleep with who legally. Why has this type of stuff become so important. This can wait!!! And it need to be remove from television.
I agree with Shirley. Who cares about who sleeps with who. If you keep your personal business to yourself, there would be no issues. Most Americans do not support a lot of these issues. Why do we even care about people's sexual orientation. First homosexuals. In the next 10 years, will we have to deal with pedophiles and their rights. Enough is enough.
This is in response to Don being "ticked off by the gays." Yes I agree...how DARE our community be selfish enough to ask for the same rights as every other American. Maybe if some of these people were affected personally by the lack of these changes they would not be so quick to say that it is unimportant.
No, while it is understandable that any group which feels that their rights are being denied are not interested in delay, given that "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act must get through congress, attacking these issues now would lessen the chances for success not only with these issues but health care reform as well. It would also likely be more difficult to get the military leadership properly engaged given the Afghanistan decision process much less the issues of Gitmo and Iraq.
While I think these issues need to be handled, the President only has so much prestige and the blue dogs only have so much guts that can be brought to bear at one time.
I can't believe this is an important issue. He's doing everything he can yet, you want him to focus on gay rights instead of health care, our economy, and two wars. So if he took time to focus on gay rights, Americans would be angry at him changing his focus, then get angry at gay right activists for having him focus on gay rights. Health is more important than marriage, especially when its gay marriage. For gay people, what would you rather have; a marriage with your spouse or a healthy relationship.
Funny, the people that urge patience are always those with nothing at stake.
If it's to be done irrevocably, now is not the time. It is better to wait and do it right than to rush and cause more confusion and hurt.
It takes Congress to get it done right, and they seem to be busy now bashing too many other things. We certainly don't want them to earn their pay, do we?
I think this country is going to hell in a hand basket, This country voted in a republican for 8 years and none of these issues were addressed. It is dropped in President Obamas lap and all of a sudden it's President Obama fault. With the economy in the tank, Affganistan war, health care reform and God knows what else is on his agenda to fix, he has to deal people who can't figure out what sex they should be with. If I was president Obama, i would let each state deal with them and leave them alone.
Chase A October 13th, 2009 4:13 pm ET
Is it time yet?! It’s past time! The lives LGBT individuals are passing them by and they are unable to take advantage of simple rights that so many Americans take for granted. It’s time for us all to set aside our prejudices and insure happiness for ALL Americans
What rights are you being denied?
Total Equality is long overdue in a country that portrays itself as THE leader for freedom and justice. Is there ever a good reason for not righting such a huge wrong? We are ALL Human Beings and we ALL deserve the same rights.
Better late than never Jack. While it may appear to be an issue that many feel are just a way of distracting people from the other issues he has to deal with, civil rights should always be a top priority.
St. Louis, MO
It is a hypocrisy for President Obama to stand in defense of equal civil rights when he does not support same-sex marriage. It is OK for people of different races born with different colors, through no choice of their own, to marry. Yet, a person who is born anything other than heterosexual, again, through no choice of their own, is denied the same right. It makes absolutely no sense and is a complete smack in the face to all people who must fight for the same rights that heterosexual couples of any race take for granted every day. President Obama, you should be ashamed of yourself. We are all different colors, and it applies to more than the color of your skin, Mr. First Bi-Racial Black/White President. Nobel Peace Prize? For what?
Everybody reaches a point where they're so stretched out that one more inch won't make a difference. Obama reached that point about 3 feet ago. Just add it to the pile of distractions we won't see solutions to.
Any time for this issue is a good time. Nothing ever changed in the deep south until the civil rights act from JFK's adminestration was passed, and the same applies to the equal rights bill. Equal Rights for LGBT will never have the force it needs except under Federal Law. It is not a state's issue, but a fundemental right of all Amercans and its about time gay and lesbians are treated with the respect they deserve.
Yes. It is time that the US progress on this issue instead of *regress or remain *stagnant, as *conservatives would have it.
The US was founded on *idea progressive policies, liberty & justice for all, and therefore should continue on that path. Of course there were bumps in the road as far as race/civil rights were but we're past that now...now it's time to continue progressing as far as full human/civil rights go –*actualized liberty & justice for all.
There will always be the argument that this is "not the right time" for gay rights: "It's too much too soon," "Obama's got too much on his plate right now," "Gay and Lesbians just need to be patient." What you are not asking the people who feel it's not the right time is: when IS the right time for the president to tackle gay rights issues? You'd learn that the reasons people say it's not the right time now will always be around in some form or another. The only right time is now, because inequality is unacceptable...now.
Why is it so hard to imagine a president who can multitask?
As a gay male who served in the military during the Viet Nam era, I applaud President Obama's courage to take on this issue, regardless of how full his plate may be with other genuinely serious and pressing problems. It is only fitting and right that he be the one to end this country's last legalized discrimination, that based solely on sexual orientation.
I suppose those who yell the loudest get heard first.
Some things never change!
From my perspective, as the President of the US, Obama seems to have other issues that are much more important.
What do you mean is it time for Pres. Obama to focus on gay rights? Of course it's time! We have a liberal President along with a liberal Congress. Time is of the essence. We have to have a Hate Crime bill passed by Congress along with of course a repeal on both DOMA and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Finally , we must have a bill ending discrimination on employment for the LGBT community.
It is absolutely the time to wade into the issue. President Obama did not specifically state when and how but did however mention that the time is now. I am sure the issue has been discussed behind the scenes. LGBT leaders might seem impatient because there is nothing to show for it out in the public. With all the support President Obama has received and continues to receive from the LGBT community it is only logical for their uneasiness. Time for equal rights towards all citizens is now and the issue over gay rights must and will be at the forefront.
Aaron S. – Dallas, TX October 13th, 2009 4:18 pm ET
Without a shadow of a doubt. Equality is everyone’s business. Anybody remember when the army didn’t want to give equal protection and rights to African-Americans? Same story, different year. Same hate, same fear. Equal rights didn’t come about in our country because everyone wanted it; they came about because we have a responsibility, both to each other and to ourselves, to prove that the notion that all people were created equal has no “except those guys” clause.
Please stop comparing the gay right struggle to the black struggle. It does not compare!
Hi Jack.When is about Human Rights and equality for everyone the best time is always the present time.As a gay man I just want to see and feel like everybody else in this Country now and I don't want to wait more than I already had.To me this is the right time because I'm the one living as a gay man everyday.If Obama thinks that he can help us then we should let him do it.After all,we talking about our rights not yours.
Why not? I think we have a very intelligent President that is capable of handling numerous tasks at a time. In addition, he has surrounded himself with trusty, well qualified advisors that can provide him with critical information to use in his decision making. We finally have a President that is capable and willing to deal with some of the most problematic issues of our society and has plagued society for sometime. Please lets get out of the way and let him work and solve problems.
Do these people have Bibles–all government and gay people. The Bible is quite clear that you should not live a gay life. Read your Bibles. Follow the Bible and God, and there will not be any questions about telling or not telling.
This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a Bible issue, and whatever you do or not do, that is on your own head. Whether you believe the Bible or not, the fact still remains!
You cannot legislate morality nor make behavior a protected class of citizens. You can change who you have sex with but you cannot change your ethnicity. To legislate based on people’s emotions or mindset at any particular time, is very dangerous. Sexual acts are just that ‘acts’. To give certain people special rights for activities they engage in is not based on equality and makes no common sense. We have already seen aggressive gay rights activist cross the line without punitive damages. It’s time for the president to stay out of the issue. Marriage is and always has been ordained by God between one man and one woman in part to keep society going. You open this door and anything else goes. Sad commentary on the debased morality this country has sunk to.
I totally agree!
It's funny how we look at other countries and think how retarded they are; we make comments like "They don't educate women - backwards people." Or "They don't think there are homosexuals living in their country - how stupid are they?" When are we going to realize that a good portion of the world looks at us and says, " They make gay people lie for the privilege of going to get their legs blown off in defense of a country that doesn't even let gay people make a commitment to the person they love? What a bunch of tea baggers."
Pam holt foley,al. I,"m sorry , but the health reform issue is more important. In some cases , it could be a matter of life or death. The presidents focus should should first be focused on issues that affect our country as a whole, what affects everyone. This should take presedence.....
Jack, it's time for him to mouth some more smooth rhetoric to put off the confrontation. He has time starting in Nov, after all, partisan Health Care is a done deal, the Afghan military issues will be resolved by end of Nov, he really isn't going to DO anything about Iran/North Korea except posture and talk, and he has to live up to the plastic Crackerjack prize they sent him from Nobel. Ramming something else that the majority doesn't support down the throat of the country is what this President is all about.
As Commander in Chief, President Obama continues to fire people that serve with honor and distinction in the military simply because they are gay or lesbian. The President supports denying equal marriage based on intolerant religious arguments. The Obama administration continues to deny over 1000 federal rights to hundreds of thousands of committed and loving Gay and Lesbian families in America. The time is now, Americans that believe in equal civil rights will wait no longer.
San Francisco, CA.
The only things Obama has waded into are the scripts on his teleprompter. Pretty words don't mean results. If Obama was serious about ending DADT, he would issue an executive order stopping further discharges until the matter can be examined by Congress. Instead, his justice department crafts a glowing support of the policy.
Gays have a right to be impatient that a president that says he supports them is acting so slowly in repealing a homophobic policy that most other major nations have long since ended. Unfortunately, there will be many, many more discharges of valuable service men and women before this issue goes anywhere.
Yes Jack, and it shouldn't take too much time as it is a question of 'rights' !! The FOX/ far right wing nuts can attempt their asinine assertions that it follows that pedophilia will be next but their idiocy only enforces the need for recognition of the rights of ALL adults!!!
Jack I do think it is time for the issues for gays in the military to be deal with, however the economy and the health care should take priority. Let deal with this the first of next year, because it going to be another big fight up on the hill.
Our President have allot on his plate, but I am sure he can work on this issue with the military and Congress, it is not so simple as we all think. But if any one can do it is President Obama can, I have lots of confidence that he will, P.S again we are one of the Country's that lag behind the Europeans on don’t ask, don’t tell”
Obama is setting new standards of getting things done and there is lots to be done so aren't we lucky to have him. President Obama should determine what he can gets done not some comments from people that have no idea about how much can be handled by his administration. Some of the things he is working on should have happened years ago seems almost criminal that they haven't happened before now.
Hey I'm all for equality, but I wish these activists would stop whining, atleast for right now. I don't mean to belittle gay rights... but, with 2 wars, and the healthcare debate... you got people's lives at stake; And they are fretting about "don't ask, don't tell"?! Boo hoo. People's lives are more important than hurt feelings. Adding it to obama's plate at this point will only further slow reform... which if you hadn't noticed, is moving at a snails pace.
Way past time. The fact that some of our citizens aren't allowed the basic civil rights based on prejudice should make us all wonder: who's next?
Why is it all about........"THEM"...........no matter what issue President Obama is facing, "THEY" feel THEIR's takes utmost priority...illegals, etc., and I am simply disgusted by the whole damn mess.
Why in this supposedly "rich" country do we have children....and adults going hungry....living in shelters, cars, or on the streets....
We are soooo divided on so many issues that I doubt if we will ever
be the UNITED States of America that existed not too long ago.
Heaven help us........
Sure, why not? The majority of Americans voted with "hope" that this one central power, aka the Obama Administration and everyone on their "side", would bring every "change" each one of us want. Naturally we all want what we want now, not later, so we complain. You'd think people would begin to realize that one central power a thousand miles away can't fix all your problems. Perhaps thats why the founding fathers drafted the Constitution the way they did, leaving civil and economic issues that affect the people most, day to day, up to the states, close to the people. Its just too bad most Americans have become ignorant to the most important document we have and we elect more and more of the same people who maintain keeping control of the peoples lives away from the people. We haven't changed anything. Read and understand our Constitution, please.
We can't afford to be ignorant. The president is doing all that he can. If he could just pass legislation without congress, then there would be no need for congress. People need to stop acting like he can do whatever he wants and just pass laws and make this country do what he wants. It takes time. 9 months in office and now everyone wants their own agenda. I mean i think he should address the issues, but really are there gays that want to serve who aren't serving because of don't ask don't tell? Really??
Absolutely this is the right time. Repeal don't ask don't tell and the marriage protection act while implementing meaningful tort reform in the health bill. That way the lawyers that lose clients from decreased medical lawsuits, can pick up the extra divorces that are sure to follow given the divorce rate in this country. How can we not see the logic in this, everyone wins!!! Sort of.......
when one group of people is treated as lesser just because of the way they were born, it IS an issue that concerns all americans. at least the ones who actually believe in the concept of freedom on which america was founded.
should the civil rights movement in the 60's have waited, while issues "that effected everyone" were dealt with first?
no, these religious fairy tale supremacists who want to tell law abiding americans how to live their lives need to be curtailed and now.
It is always the right time to support equality.
It's a disgrace that our country protects animal rights but not the right of gays who are human beings, what kind of message does that send around the world. It's past time to give all humans equal rights.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is an executive order. All it takes is Obama to write it off. If he is really about change, this is the simplest step he can start with. Plus it will calm down the gay community at least for the time being.
D. Hare, Dover, Fl:
What rights are you being denied?
-let me go adopt a baby as easily as a straight couple.
-let me go see my partner if they are in the hospital since
we can not be considered family members right now.
-let me fight in the military and not have to hide the fact that i'm gay.
shall i continue?
The gays and lesbians are less than 3 percent of the population, we don't need to spend valuable time on this nonsense – they have civil rights – the definition of marriage has been for many hundreds of years as a union between a man and a woman, period. This includes religions. They need to put a word and definition together for their own agenda, which, in my opinion, is just plain wrong and repulsive.
Yes, now is the perfect time amongst other things for him to merit in the affairs of "gay rights".
As long as a segment of our population has their Life, Liberty and and pursuit of Happiness curtailed solely because of their sexual orientation we have failed in the core mission of America.
Jack I think Obama should take gay rights now. They will go serve for our country and they are human just like the rest of us. Their life style may be different but I'm fine with that as long as they don't force it on other people. They will protect your back in war just like straight people will. Go for it. Thanks Roberta , Austin Texas
The truth is Obama is not going to make everyone happy on this one so he is going to defer it. he is just stalling. There will always be big issues to deal with as President, but this is a prickly little issue that is easy to promise on the campaign trail to satisfy a voting segment, who gullibly believes it is somehow different this time, but easily pushed aside after the election. It will take a Civil Rights movement the size of those seen in the 60's to motivate Washington to change anything. Why is it "critical for military leaders to agree on the policy change"? If he is a man of principle, as he held himself out to be during the election", why would it matter what military leaders want? Whose lives are at stake because of it? It's ridiculous and a lame stall tactic. Add the Gay Rights groups to the list of people buying cheap campaign trail lies.
Heck No!! The man has only been in office for 8 months!! Fixing the economy should be the primary objective/goal for right now. If the economy is bad marriage and the benefits thereof really don't matter. Let's address the economy of the country and then the national security of the country. Sex is not at the top of the list of priorities in my mind. One can choose to have sex or not but one cannot choose to be employed or free or not...those things have to be earned and fought for. Let's get our priorities in order!!
Might as well – he's not much use as a war time leader!
Imagine the federal government eagerly accepting your income taxes but not allowing you to serve in the military without hiding your true identity! After the last hate crime incident in Queens, NY, where a Gay man was beaten in a hate crime, President Obama cannot sit by and let Gays be picked off one at a time while not granting them their civil rights. As long as any group of Americans are denied their civil rights, no Americans are really free.
Jack, I am "GAY", and while I don't believe that now is the time for President Obama to wade into the issue of gay rights, due to us needing "HEALTH CARE" in this country, fixing our economy, and getting the unemployment rate to under 5%. I do believe that the one issue that needs to be addressed right now is the STUPID "DON'T ASK DON'T TELL" policy.
In today's world where we are fighting terrorism and providing military aid across this vast world, we need all men and women who meet the requirements and who want to faithfully serve. It seems crazy to me that we have well qualified people anxious to serve (god knows we need them) other countries who do not discriminate (and their armed forces work just fine) and yet we still treat our fellow Americans as second class citizens.
With the latest info coming out about the hazing in the Navy, it's clear that "STRAIGHT" people can't seem to behave and be mature.
Time to beat the enemy and come home once and for all, it's clear that we need every soldier that we can get our hands on.
yes gay rights is important but equal rights is important too and we still don't have that.
Good heavens, I think President has enough on his plate right now, don't you think? He's got three plus good years to get to it, and there are more pressing needs at the moment.
If not now, then when, Jack? Pres. Obama has a lot on his plate but he will always be busy handling multiple problems. The job of the presidency is one of great responsibilities. We cannot separate sexuality (queer or heterosexual) from issues of race and class. They are all connected. Our democracy is based on equality and if queer people cannot marry or join the military then how are we fulfilling these basic tenets. We now consider anti-miscegenation laws to be unconstitutional yet anti-queer/gay marriage laws are not. It's not right and we need to fulfill this nation's promise of equality.
*also "queer" is an acceptable term in reference to LGBT communities/peoples and not considered a pejorative term.*
I think it is time for Obama to stop trying to take away all our rights, such as the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, the right to choose whether or not we want to buy healthcare insurance and if so, how much, the right to earn as much as we can, the right not to be taxed to death, the right for our children to have a decent education in our public schools, the freedom of religion everywhere we are, the freedom from a dictatorship in Washington, the freedom to listen to whoever we want to on the radio, the freedom to use whatever words we want to without being called politically incorrect, etc.
Let me be clear; If he's actually going to follow through and get something done for somebody – anybody – instead of just making speeches about what he says he's going to do – then chalk one up for the GLBT community. Not holding my breath and I suspect they aren't either.
No, the president already has enough on his plate and doesn't need this type of distraction, especially when he vowed to bring this country together rather than tear it apart on an issue like this.
At this point why not? I'll give this guy some credit: He said he was going to do everything he could to tackle the tough issues of our time and he has certainly kept that promise. I think it's great because he is largley moving forward with issues that us young people in this country overwhelmingly see as things that should have been settled long ago like gay marriage.
People always is going to say that "This is not the right time because there are so many things to do first" and they always keep sending us back to the end of the line all the time.This Country always is going to have problems and for the gay community this is the best time.In Fact we've been ready long time ago to get out rights.So this is the right time for us and It should be for all of you too.
I don’t think of it as gay rights, Jack — I think of it as making sure ALL parts of our citizen base have equal rights. Whether that means making federal laws that grant those rights, or pressuring states into doing so, is immaterial.
There will an outcry from the “moral” rightwingers about this topic, but frankly, considering their own “sins” of viciousness, vindictiveness, and vice in their OWN ways, they have no room to talk about morality. And if they truly want smaller government, then they can get the government’s nose out of our bedrooms! I, for one, do not want others making "moral" decisions for me!
And, oh, by the way, I’m NOT gay. I just believe that when our Founding Fathers said “all men are created equal” they meant ALL.
Yes, but after the healthcare bill passes. If he pushes this now, it
will be be used as a bargaining chip in the public option battle.
It will leave both human rights subjects shortchanged and maligned in such a way that what will pass is a watered down version of each. Be patient, in the words of the late E.lynn Harris' book title, "and this too shall pass."
Getting this issue off of his desk will take about 5 seconds - the length of time it will take him to sign his name to an executive order suspending all discharges from the military for DADT until congress acts. Too bad the Commander-in-Chief lacks the courage to do that.
Your bias in how the question was framed is obvious. I suspect that if you were being treated like a second-class citizen who must hide and deny a significant part of your identity for the "privilege" of putting your life on the line for your country in the armed forces, and that this blatant discrimination could be ended with an executive order, you would think "wading into" this to was long overdue. .
I'm sure Obama would have promised to right all the wrongs of one-legged, cross-eyed, albino dwarfs if he could have gotten a room full of them together. Promises are campaign cheap, especially when you live in a land of sugarplum fairies, rainbows and unicorns, but in the real world those are just going to be broken promises. Like, most of everything else he said. Don't be so gullible.
Looks like you got alot of queers watching today Jack.
The fact of the matter is he as president can by executive order end "don't ask don't tell" any time he wants. But that order can be overturned by the next president or by congress setting law, and to make the change last it needs to be done by congress with his approval. By stating he will adress it at this time he puts congress on notice that they need to take this up soon or else after he gets his study and advisory from the military that he has requested he may just do it on his own, and then they will have to follow. This is not a problem in most other countries militaries so why don't we grow up. If he does it by executive order it will be pretty hard for a following president to change after eight years. Mark Republican in PA.
This issue should have been settled a long time ago so he might as well weighed in at this point. If gay people want to get married then let them. As someone who is never going to get married and isn't gay it has no effect on my life. If they want to enter in to this social contract just like straight folks and enjoy the same benefits then let them.
I think people who are against gays in the military think that all gay guys spend their spare time in bath houses or something. If you are uncomfortable in your foxhole because the man next to you is gay then you're the one with the problem-not him. He's the one worried about fighting-you're the one worried about his orientation.